Wedding costs add up quickly. There are lots of things couples choose to omit or cut back on to reduce costs but the most sure-fire way to cut costs is to reduce your guest list. Even without needing to save money, a lot of couples struggle with the guest list. This is totally normal. What isn't normal (though it’s always nice) is the ability to afford inviting everyone you know. So, you must cut the list.
I think the core of this answer goes back to the essential question all couples should have in mind when planning a wedding that leads to (hopefully no surprises here) a marriage: “Why?” The answer to this question varies from couple to couple so there is no real right answer here. But your answer may be something like: because it is a celebration of our unique love, or because we want this to be an event that creates a shared experience for both sides of our family, or because we have always dreamed of our ideal wedding and this is how we would like it to be. It may even be a combination of all of these things!
While there is not a specific right answer, there can be a series of wrong ones: because we have to, because we need to show off or because why not. Don't get married for those reasons. Have a backyard BBQ and show off your new grill for those reasons.
Which brings us to some help answering the who to invite to the wedding question. This is a wedding. It is a celebration of the union between two people and should be celebrated with the people that have supported your courtship and will be essential members of your support group from that day forward. Focus on them, what they have done and will do to help your marriage. If you re-frame your focus on these individuals you may come to realize that less is more. With less people, you can provide an enhanced, more unique experience for those who have done the same for you.
THAT ALL SOUNDS WELL AND GOOD BUT HOW DO YOU IDENTIFY THESE PEOPLE?
In order to be invited your guest must satisfy two of these wedding guest attributes:
- Bride or groom have spoken to them face to face (or on the phone if they are more than 6 hours away) in the past 12 months
- They have been a part of your (bride, groom or both) life for more than 10 years
- They have met both the bride and groom more than once
- They are blood related to the bride or groom
- They shared in another important or series of significant events in your (the bride, groom or both) life
This helps to narrow down those tough call people. Co-workers, fraternity brothers and even some relatives may not make the cut when you try to match them with two items on this list. It's tough to make these calls but remember, this event marks the rest of your lives together. Sometimes you don't need to drag the past into your future, or at least not your wedding venue.
STILL HAVE TOO MANY PEOPLE?
If you're having trouble cutting the list even after applying the five attributes of a wedding guest try cutting plus ones. This may seem harsh at first but it can be done.
BUSTLD PRO TIP: If couples are in a serious relationship, live together, engaged or married, they should always get a plus one. If your guest is not in a serious relationship and knows other people at the wedding, cutting their plus one is a great way to cut down on the guest count.
WHERE DOES THIS LEAVE YOU?
Look! You're left with a list of super close, fun and supportive friends and family who will be elated to celebrate your union!
Still looking for a wedding planner? Let Rowan Lane help you with the guest list and so much more by contacting here!
Photo courtesy of Michelle & Sara Photography