In the very beginning of wedding planning all I could do was dream about cakes, linens, and flowers. I was glued to sites like Pinterest and Etsy. However, I realized that I couldn’t really start the fun stuff until I chose a venue. I couldn’t choose a venue until I knew how many guest I would have and what my budget was going to be. That realization quickly brought me back to reality. When thinking about a bride planning her wedding, maybe you imagine her “folder” full of all her vendor’s information and decor ideas, or maybe you think about cake tastings and gown shopping, but no one ever tells you how absolutely grueling it is to put a guest list together. You really start to evaluate friendships when you are thinking in terms of dollars per head – and that’s no joke.
My entire life I dreamed of an enormous southern style wedding where I invited everyone I’ve ever known and their mothers. However, after doing some quick calculations on my little IPhone calculator, I realized that I couldn’t afford to invite the whole world. After a little research on etiquette and having some pointed conversations with relatives and close friends, I worked out a number that Roger and I were both comfortable with and the who are and who are nots of my guest list. Here’s what I did to get there:
- First, Roger and I put together our budget. 50% of your big number should go to the reception, this includes décor, rentals, food, and drink. – That should give you a rough idea of what you want to spend on food and drink per head.
- Second, we literally put down everyone we thought we even might want to invite. Everyone. My best friends cousin that I’ve met like twice (and really liked) made this list.
- Third, this is the hard part, we separated all the potential guest into different lists. We have an A list and a B list. We know we can afford to invite 200 people to our wedding, so we nailed down the 200 people we are closest to and put them on the A list (this includes family and people we’ve seen in person in the past six months). Once invitations have been sent, and we start to receive declining RSVPs we will start sending invitations to B listers until we have 200 attending RSVPs.
There are some really cool programs online for managing guest lists. Next week I’m going to review a few and let you know which is my favorite and the one I’m using now.