Wedding Planning: How to Cut Back a Wedding Guest List

Trimming the guest list is possibly one of the most stressful parts of planning a wedding. While it would be ideal to invite all your friends and family, budget constrains often can make that impossible to achieve. Indeed, many factors should be considered when creating the wedding guest list. As you decide who should be invited to the wedding, follow these simple steps:

First of all, deciding who won't be on the guest list

Once you combine your guest list with those of your fiancé, parents, and future in-laws, be prepared to grab your marker and make edits. These steps can help you narrow down your list in the best way possible:

  1. Take note of unfamiliar names on the list
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    If you come across names you don’t recognize, check in with your parents or future in-laws, and kindly ask if the person can be removed.
  2. Look at your colleagues and bosses on the list
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    If you need to make cuts to the guest list, your business colleagues will certainly understand the need to keep your wedding small and intimate with only family and close friends.
  3. Look at your friends and your fiancé’s friends on the list.
    Do you see the person regularly or talk to the person often? If you hesitate with your response, it’s safe to remove the person from the list. Just because you were invited to your friend’s wedding years ago, you are not obligated to extend an invitation in exchange. If anything, your married friends will totally understand better than anyone the tough decisions you’re facing.
  4. Look at distant relatives whom you haven’t spoken with in years.

    Check with your parents first, and then remove them from the list. Don’t feel bad if you have to make cuts–they may appreciate not having to travel or spend extra money on a gift.
  5. Consider changing your wedding plans and cutting the list altogether.
    If the process of elimination becomes too difficult, decide if you and your fiancé would be happier eloping or having an intimate destination wedding. With these options, you can bring along only your close family members and friends while skipping the tough guest list choices completely.

Anyone you invite to the ceremony must be invited to the reception, so don’t try to cut costs by cutting people from the reception guest list.

Expert Advice

  1. If you are having trouble trimming down your guest list, consider who is paying for the wedding. Since the parents of the bride traditionally cover wedding costs, they usually have more control over the guest list. The same holds true if the groom’s parents are footing the bill. On the other hand, if you and the groom are paying for your own wedding, just allocate a specific number of guests to each side of the family.
  2. Dealing with parents and their guest list wishes will be so much easier when you and your fiancé are already on the same page about your expectations. So make sure you two are in agreement before involving the family.

Featured Cover Image: Brumley & Wells

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