I have to be honest, preparing a wedding guest list is definitely a confidence boost. Going through middle school, high school, and even college, who doesn’t have those moments when they feel like they don’t have any friends around them. I don’t care if you aren’t engaged, next time you feel that way – make a mock wedding guest list. Troll through your facebook friends, church rosters, and family newsletter mailing list. Before long, you’ll be feeling like the most popular person in the entire world. (Imagine how crazy it would be if you actually WERE popular and going through all of those things. I mean someone with 5000 facebook friends must have a really hard time making a guest list!)
If you have ever tried to create a wedding guest list like this, and unless you have enough money to invite everybody and their mother AND the kitchen sink, you probably know that going through your lists and inviting everyone you would like to invite is pretty much out of the question. So how do you cut people without feeling like a jerk?
(I created a printable to help you go through this process. Click here to learn more.)
1) Step away from the lists!
Lists are great for making sure you don’t forget anyone, but never start with a list when you are trying to determine your guest list. Start with a blank Excel document or notebook and list people important to you. Start with one area of your life and when you have exhausted the names you can think of in that area, move to the next. My categories were: Mom’s family, Dad’s family, work, school, church, and other. Because these were the first people that came to my mind, I knew that they were the most important. The people on this list were the DEFINITELY’s.
2) Seriously consider ONLINE invitations or announcements.
I know; just the thought of this is making you hyperventilate as you think about your Great Aunt Gertrude who has never seen a computer and as you remember all of those etiquette rules you’ve had pounded into your head from the moment you were first engaged. But just because you can’t do an all-out virtual invitation doesn’t mean that you can’t cut costs by doing something partial. We are going to send an online invitation/engagement announcement to our younger, tech-savvy, non-etiquette-attached, friends who live far enough away that they probably won’t be able to come anyway. They are people we want to include, but it just seems counter-intuitive to send a paper invitation to someone who probably doesn’t care all that much about a paper invitation. And if you’re still concerned, you could always say that if they want a paper one, they can email you and ask for one. In my opinion, it’s a win win win. You spend less on invitations so more people can be included AND you waste less paper products. The trees will thank you. 🙂
3) Categorize as you build.
I am so glad that I intuitively did this when I did start going through my lists (church roster and facebook friends, oh my!). I had three categories as I went: DEFINITELY, PROBABLY, and POSSIBLY. Now that I’m finished with my half of the list, there are very few people who made it from the POSSIBLY category to the actual guest list, but writing their names down made me feel better. The sad truth is that a Broke Bride doesn’t have enough money to invite everyone that she would love to. Looking at your Definitely’s and Probably’s and finding that you have a few more there than you can accommodate is difficult. If you don’t have categories in the beginning, you’ll just end up having to do it manually later – and trust me, it will hurt a lot more when you see that you have twice as many guests as you can accommodate and then you have to go through your Definitely’s and Probably’s to pick out the Maybe’s.
Now that you’ve got the tools, it’s time to prepare your half of the wedding guest list. Don’t worry – you’ll figure it out! Remember, the two most important people are you and your fiancee – and you are definitely both invited.
What tricks have you used to narrow down your guest list? Comment below. And don’t forget to check out my new printable to help you plan your guest list.
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