How to Cut Back a Wedding Guest List

8 of 11 in Series: The Essentials of Planning a Wedding Reception

At some point in your wedding-planning process, you’ll undoubtedly have to cut back your guest list. You can almost count on disagreements, so you and your spouse-to-be should remain respectful and understanding to each other’s feelings about the guest list and making tough decisions regarding who’s invited.

Deciding who won't be on the guest list

Few couples come in under the allotted number they’ve agreed upon for their guest list. After you compile the guest lists from you, your spouse-to-be and your parents, you need to get out a marker and be ready to criss-cross. These steps can help you whittle down your list:

  1. Review the list, and if you don’t recognize a name, check with your parents or future in-laws and politely ask if that person can be removed.

  2. Look at your co-workers, bosses, and business acquaintances.

    If you must make cuts, your colleagues should understand that you want to keep it to just family and close friends.

  3. Look at your friends and your spouse-to-be’s friends.

    Do you see them all regularly or talk to them often? If you hesitate at all, cut them. Just because you attended your friend’s wedding years ago doesn’t automatically qualify them for your list. In fact, anyone who has planned a wedding should understand what it feels like to have to make cuts.

  4. Look at distant relatives whom you haven’t seen or heard from in years.

    After checking with your parents, take them off the list. They might be appreciative that they don’t have to travel or buy a gift.

Anyone you invite to the ceremony must be invited to the reception, so don’t try to cut costs by cutting people from the reception guest list.

Avoiding arguments

If you can master the art of give and take during your wedding planning, you’re off to a good start on your marriage. To avoid or at least minimize arguments, remind yourself to be polite and respectful of yourself and whomever you’re speaking with — raising your voice to make a point doesn’t usually work.

Make sure you’re on the same page about the expectations of the guest list. When the two of you are in agreement, dealing with your parents and their lists will be much easier.

Being gracious to the uninvited

Before you send out invitations, call or visit anyone you think might be hurt about not being invited. It’s not an easy conversation to have with anyone, but it’s better to be honest and address the issue than to not say anything at all. If they’re truly offended, it’s probably best that you didn’t invite them. Don’t be defensive; simply apologize and hope that you’ll remain friends.

If you can’t invite as many close friends as you’d like, consider hosting a barbecue or casual cocktail party when you return from your honeymoon. Include all the friends you couldn’t invite to the wedding, and be sure to mention that you don’t want them to bring gifts.

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The Essentials of Planning a Wedding Reception

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