Monday Coffee: Managing Your Guest List

Happy Monday, lovelies! We hope it was a wonderful weekend for you! We spent ours mostly outdoors celebrating Nick’s birthday {and that fun is continuing today as we gear up to sit poolside at the Catamaran….} and perusing the beach for coffee bean shells. Nick found four – what a way to start a new birthday year!

We’re kicking off this fresh week with a few helpful planning tips sparked by a #WW Tweet we put out there talking about the all-important guest list. Here are our Top 4 Tips for managing your guest list:

1. Avoid trying to get creative with an A List/B List guest list. We’ve seen this backfire a few times: the couple thinks that they’ll send a bunch of invitations out to their A List first. If they get a handful of no responses they’ll then invite people who are on their B List, like co-workers or friends whom they don’t see often but feel obligated to invite. The problem: this is not only not polite, but it can backfire because you end up putting guests in a time crunch and the A List might decide they’ll attend after all. Just don’t do it.

Photo by Sarah Rhoads Photographers for Valley & Co.

2.  Don’t over invite thinking that a certain percentage of your guests for sure won’t show and send them an invitation anyways. We’ve dealt with a happy wonderful couple {one of our favorites!} who just had to physically invite 325 guests. They were so certain that only 250 would attend. So why send a physical invitation to Great Aunt Gertrude who lives in England? Simply send an announcement post-wedding. The backfire: 310 guests surprised the heck out of them and showed up. Extra guests = extra unexpected costs. We’ve seen guests surprise couples far too often and take the wedding as an excuse for a vacation.

3. Be careful with ceremony- or reception-only invitations. We have helped a number of our couples strategically invite only their immediate family to a ceremony and a hundred or so guests to their reception for dinner and dancing the night away. The only real instance we’d recommend using this strategy for is if you truly want an intimate ceremony {as our clients did}. Think: parents, grandparents, siblings and a few friends standing by your side at the altar. This really doesn’t save any cost {we’ve had clients ask us if they can invite friends post-dancing for drinks only} and it can potentially offend the “second string” guests.

4. Invite those whom you really want to celebrate your big day with. It’s as plain and simple as that. We often act as the mediators between parents {who want to invite all of their friends and neighbors and church community} and their children {who want to keep it intimate and sweet}. Our goal it to ensure that our couples are surrounded by their nearest and dearest. Sure, the more the merrier, but more doesn’t always equal better when you’re talking about sharing such a special moment.

We had 225 guests at our seaside wedding and it was simply perfect. We wouldn’t have changed a thing, but we knew each guest well and celebrated and visited with them all.

Remember that this is your wedding. Invite who means the most to you and your day will be spectacular.


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