An essential start to planning your wedding in London is to start your wedding guest list early – a task easier said than done, right? My husband and I dreaded the idea of trimming loved ones off of our wedding guest list. We only had a handful of friends, but both came from huge families, so a small intimate wedding in London would have been a very tall order.
Pre COVID-19, many couples had the choice to invite all of their loved ones to their wedding. Sure, they’d have the usual wedding guest list considerations we’re all accustomed to: logistics, budget and venue size. But now, many couples may find themselves in the unpleasant situation of making cuts to their wedding guest list.
How do I make a wedding guest list?
To assist you with this sensitive part of your wedding planning process, I’ll be sharing my top tips for building your wedding guest list.
So what’s the secret formula to determine who’s going to be on your guest list? And how do you reduce the risk of offending loved ones that won’t make the cut? If you don’t have a London wedding planner on board, starting your list can be a very tricky task. Essentially you’ll need to put your emotions aside and bring out the project manager in you! Here goes…
How do you organise a wedding guest list?
Drafting and cutting your guest list might not be quite as fun as wedding dress shopping. As an East London wedding planner, I recommend following these essential tips to track everyone on your list including RSVPs and menu preferences. You could always invest in the Mollineau Weddings & Events London wedding coordination service if you’d like to free up your time and focus on another area of wedding planning.
1. Divvy up the list—before accepting financial help
Drafting your wedding guest list is often emotionally charged, so the probability of it getting messy is high! Especially if you have your parents or family members involved in wedding planning or contributing financially.
Even if you’re paying for your wedding yourselves, it’s a good idea to get the families together and set out your expectations.
As a professional wedding planner, I often mediate situations between families regarding themes, décor, guest lists, menu choices, and more. I usually recommend that my couple gets half the guest list, and each set of parents gets a quarter of the guest list.
So if you’re planning to invite 100 people, you’d get 50 guests. Your parents would get 25 your fiancé’s parents would also get 25. That usually seems to be the most drama-free approach. Oh yes, and aunties and uncles come out of the parents quarter. I’ve got your back on this one.
2. Define your wedding purpose!
First things first! Before you continue tackling your guest list, you must first discover your wedding purpose. This process will involve you and your partner uncovering why you decided to have a wedding in the first place. And why you would invite each of your guests. The outcome of this task will no doubt influence your decisions as you advance your wedding planning. And is an excellent way to refocus.
Once you’re clear on what your wedding is really about and what it truly means to you both, you’ll be in a stronger position to plan a celebration of a lifetime that embodies that. You’ll have the confidence to manoeuvre around the external factors you have little or no control over when planning a wedding regardless of size, scope or restrictions.
3. Managing your wedding guest list in a collaborative spreadsheet
If you’re wondering how to organise a wedding guest list, there are many ways. But it’s best to use a collaborative system! That way, anyone with input can make edits in real-time and see the most up-to-date version. Our wedding administration service lets you easily export your guest list to help create a seating plan and track RSVP and meal choices. Thus saving you ample time and headache in the weeks leading up to your big day.
It’s also helpful to have everyone’s contact info in one place. Many of our clients have us use the same list for thank you cards and other special announcements. We East London planners love planning celebrations.
4. Put a system in place to stick to your wedding guest list numbers
Once you’ve listed the names of all of your family and friends (your wedding guest wish list), you can divvy your potential friends into A, B, C tiers: Definites. Probables. Maybes. Alternatively, divvy your guest list into tiers of 15 if planning during the pandemic and rank each tier via priority & risk. Give me a call if you need further advice in this area.
Before the pandemic, a good rule of thumb is if the person is not on your holiday card list, or you’ve had no contact with them in 3 years, you should not feel guilty about omitting them from your guest list.
5. How to deal with fewer guests attending your wedding
Would you please avoid deleting anyone’s names from the list that declines your invitation? And please still invite anyone you assume cannot attend.
I recommend you have a separate document for the names you are unsure about. You may find that you can still welcome them to attend remotely or at your future watch party. Besides, it’s a lovely gesture to send a thank you card, as your absentees may still want to forward you their congrats.
6. Ensure your wedding budget and venue works with your guest list
In some cases, your wedding budget and venue may determine the maximum number of guests you can invite to your wedding. If you’re already concerned about your wedding budget, one of the most straightforward solutions to stay on track is to reduce the number of wedding guests you are considering inviting. I know this task may seem exasperating, but you’ll soon see the benefits of trimming your guest list.
7. How to decide who’s on your wedding guest list
Avoid focusing on whom you need to cut from your guest list. Instead, focus on whom you want to see when you walk down the aisle.
The reason being, regardless of your wedding size, whether it’s a micro wedding in London or a large intimate wedding in London, you’ll be limited as to how much time you can spend with each of your wedding guests. Think, whom would you miss?
8. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Need help costing your wedding guest list? I have a few wedding planning hours available; access my diary here, and I’ll help you allocate your wedding budget in no time.
Written by Marsha Mollineau-Griffiths, Professional Wedding Planner Based In East London.