Compiling the guest list for your wedding can be dangerous territory as well as the make or break of friendships and family ties, especially if you are on a tight budget. Deciding who will be invited to join you on your big day can be very stressful if you have to be careful about numbers and can also bring to the surface family politics or feuds. It may cause a lot of sleepless nights, especially if you want all your loved ones and friends to be there. Nevertheless, deciding on the general size of your wedding is one of the first things you need to do to be able to start planning your big day.
Smaller, Intimate Weddings
In the case that you know before the proposal that your wedding budget is not likely to cover a large number of guests, you would do well to be discreet about announcing your engagement to all and sundry as you may find a lot of disgruntled friends and family when they discover there is no room for them at your wedding reception! Likewise, when telling people that you have just got engaged, stipulate from the start that it is likely to be a very intimate wedding with just close family. Most people (except for your Great Aunt Maude) will understand if you make it clear from the beginning that you would love for them to be at your wedding but that your wedding budget or chosen location won’t permit.
There are other tricks for securing a smaller wedding without offending the extended family or friends, such as having a last minute wedding or a destination wedding. Destination weddings are a great way to limit the number of guests to your wedding as it implies greater costs and more time off work. Usually only the really close members of your family and your dearest friends will make the effort to attend (oh, and the really rich ones!). However, remember to give people plenty of time to make arrangements, otherwise you might end up missing out on those who you really want to be at your wedding. Elopement to a beach venue could also be another option if the guest list begins to get really messy!
On the other hand, if you are looking for a really grand nuptial celebration, publicize your engagement to everyone you would potentially like to attend your wedding and provide a rough date for your ceremony as soon as possible to ensure that as many people can come. It is less likely that people can make a last minute wedding, so the earlier you decide when the big day will be, the more guests will be able to attend. The danger with big weddings is to ensure that you don’t forget anyone. No one minds so much if they do not receive an invite to a smaller wedding but when they discover they were missed off the list of the wedding event of the year, you may have to eat some humble pie.
The other advantage of having a big wedding is that any family fallouts or feuding ex-spouses are diluted amongst larger numbers. You can easily orchestrate your tables to avoid any unnecessary clashes. It is also advisable to inform those who may have an issue with another of your guests that they will both be invited. That way you avoid any surprises on your big day, and the feuding individuals can make their own decisions about attending and behaving.
Regardless of if you intend for your wedding to be big or small, the earlier you make a list of potential guests the better and you should also ask for a prompt rsvp. There will always be those who can’t make it, no matter how much they wish to be there to celebrate your wedding with you, so have a reserve list just in case. Ask wedding guests to reply with as much time as possible for you to invite others in the event that they can not make it.