One of the most difficult and daunting tasks of planning a wedding is creating the guest list. How do you decide who to invite and who to leave off the list without stepping on any toes? Below you will find step by step instructions on how to complete this overwhelming task.
1. Determine the Ideal Number Of Guests - First and foremost you need to determine how many guests you wish to invite. Are you planning on having a small intimate wedding of 50, or are you going all out and inviting your 300 closest friends? Also, keep in mind that on average about 20% of those you invite will not attend, slightly more if the majority are from out of town.
2. Split Up The Guest List - Once you have decided on this magic number, I recommend you split the guest list between you and your fiance (who should be responsible for 50%) and each of your parents (who should each be responsible for 25%). For example, if you decide on 100 guests, you and your fiance would choose 50 guests and each of your parents would choose 25 guests. I've learned that this helps prevent any arguments/issues regarding the number of people your family chooses to invite, and helps you better manage the guest list.
3. Brainstorm Your Part Of The Guest List - While you and your fiance are together responsible for half of the guest list, I recommend you create separate lists of EVERYBODY you would like to attend you wedding and then combine them. Yes, this is going to be a long list, but is a great way to ensure nobody is forgotten.
4. Create an "A", "B" and "C" List - Now that you have created a list that most likely exceeding the number of allotted guests, start grouping people into 3 categories. First create a "A" list of people who will definitely be invited. This is typically immediate family and close friends. Next create a "B" list. This list will include all the people you would like to attend your wedding, and typically includes friends and co-workers. Finally, create a "C" list. This the group you don't necessarily want to invite but feel like you should. It often includes distant relatives, co-workers, and those your worried about inviting.
From this list, you now know who to invite! Your "A" list will definitely be invited, and you can keep adding people from your "B" list and then "C" list until your guest count is complete.
5. Account For Plus One - While many people think it is a requirement to extend a plus one to all of their single friends and family, that is not necessarily the case. A plus one is only needed for those in a serious relationship of at least one year, or who are living together. Do your research ahead of time so you know this information!
Also, when sending out invitations, be sure to write everybody's name who is invited on the invitation. On the RSVP card, instead of leaving a space for your guest to write his/her name (and whoever he/she wishes to invite), have a calligrapher write each guests name on the card. This will help eliminate the ambiguous plus one, and the uninvited guests.
6. Get Organized - Once your guest list is complete, I strongly recommend you create a spreadsheet with everyone's name. This is a list you will use A LOT; think save the dates, invitations, place cards, seating charts, etc. It will also make tracking who is attended much easier!