Gah! The guest list. I just gagged a little thinking of the guest list. Because making a guest list for a wedding is like the equivalent of throwing a party in high school when your parents go out of town; you know you won’t have enough beer for everyone but if you invite Suzy and Sarah, then Tom, Dick and Harry have to come too. And if your uber sensitive bff isn’t allowed to bring her on again off again boyfriend then you know the you-know-what is gunna hit the fan. So what’s a girl to do when all she wants to do is throw a really rad party with all the right people and no hurt feelings? I say it’s your day, do it your way. Isn’t that a fast food chain slogan? Whatever I’m going with it. Oy! I present to you my personal thoughts on how to tackle the tedious task of building your guest list. (And remember you can always opt to completely skip the guest list a la this couple who were married in front of only an officiant and their photog, the fabulous Kate Webber. Seriously clever and incredibly romantic; I’m a fan). Happy Tuesday blogettes!
{Create a Preliminary Draft} Do this first. For example, once that sparkly is put on your finger, pool together the people you want at the wedding along with the people your fiance wants at the wedding. Remember to include family, from both sides, coworkers, neighbors, friends from extra curricular activities and anyone that if you were talking to them about your wedding before or afterwards you would feel shamed that you had not extended an invite to them. Allot each guest a plus one regardless of if they are single or in a serious relationship and even if you or your fiance don’t personally know who the plus one will be. And then add up your numbers. Subtract guests you absolutely know will not come (like Great Aunt Hilda who lives over Ireland) and use your remaining total number for things like guiding your selection process for a venue. An increasing amount of venues require you to meet a minimum or stay under a maximum in order to have your wedding at their facility. A 300 person guest list would have never worked at our venue which had a cap at 90 guests. But we knew we wouldn’t run into this problem ahead of time because we created a preliminary draft of our list. 
{Build Your Team} Yeah yeah, I just referred to your wedding guests as your teammates. But they do sort of serve as your team for the day. So get on your team captain face and make cuts as needed. This alone sounds pretty harsh but unless you have an orchard of plentiful cash tress in your backyard, more guests mean more cash and if those said guests are people you can do without then don’t think twice about not inviting them. One of my brides was torn on the whole guest list thing because her Mom wanted to invite a bunch of her own friends to the wedding which as a result would bring the guest list up; so instead Mom is throwing an engagement party in her daughter’s honour so she can celebrate the milestone with her own friends on a day separate from the wedding. This could very well just be my crazy thinking too, but it seems as if weddings these days are becoming increasingly smaller and more personal; people are cutting out guests who don’t matter and as a result are saving money and stress. Even better, your preliminary guest list draft, which is a rough estimate of guests, will help you create your budget (or your budget will help you create your guest list). Cool.
{When to Make a Cut} Again these thoughts are completely my own and not the professional or only way to do things but here’s what we did when we ran into road blocks; if we were stumped on whether or not to invite someone merely because we were invited to their wedding, then we went ahead and did so. In 99% of these situations their RSVPs were a no but at least we were being courteous by extending the invite to them. If we weren’t sure if someone should be invited because we a) didn’t really ever see them or b) had in recent months/years drifted apart we used the rationale I address above. If we were to run into said person months after the wedding and the topic came up, would we feel remorseful about not inviting them or would we be able to freely reminiscence with them about our day without feeling like total jerks. In most cases we were able to live with and happily move on from our choice to not invite specific guests and as a result cut out a huge chunk out of our guest list.
{The Whole Plus One Issue} Hands down the plus one issue was one of the toughest issues we faced during our wedding planning process. All those plus ones can really throw off your almost finalized guest list and leave you scrambling to find extra room both in your venue’s spatial capacity and your dwindling budget. For example if you have a guest list of 100 people with equal parts parties of two (like married couples) and single guests with a plus one, how can you possibly predict who will actually end up bringing someone and when your venue has a strict maximum capacity how do you make it all work together? In our situation here’s one thing we did with plus ones: I have a very tight knit group of girlfriends who are for the most part all single. I checked with them ahead of time to see if they were all content with the idea of attending our wedding solo with the expectation that they would all be seated together thus creating a fun, enjoyable and comfortable environment (much like how it is when we get together for our annual reunions and dinner dates). I couldn’t have imagined them all sitting at different tables around the room with dates who were unfamiliar with one another and I dreaded running into an issue where some friends brought dates and others didn’t (the whole third and fifth wheel thing is never any fun). I remember how much fun they all had too, goofing off with one another and completely being themselves all evening and for that, I am happy with my decision. While this isn’t the choice everyone would have made, that choice alone took a potential guest chunk down from 25+ to 12 people, a major win for us. A general rule however is that if the guest in question is in a serious relationship, is engaged, married, living with or in a common law relationship, the invitation gets extended to their partner. The partner may decline but it’s considered good etiquette to invite them too
What problems did you or are you running into with creating your guest list?