Here’s a big one! The infamous guest list. Everyone’s favourite and dreaded task, all rolled into one. If you’ve found this part easy then you have no idea how lucky you are. If you’re struggling with the guest list, then grab a cuppa and make yourself comfortable…
The Guest List – A Journey (Part 1)
When Euan & I got engaged, the guest list was the first thing we did. Not only that but we were weirdly excited to write it. Looking back, I actually cannot for the life of me think why. Lol! If I were to guess, I’d say it’s because once the guest list is written it all starts to feel super real/exciting. Anyway, it’s safe to say the excitement dwindled slightly…
The easiest way to explain is I think we got a tad carried away. And I think that’s pretty normal. One of the things I’m most grateful for is deciding to have a longer engagement because these decisions you make in the excitement of being newly engaged are more often the wrong ones to have made. And if you’ve not got huge amounts of time until the wedding you just run with them and regret it later. Luckily for us we had loooaaaads of time (still do!) to make decisions (and more importantly, go back on them).
Anyway, initially we had a guest list approaching 150 people. No, just no. Don’t get me wrong, if that’s the route you want to go down then by all means do it! But it was not what I wanted. To be able to fit 150 people, we would’ve needed a marquee in the field. Which is 1. a huge expense that in our case could be avoided, and 2. I’m just personally not a fan of marquees.
The Guest List – A Journey (Part 2)
The dilemma was the barn vs the marquee. The barn’s capacity is max. 100 people, so that would mean cutting our guest list by 50 people. Or going for the marquee and being able to invite 150 people. But, anyone who has thrown a wedding will know that the likelihood of your entire guest list actually coming to the wedding is pretty small. The stats are roughly 25% of your guest list will not end up there on the day. We ran off the basis that 25 of our 150 people would not end up coming (which is less than 25%) which meant that we’d be hiring a marquee for the sake of 25 people, possibly less… Madness, right?!
(Maths: 150 guests less 25 non-attending leaves 125. Barn capacity = 100. So the difference between barn capacity (100) and people likely to attend (125) is 25 people).
I knew in my heart that I wanted the barn for our wedding reception, and when we worked out the figures I put my foot down. There was no way I was comfortable with hiring a marquee for the sake of a handful of people. So, the guest list culling commenced. And it actually wasn’t as difficult as we thought it would be, especially as a lot of people could be switched to the evening without it being a big deal.
The Guest List – Where are we up to?
We have now managed to get our 150 down to approx. 114 day guests, including babies. We’re predicting that possibly 10 people won’t come, and 4 of those 14 are babies/toddlers – perfect! What it does mean is our evening guest list is slightly bigger, but that’s great!
The downside is that we don’t have room for children (apart from babies and very close friends/bridal party). And we also don’t have room for plus 1s. But to be honest the expectation of being able to bring a plus one these days is pretty non-existent. Everyone understands that weddings are expensive, and couples can’t be expected to provide for someone they don’t know!
The only tricky thing is the line between who counts as a plus one and who counts as being invited in their own right. To combat that, we’re just making it perfectly clear on the invites who is invited and who isn’t!
The Guest List – Top Tips?
- Firstly, it’s important to establish who is paying for the wedding. As the couple, if you are footing the entire bill, then I really don’t think parents should get a say. If one or other of your parents are paying for the wedding then it’s only fair that said parents should get at least small say. If you’re paying for most of the wedding, but parents are contributing it’s important to establish from the get-go what their contribution entails. It’s not an easy topic to approach, and I’ll talk more about this another time.
- Don’t be afraid to say no. As you’ve probably discovered by now, my favourite saying is ‘it’s your wedding’. If you don’t have room for plus ones, or you don’t know them well enough, just.say.no. Likewise if you’d rather not have children, just.say.no. There is – of course – a way of saying these things, and always be flexible for certain circumstances. But in all truth on your wedding day you should be surrounded only by people who you genuinely want there.
- Don’t be put off by the thought of a guest list cull – it’s actually quite refreshing! If your venue has max numbers that are smaller than your ideal guest list, don’t write it off straight away. Sometimes having to cut your guest list is actually a blessing in disguise.
So that’s the guest list! I hope you’re enjoying these blog posts, please do leave feedback if you’d like to! And you can also sign up to my mailing list where I’ll send you a cheeky little email when there’s a new blog post. Sign up here.