The Dreaded Guest List

Here we go...that dreaded word..."guest list." You most likely cringed just thinking about reading today's post, and you are not alone. Hands down, this was the most stressful part of planning my wedding and is generally
the main cause of stress for my brides!'
If you have already done some research on venues and what the cost is going to be per person, then I am sure you are stressing right about now. And if you have not, I would HIGHLY recommend doing some research in your area so you know exactly what it is going to cost! And believe it or not, just 10 guests can be a difference of a couple of thousands of dollars! YES, you read it right...a couple thousand dollars! So every guest counts toward that overall budget and every guest you eliminate allows you to spend somewhere else OR save altogether!

Let's do some quick math so you know where I am coming from:

$50 x 100 guests = $5,000 x 8% tax = $5,400 x 20% service charge = $6,480
$50 x 110 guests = $5,500 x 8% tax = $5,940 x 20% service charge = $7,128
$50 x 125 guests = $6,250 x 8% tax = $6,750 x 20% service charge = $8,100
$50 x 150 guests = $7,500 x 8% tax = $8,100 x 20% service charge = $9,720

As you can see, just 15 to 20 guests makes a HUGE difference in price! And if the cost per person is more, then the difference will be significantly greater! Now that you understand that each guest will greatly affect your overall cost, here are some tips to eliminating the guests that you may not necessarily need to invite!

1. Has your fiancé ever met this person?

This is one that did come up a lot while planning my own wedding. I am sure you have friends from high school that were your "best" friends and as you went away to college or moved into the "real world," you began to lose touch. Although you used to talk every couple of weeks, it has been a couple of months since you last spoke and really all you exchanged was "How are things?" "Great, and you." If your fiancé has never met this friend of yours, it is generally a good rule of thumb that you do not need to send them an invite.

Of course, there are going to be exceptions to this rule. You live in  California and your friend lives in New York? Clearly this may be an exception to the rule. You live in Newport Beach and your friend lives in Huntington Beach? Clearly, you aren't that close if you and your fiancé have dated for three years and he has never met her!

2. How many kids are we talking about?

Most of the time there will be a discounted price for kids in the range of 2-10. if they are going to be eating a kid's meal. And generally, children up to 2 or 3 years of age are going to be free. That is, if they will not be needing a kid's meal. While these prices are usually significantly discounted, it all adds up!
$25 x 10 kids = $250...which is the same as 5 adult meals!

So at this point, you need to take a look at how many kids you currently have listed, and weigh your options on whether or not you would prefer to replace them with "old" friends or just save a couple hundred dollars

As a rule of thumb, I would either invite no kids, all kids, just family kids, or just the ring bearer and flower girl. While you can pick and choose which kids you want there, that is where people tend to try and start
drama...which we don't want!
And if kids aren't invited altogether, I would recommend hiring a babysitter on site or at a designated home nearby. Of course this is not your duty, but is definitely a nice courtesy if it is going to be worth the money!

3. Would they invite you to their wedding?

When thinking about relatives, it sometimes gets tricky because of second cousins and third cousins, etc. So think about this - has anyone been married yet? Did they invite you to their wedding? If not, then this is an easy way to take them off of your list and surely no feelings will be hurt. Did they host a family event and not invite you? If so, then this generally shows that if and when they get married, you will not be on the invite list. Although this can be applied to friends as well, it is typically a rule to use when discussing your extended family.

4. Single or married?

If one of your friends is married, you absolutely need to invite their spouse to the wedding (unless, of course, there are crazy circumstances with which you can determine). If someone is engaged, then I would definitely invite their fiancé. Now, if you have friends who are not in relationships or just started dating, then it is absolutely not necessary to allow them to bring a guest. Think about it - you could be almost doubling your
guest list if you allow everyone to bring a date aka doubling the price of your wedding! And this is not necessary.
How do you tell them that they are not allowed to bring a date? Easy!
Wording on your RSVP catd: "We have reserved ___ seats in your honor."
    - If you have a friend who is engaged, you write  a "2" on that line
    - If no date is allowed, you write a "1" on that line
    - If you aren't inviting the kids then you write  a "2" on that line
    - If you are inviting the three kids then you write a "5" on that line.
Easy peasy!

5. Co-worker or friend?

This is one that will easily cut a significant number of guests down! Yes, you need to separate work from play. While you may be close with some people in the office, if you don't hang out on a usual basis or you wouldn't or haven't been to dinner with this co-worker, then an invite is not needed. All of your co-workers are going to understand that the wedding is for family and closest friends!

6. Have a small intimate wedding for very close family and friends?

This is one way to truly cut your guests list down to almost nothing...well, depending on the size of your family. If you make everyone aware that your wedding is going to be small and intimate, then no one will be upset that they haven't received an invite. Just make sure the wedding is actually going to be "small and intimate" before spreading that word :)


If all else fails, just remember that this is YOUR wedding and you are in charge of your budget If you are willing to go over budget, then invite everyone you know but for most of us, that is not really an option. If a friend or co-worker gets upset with you for not inviting them or not allowing them to bring a date or their children, a simple reminder that you are trying to stay within budget will suffice...and if they are still mad, then oh well. On your big day, that will be the very least of your worries!