How to Craft Your Guest List Without Guilt

 

No wedding decision causes more
headaches than the dreaded guest list.

 
 Matt Haas Photography

Matt Haas Photography

Determining who among your family members and friends will be present on your big day can feel like wading into a relationship minefield. Leaving One person out can be just as nerve-wracking as inviting another purely out of obligation. Whether your wedding is an intimate affair of 30 or a blowout with hundreds in attendance, these tips will help you navigate the murky-and often guilt-ridden-waters of guest-list planning.

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Deciding which family members and friends to include on your big day is one of the hardest parts of putting together your guest list-especially if you or your partner come from a big brood.

Sort through all of those relationships by creating a double-columned list. On the left, Column. A should include the family members and friends with whom you are closest. Place more distant relatives, acquaintances, and work associates on the right in Column B. As your dual lists comes to fruition, the size of your ideal wedding will come into focus.

If everyone from your future mother-in-law to your third cousin twice removed ends up in Column A, it's time to look at some big venues. If Column B is longer than Column A, you might feel more comfortable with an intimate affair.

 Kelly Brito

Kelly Brito

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Using your Column. A list as a foundation, consider the size and budget of your wedding. Is a 300-person wedding feasible with your budget? Does your 50-person list include everyone who is important to you? If your list doesn't match the expectations you had for your big day, it may be time to make some cuts-or additions.

 Aurelia D'Amore Photography

Aurelia D'Amore Photography

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The dreaded obligation invite can make for a slippery slope-weigh your options carefully. As you put together your guest list, take a hard look at who you are truly obligated to invite-and who might not expect an invitation in the first place.

A now-distant friend whose wedding you attended years ago or a co-worker you occasionally eat lunch with can be crossed off the list-but your parents' closest friends might not be so easy to eliminate. Still, remember that you possess the final veto power. An honest discussion with family members and friends before the save-the-dates go out is the smartest way to manage expectations and keep everyone on the same page.

 Aurelia D'Amore Photography

Aurelia D'Amore Photography

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One of the easiest ways to free up space on your guest list is to request that children stay home. Though your friends and family should understand and respect your vision-especially if you make it clearby addressing invites to “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” rather than “the Smith Family”-you may receive pushback. Our favorite solution: Maintain the adults-only policy, but arrange a group babysitter for those who must travel with their little ones for your big day.

 Aurelia D'Amore Photography

Aurelia D'Amore Photography

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In an ideal world, everyone on your guest list would have a plus-one. But when weighing whether to leave space for your work wife's latest beau or your second cousin's third husband, it may make sense to limit who has plus-one privileges.

A hard and fast rule: Consider how many people a single guest might already know at your wedding. If your group of college friends are all attending, limiting their plus-ones will be less of an issue since they'll all be together. But if your partner's childhood best friend won't know any of your other guests, it's good form to extend a plus-one.

 Aurelia D'Amore Photography

Aurelia D'Amore Photography

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People you've grown distant with or have strained relationships with can often crop up when you're planning a wedding. Keep in mind that your big day is not the time to mend rocky relationships-and there's no rule that says you must invite relatives you don't get along with or a friend with whom you've had a falling out. Remember: This day is about celebrating your relationship with your partner-not anybody else.

 Aurelia D'Amore Photography

Aurelia D'Amore Photography


words:

PHOEBE NEUMAN

images

AURELIA D'AMORE PHOTOGRAPHY
KELLY BRITO
MATT HAAS PHOTOGRAPHY