When trying to decide who’s receiving that gorgeous custom ‘save the date’ and who’s only going to see the social media highlights, the pressure is on. It’s no secret that weddings can be pricey! A 50 guest wedding will be much cheaper than a two-hundred person wedding, so guest lists are important. We’ve devised some easy guidelines to help you get through this decision making process with your friend and family relationships still intact!
We won't sugar coat it for you:planning a wedding is difficult. Most couples received help from their parents, friends, and some even hire a wedding planner. But as you increase the amount of people willing to help you plan, the likelihood of these people wanting to have a say in the guest list increases.
To avoid conflict, you can start by setting clear guidelines. Many couples decide to split the guest list 50%, 25%, and 25%: 50% invites specific to the couple, 25% family specific invites from both sides of the family For example, a 200 person wedding, would invite 100 guests that the couple decides on personally, the parents of one family would invite 50 guests, and the parents of the other family would invite 50 guests. Of course this depends on each individual family but many choose to split it this way to keep things as fair as possible.
We recommend deciding on these guidelines even before planning begins to avoid any unnecessary conflict that can arise.
Cuts can always be made so it’s best to list out everyone you’d like to invite before refining the list back to the most important guests. This means including everyone from distant family members, neighbors, and even your favorite yogi in the class you attend every week..
This is the fairytale stage. Plan this wedding as big and huge as you’d want it to be. You’d be amazed how many people you never would’ve expected to invite to pop up during this stage. So go big now and let the fine-tuning come later.
This also ensures that no one gets forgotten or disregarded, so really, write down everyone.
Consider a Destination Wedding
While destination weddings aren't always practical, they can help dramatically cut down the guest list and inevitably same on total wedding costs if this is your main goal. Many couples find that if they choose to set their wedding in an out of town location, a large part of their guest list is unable to make the trip. This gives you the chance to choose a beach venue, yacht venue, or other luxurious options that wouldn't be available otherwise.
Just don’t forget to account for travel expenses, even before the wedding. This could include airfare, hotels, rental cars, taking time off of work, etc.
Set the Number
This can sometimes be the hardest part of the planning process but it's arguably the most important. The guest list is defined by your budget and the size of your venue. With these two factors, you can decide if you can accommodate only one-hundred people or as many as five-hundred guests. Each guest is equivalent to a new plate that your caterer must prepare, another chair at another table, another favor you must provide, or another piece of the cake that must get cut.
Choose a number that falls below your venue’s maximum capacity to avoid the utter panic that happens every time a new guest RSVPs. Keeping your number on the conservative side will allow you to add more in the future if you end up having space or more room in the budget than initially expected. This is also just a good practice to make sure that you don't accidentally go over capacity or have to uninvite your brother’s best friend’s mom.
It’s best to set a few rules the couple agrees on when it comes to cutting people from the guest list. These make it easier to take someone off the list that you might be on the fence about. Examples of some of these rules could be:
- If neither of you have spoken to them in the last year and they’re not family, don’t send the invite.
- If neither of you feel a connection to this person, don’t send the invite.
- If you’re not too keen on inviting children, don’t feel guilty about having an adult-only event.
- If someone is only on the list because they invited you to something or they send you holiday cards every year, don’t send the invite.
- If someone is only on the list because you feel guilty about not inviting them, don’t send the invite.
Of course, there can always be exceptions to these rules, but by creating them in advance, it’s going to make the cuts substantially easier to decide who comes and who goes. Each couple is different and the rules should accommodate both of you to get everyone on the same page.
Cut the Plus-One List
One of the easiest guest list limiters is to cut the plus-one right out of the picture. Rather than addressing invitations to John Lewis and “plus one,” address invitations to either John Doe and Sally Sue or to just John Lewis. If you wouldn't give Sally Sue her own invite, then she doesn't need to be at the top of your guest list. Sorry Sally!
Don’t forget to also include names printed in the response cards before sending them out. It wouldn't be the first and sure won't be the last time that a response gets filled out with way more than the intended names on the name blank. To avoid unnecessary responses, print the personalized names on each response card before you send them out!
Make it Adult-Only
True or False: It’s unacceptable to have an adult-only wedding. False. Every wedding is different and some couples choose to have an adult-only wedding for various reasons. From the guest list to an open bar, sometimes it's much easier to limit those under age to only immediate family.
We won't lie to you, this also eliminates the possibility of the ceremony getting interrupted by little Billy’s temper tantrum and no one is against that! Choosing to have an adult-only wedding is a personal choice up to each and every individual couple, but there are benefits that deserve some consideration.
Also, don’t be fooled! This is still your day and if you decide to have children in the wedding party but not allow young guests, this is still acceptable!
Don’t forget: It’s your day!
Cutting people can be extremely stressful and potentially cause conflict with uninvited members. It’s important to remember that this is your day to enjoy with the people that you want to celebrate with. It's inevitable that potentially awkward conversations are going to occur. Prepare yourself with a polite but uninterpretable response that can break the news easily to uninvited members. You could say something along the lines of “we’d love to celebrate with everyone but unfortunately our budget and venue only allows for so many guests!”
One of the most difficult parts of planning a wedding is deciding your guest list. From limiting the amount of plus-ones to creating a list of rules to decide for you, creating the perfect guest list is attainable, don’t worry! If you follow the recommendations we’ve laid out, you’ll be one step closer to a stress-free and flawless wedding experience.
And don't forget to check out http://www.goldenknotys.com/ for all of your yacht wedding plans! With yachts docked all along the coast from Boston to Florida to California, Golden Knot Yacht Services is prepared to cruise with you on your perfect day! Our yacht wedding planners are dedicated to creating the vision, choosing the vendors, and preparing the venue for your dream yacht wedding!
Written by Emily Surabian, Marketing Intern for Golden Knot Yacht Services