One of the most exciting but stressful steps in your wedding planning journey is compiling the guest list… Who should you invite?
Initially this question sparks so much excitement. You start to think about the people in your life who you’d love to witness the celebration of your union. However, in practice, the politics involved in deciding who does and doesn’t make the cut can leave you bogged down with feelings of stress, obligation and even guilt.
Today I’m sharing a few tips to hopefully help you navigate tricky social expectations without sacrificing your own preferences.
Own Your Priorities
One of the most common sources of stress for brides-to-be is trying to please everybody. Depending on how involved your family and friends are in the planning of your wedding, there can be countless intersecting, contradictory preferences, and expectations about how things should be arranged. The same applies to your guest list. Many brides get so caught up in rules about the guest list that they end up leaving out close friends in favour of people they might have minimal connection with.
So many people could have their own opinions about who you should invite and in what order of priority. There is a chance you will end up compromising a little here and and a little there to arrive at the best possible list. However it’s important to start with a sense of your ideal group of guests, so you don’t sacrifice your ideals to keep others happy.
Who Could You Not Get Married Without?
This key question should be the starting point for your guest list. Who are the people in your life who you would change the date or wedding venue to accommodate? Depending on the friends and family networks each partner has, this list could be as low as two or as high as fifty.
Who Do You Really Want to Invite?
This is an obvious, but often forgotten, category of wedding guest. These are the people you would invite to your wedding because you want them around; not because you feel obliged to include them. These may be friends that you are currently close with, grandparents you get on well with, or cousins that are also in the friend category. These are the family members and friends who you want to share your special day with, but wouldn’t postpone the date if they were unable to make it. Some people might even use this as an opportunity to connect with friends or family members they may have lost touch with, as it can be a great way to reconnect family. If you’re considering finding and reaching out to important people in your lives that you may have lost touch with but would value having them at your big day, you can trace people in the UK using Bond Rees.
There should be a wedding fairy who lets you spend as much money on your wedding as you need to so every person you want to invite can come. Unfortunately, every wedding must have a budget. The ‘budget depending’ guests are the people you’re really fond of (or have a family connection to) but aren’t especially close with. Distant relatives you don’t know very well, school friends you haven’t seen since graduation, or work colleagues often fall into this camp. Generally these are people who would be delighted to receive an invitation but wouldn’t be offended if you didn’t invite them. Unfortunately, this is the category that can become contentious; your family or friends may have their own ideas about who should be included. Remember, hear people out, but ultimately, stand your ground.
When it comes to making a guest list, the key thing to remember is that your wedding is your day. While everyone is trying to help, what matters most is that your wedding suits the two of you as a couple.
*This is a collaborative post. As ever, all opinions are my own.