Thursday, September 4, 2008

Wedding Guest Lists - Part 1

Before you can send out wedding invitations or hire a caterer or even choose your wedding location, you need to get a handle on who is going to be invited to your wedding.

Do you have a small wedding in mind for only immediate family and really close friends, or are you thinking of something that includes everyone you've ever met? Seriously, I was invited to a wedding reception for a recently married couple and it seemed as if the entire church congregation - and then some - was there.

Wedding couples often experience frustration when trying to organize the guest list. Just gathering correct and current addresses can be a Herculean task, especially if you are having your parents contributing names to the wedding guest list - and they send new ones every two days or so!

Your best bet is to choose a format or wedding planning software for collecting your wedding guest information. Make sure that everyone - parents included - uses that same format. This will be helpful when sending invitations and printing out the place cards or escort cards for the table seating. Additionally, if you have multiple lists this is a good way to integrate them.

Organize your wedding guest lists by group so you can see how your numbers stack up. Your primary group should be immediate family and closest friends. Once you establish that number you can see how much room you have for other guests. Some of this might depend on your wedding size preference and wedding budget. Then create groups for other guests - extended family, co-workers, school friends and so forth.

Grouping your wedding guest list will help you do two things: keep a perspective on whom to invite, and identify issues you will want to consider. You may want to invite your second cousin's boyfriend. If he is allowed to attend, what is to stop your other second cousins from bringing their significant others when you haven't planned to extend your list so far out?

When compiling your wedding guest list, remember that consistency is gracious. If you define the parameters of your list by group, it will be much easier for you when you are making decisions about whom to invite. \

In other words, if you are having an adults-only wedding reception or limiting the extra guest option for single people, it's much easier to explain that choice than if you decide to invite the kids of certain guests, or let some bring dates but not others.

Next time, we'll talk about guest list do's and don'ts, and how to word those invitations so there is no mistaking your intention as to who is and who isn't invited to your wedding.

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