3 Questions to Ask When Cutting Down Your Guest List
Oh, the guest list. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again - it’s one of the toughest things to do when wedding planning. You may have to cut your guest list for a variety of reasons, from sticking to your budget to your venue’s capacity. How do you decide where to draw the line? Here are three questions to ask yourself.
1) How many people can your venue comfortably hold?
Standing room only is the last thing you want at your wedding ceremony and reception. Make sure you have a seat for everyone you invite. If you’re holding a short, casual ceremony and you can’t fit enough seating, be sure to have enough to cover immediate family members and any other guests who may need them.
Let’s say your venue can hold 150 people. That doesn’t mean you should send out 150 invitations. Remember, invitations usually are for a couple or family… more than one person. That also doesn’t mean you send out 125 invitations with hopes that many people will say they’re not coming. It’s unlikely that 50% of your guests will not come, unless it’s a destination wedding or other circumstance.
Here is a good rule of thumb: 20% of guests invited will not come to the wedding. That is generally a safe number to count on. You can send a few more invitations than you have room for knowing that. But only you know the guests you’re inviting and their likelihood of attending, so in the end use your very best judgement.
2) Will this person be a part of your future?
While your wedding day is monumental in respect to your past, it has much more to do with celebrating your future. For this reason, it's important to make sure that most, if not all, of the people you invite will play a role in your future life together. For instance, if you haven't spoken to your friend from high school in over a year, then don't feel obliged to invite them out of respect for your history together. Consider the last time you’ve really spoken to this person. If it’s been over a year, consider them on the chopping block.
3) Are there many children and plus-ones on your list?
Consider an adults-only wedding and/or eliminating plus-ones.
If you look at your guest list and see a large number of guests 10 and under, consider having an adults-only wedding. Maybe there are some children you absolutely need to invite (say, your nieces and nephews). If you want to, simply hire a babysitter to watch them during the reception so they can still attend the ceremony, and ask your caterer to prepare "kids meals" so they don't have to eat (and you don't have to pay for) grown-up meals.
When it comes to plus-ones, you should offer them to anyone who’s married, engaged, lives together or is in a long-term, committed relationship (if they’ve been together for at least one year). Extending a plus-one to everyone in your wedding party is a courteous move they’ll definitely appreciate. This doesn’t mean you have to force each bridesmaid and groomsman to bring a date to your wedding if they don’t want to (there’s a chance they’ll decline anyway), but it’s important to make the offer because they’ve been there for you from the start. Otherwise, guests who are casually dating, coworkers or single friends whom you’re not especially close to (or who will know other guests) do not require a plus-one.
Ultimately, you want the people who will support you in your marriage at your wedding. How many people are there and who those people are, are up to you.