Okay, so we’ve talked about where to get started, deciding on if you’re going to skip town, and when to get married. So the next logical step would be to find a venue right? Wrong! First we are going to need to discuss two things – guest list and budget. Probably the two things that can cause the most tension between families in the planning process. One battle at a time – today is guest list with a little bit of how the guest list can effect the budget. First, set some ground rules. Here are some rules you need to make:
What is the time cut off of the last time you spoke the person that you’ll still invite them? (ie: if you have not spoke to them in a year, you won’t invite them)
Will you allow the plus-ones?
How much input will the parents have? This will vary if they are paying for the bill.
Are you going to allow kids at your wedding? What is the age cut-off?
After setting the ground rules, you’ll then need to determine how many people you want and start making three lists. The first list is the people that you cannot get married without them there, or the “I need them there” list. The second list will be “I would like to have them there.” This list is where you have aunts and uncles, cousins, and high school friends that you still talk to. Then there is the “If we have room” list. This would be the people that you might have not talked to in awhile or your parent’s friends that you know. These lists will help you prioritize your guest list so if you have to make the hard call you know where to start looking.
Don’t fall into the trap of inviting everyone. Unless you have an unlimited budget, I would stay strict to your original guest list. Before adding that third cousin twice removed to the guest list think about the actual cost of that one person. Below, is the average cost of one person, with only getting the bare minimum number of items:
One person = $25-$55 depending on the catering menu
Rentals: $5- one dinner plate, napkin, fork, butter knife, water glass, and chair (not Chiavari add another $2.50).
Catering: $20-50 a plate- this can sky rocket depending on the menu & if you include booze
If you reduce your guest list by 8 people (one full table) = $242–$512
Per person cost of $25-55 X 8 people= 200-440
Table and linen: $22
Centerpiece: $20-50 (higher for bigger flower arraignments)
The larger your guest list the larger the venue you’ll need, more invitations to send, larger tent you’ll need to rent for outdoor weddings, and a larger dance floor you’ll need to rent. Your guest list does have a rippling effect on many different areas, so choose wisely. With that, if someone is on the border line and might cause future issues by not inviting them, then error on the inclusive side.
So I’m weeks away from sending out my official invites. I’ve always said I don’t want children at our wedding. I’m one week away from going to the printer and I pull the “Adult Only Celebration” from my invite because I’m ALREADY starting to get backlash from it. I have though stuck my foot down about certain people (that don’t meet our ground rules) and which didn’t make our parents thrilled but at least we got our way a little. You win some and you lose some and that’s just the way it’s going to be. It’s more important to get along then to always have your way (something to remember when making any of these big wedding decisions.