Hurray, he put a ring on it; let the joyful celebrations, and cake tastings begin! It’s important to enjoy every moment of this special time- but unfortunately, it isn’t all fun. When planning a wedding, one of the most common causes of stress and frustration is the guest list! This can be a touchy dilemma, and there aren’t always easy answers, but we want to help you to the best of our ability. After years in the wedding industry, we’ve made some observations on how to keep your wedding guest list small. Keep in mind that you will never be able to please everyone –but you most certainly can respect everyone!
First, give it some time! This is probably the most important tip we can give you on how to keep your wedding guest list small. Like we mentioned in this post, sometimes the best move you can make is to take a step back and do nothing. Emotions run high, and it’s easy to be impulsive when newly engaged. Especially in this digital age when news is shared in real-time, the congratulations seem to flood in, and every old friendship is briefly rekindled. Let the dust settle, evaluate your priorities and budget. What do you really want out of your wedding? (More about that here)
Second, have a long conversation with your families about your wedding priorities, who they would like to include on the guest list, and who is paying for what? Financial etiquette is vital, but we won’t delve into it here- we must refer you to the timeless Emily Post for everything you need to know on this topic; however, we must brush on the this point. Respect and honor for your family, aka, your own roots, is incredibly important to the health of your marriage. Even if your parents aren’t paying, they still likely had a huge hand in shaping who you are, and deserve to be honored (see more about honoring your family throughout your wedding).
Next, understand WHY the guest should be present. Understanding WHY you, your fiancé, or your parents want to share this day with someone is half the battle. For instance, if it is a matter of nostalgia, ask yourself if they are still an important part of your life, or do they just “like” your activities on social media? If the relationship has been dormant for a year or two, perhaps you need to evaluate why you want them present on this important day. Or maybe a family member insists upon including someone whom neither of you knows; see if you can find a satisfactory compromise such as including the desired guests at post-wedding function.
Happy Ever Afterparty
Finally, we love the idea of larger celebrations after the wedding- now known. Many couples are opting for smaller weddings with more “pampering” of the special guests involved, yet still including their larger circles by gathering after settling into marriage.
We know there are difficult decisions, and potentially uncomfortable conversations ahead, but we hope you’ve enjoyed our ideas on how to keep your wedding guest list small.