Before putting pen to paper, sit down with your groom and discuss wedding day wishes. Do you want a small, intimate affair or a grand soirée? Where do you want to tie the knot? How much money do you want to spend on catering? Once you have answers to the above questions, make four lists (from A to D):
List A: Immediate family, grandparents and close friends. These are your definites.
List B: People you see on a regular basis.
List C: Co-workers and acquaintances.
List D: People you don’t see often and people from groups like book club or your running group.
The next step in making the perfect guest list is to share your list with your parents and future in-laws. Unless you are hosting a family-only event, it’s a good idea to save room for people your parents want to invite.
Note the number of people associated with each name. (For example, Aunt Molly and Uncle Joe have three children. Inviting Aunt Molly and Uncle Joe equates to five guests). Married, engaged and living-together couples warrant a plus one. Discuss with your mate whether your budget allows for plus ones for single people on your list.
What about kiddos, you ask? Unless you’re having a kid-free wedding, you should invite children of guests by listing “and family” on the invite. If you want an adult-only festivity, include the parents’ names only.
Now it’s time to tally guests on your lists from A to D. (Don’t forget your parents’ lists.) Once you hit your guest limit, make a note. This is where things can get a little difficult. No doubt you will need to leave a few people behind due to budget constraints; but keep in mind that not everyone you invite will be able to attend.
If you send your wedding invites eight weeks before your wedding ceremony, you can invite replacements for guests who can’t attend. (Guests need not know they are on a backup list as long as they receive an invitation at least six weeks before the celebration.)
The important thing to remember is that this is your wedding – not a reunion. Invite people who are most important to you now – and don’t feel bad about having to leave out your grade school bestie if you haven’t spoken with her in a while.