How to Minimize Your Wedding Guest List (and Tell Someone They Didn’t Make It)

The COVID-19 pandemic has temporarily reduced the number of weddings, forcing people to reschedule or postpone their big day, but now weddings are back in full swing. According to The Knot, 27% of last year’s weddings have been rescheduled and the number of guests on the lists has approached the pre-pandemic average. With over 2 million weddings expected this year – we’re in the middle of a wedding boom and potential guests are looking forward to invitations so they can catch up on the DJs and open bars they missed out on in 2020.

But you can’t invite everyone to your wedding, no matter how much they want to come. Here’s how to decide who came and who didn’t, and then tell those who aren’t invited that they won’t come.

Understand what your wedding is about

There are a lot of things to think about when you start the wedding planning process. Ground yourself by thinking about what your wedding is really about. This will help you make a decision.

Elisabeth Priya Kumar, CEO and founder of luxury event planning company Premini Events , said “about 150%” of her clients have issues with their guest lists. She tells them bluntly, “Once you accept that this wedding is not about you, everything will be very easy.”

Perhaps you tend to insist, “This is about me; it’s my big day!” In a way, of course, yes, but, as Kumar explained, “it needed a village to get you here.” This day is not only a celebration of your love, but also a story about how it came about, in which a variety of characters participate.

“As much as you would like to say that this is a moment to honor your love – and while I believe in it – this is a moment to honor your village,” she said, adding that friends, family members, colleagues, classmates and a number of people have played a part in preparing you for your big day and the rest of your life.

Consider your parents too, especially if they are paying part or all of the bill, which Kumar says is common. She said there might be a “pay to play” element at work, and your parents might feel that if they write a check, they can pick some guests. Is it worth arguing about whether your father wants to invite his college roommate, or should you choose your battles? It’s up to you, but take some time to look at the event holistically and think about what it’s all about besides celebrating just you.

However, even when the parent pays, these things get expensive. You still need to decide who is worth the money. According to The Knot, the average cost per guest in 2021 was $266.

Make multiple guest lists

Kumar said she advises clients to create a three-tier guest list so that “when the first tier guests start saying no, we move on to the second tier list, and when the second tier guests say no, we move on to the second tier list. three-level.

The first level should be the people who are important in your life right now, such as your cousins, aunts and uncles, closest friends and work colleagues. Extended friends, family, and former colleagues are on the second level, and everyone else is on the third.

Give yourself enough time for this as well so that you still have wiggle room to send out tier 3 invites if too many tier 1 and tier 2 invitees reject the invite. Kumar suggested sending the RSVP feature to your top level invitees along with your Save the Date cards. Ideally, you should schedule it so that even if you end up inviting lower-level people, you do it enough time before the wedding that they don’t realize they weren’t a priority.

Be kind if you can’t invite someone

Even with a new take on wedding features and a tiered guest list system, some people just aren’t going to get involved. Kumar said that you can and should be kind to these people.

“I deeply believe that honesty is the best policy,” she said, noting that, in her opinion, one should not ignore the issue and pray that uninvited people do not bring it up. She pointed to people she knew who had come up with creative solutions, such as offering to invite uninvited people to dinner in the future, or even sending a small gift. One of her clients sent a box of spices to people who didn’t make it to their list of 100 guests, adding a note that said, “Please invite us to dinner as Mr. and Mrs. to celebrate in private with you.” ”

“They made this person feel really special,” she said, “and they did it ahead of time, so in that case it was a situation where no one felt bad and there was no bullshit talk at all.”

You can also blame COVID restrictions, interest in a small gathering, or the logistics of your wedding. There are plenty of reasons these days for an event to be cut short, and if you’re not avoiding the topic, you can just explain them and move on with as little drama as possible.

Don’t Let Guest List Chaos Ruin Your Day

Your wedding is a big deal. You are about to spend a huge amount of money on a giant party to celebrate your love and the people who made it possible. You don’t need that kind of stress hanging over your head when there are so many other stressors to waste your time on.

Of course, this does not mean that you will not be concerned about it. All over the world this is a problem for everyone. New data from Hitched.co.uk shows that 71% of UK wedding planning couples feel compelled to invite people they don’t want, and 92% said the pressure comes from close friends and family members. What’s more, 95% would like to have a quick way to tell people they’re not invited.

In the midst of the pre-wedding panic, it can be tempting to just rudely tell someone no, they can’t come (and Hitched.co.uk even did a cancellation of invitations for that purpose – which are sold out and now available for digital download), but you obviously have to fight this impulse, unless someone is too pushy.

In a press release announcing the results of the site’s survey, Hitched.co.uk editor Zoe Burke said: “Our national wedding survey showed that last year the average number of guests at weddings in the UK was just 72. to invite to your big day and who to take off the guest list is a stressful task, and sometimes being subtle just doesn’t work.”

Kumar argued that you should always “lead with love” and try not to hurt anyone’s feelings, which is important advice. However, don’t lose sight of the fact that you have a lot of work to do and you don’t have much time to get ripped off by a potential wedding planner. Your feelings matter too, but you can spare everyone the heartache and drama by being strategic and taking care of it early on.

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