Nobody wants to leave anyone out of their wedding, but before you set about preparing your 1,000-strong guest list, ask yourself this: could there be anything worse than having a room full of strangers staring disinterestedly into their Champagne glasses as you and your husband enjoy your first waltz together?
All experts agree, when it comes to weddings, you need to be selective, even harsh. If you’re on any kind of tighter budget, then things need to be trimmed even further.
Wedding planner Emily Bedard offers the following advice on who should make your final guest list.
1. Divide evenly. Compose the guest list by allotting one third to the bride’s parents, one third to the groom’s parents, and one third to the bride and groom (or another division as you see fit).
2. Cut coworkers. This is a tough one but is very necessary if you are trying to cut the list. The only exceptions may be coworkers who are also very close friends.
3. Don’t return the favour. Cut any guests who are on your list simply because they invited you to their wedding. You need to remember everyone’s circumstances are different, you can’t assume the same criteria.
4. Switch places. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and imagine – would you be hurt if they didn’t invite you to their wedding? Anyone for whom the answer is no gets cut from the list.
5. Trim out-of-touch friends. If it takes a week or more research to find their contact information, consider cutting them. Also, if you haven’t been in touch with them for over a year or more then you should consider trimming them from the guest list.
6. Make it adults only. While not for everyone, an adults-only event is a quick and clear way to cut down on numbers. The cut-off age is up to you – most couples choose 16 or 18 years old.
On the touchy issue of family members, etiquette expert Ceri Marsh offers this: “You may not be close [to certain family members] now, but think about how you’ll feel five years from now. Invite them all.”
And whatever you do, while your nous with phone calls or text messaging may border on legendary, weddings are still some time away from shifting from the time-honoured snail-mail invite. So keep it in the envelope please!