The perils of guest list etiquette

On top of everything else a bride has to organise whilst planning her wedding, the issue of the guest list is always lingering in the background, ready to jump out and cause all hell to break loose.

So how can you survive making the guest list – especially if you are on a budget?

It is very easy to say that brides should invite exactly who she and her future husband wants, but in reality, that is not possible, unless you have no budget at all to be fixed by.

The truth is, guests = cash.

So how do you choose who is invited to attend your wedding, and who isn’t?

Obviously the immediate family are the first people that’ll be on the “invited” list, but where it starts to get a little complicated is the extended family. For example, Mr M has about a million cousins spawned from an equal amount of Aunts and Uncles, and is lucky enough to have all but one of his Grandparents still with us.

I on the other-hand, have as many cousins as you could count fingers on one hand (not including thumbs), no grandparents left, and only a couple of Aunts and Uncles. I am also picky about who should attend our wedding; I don’t understand the idea of inviting people for the sake of it just to keep up numbers (not that Mr M is doing that; he’s just too popular for his own good!). To me, weddings should be about those closest to you watching two people get married, and celebrating this, and I don’t particularly fancy having a bunch of random people that I’ve never met, watching the most important moment of my life take place. Yet once again, Mr M has a massive group of friends, and if you include their other halves, then that once again doubles the numbers, but are all important to him and he really wants them there.

To give you some kind of ratio (we are trying to agree on about 60 guests), my side consists of approximately 30 people, however Mr M’s is struggling to cut his numbers down from the 60-70 mark!!!!!!!!

So is it right that if you invite a guest their other half is automatically invited? Or should partners just attend the evening?

When my parents got married it was a very small affair – 19 people including the bride and groom! In true M-Family style however, Mr M’s parents had 300 guests attend their day and they couldn’t fit everyone in the church!

We have two strategies to get around the guest list trap:
We created two guest lists!!! And not a spreadsheet insight this time!!!

The first strategy is worked upon the basis that immediate family, plus Aunts, Uncles and Grandparents are invited to the whole day. A selection of long term friends and acquaintances have been chosen to attend alongside them. Luckily, all the older cousins from Mr M’s side can drive, and so the plan is, that the cousins are attending the reception rather than the whole day. All other “non-important” friends (it sounds awful saying that) and the day attendant’s partners are also attending the evening only. This list will be adopted if we end up choosing the venue that has the smaller capacity for the actual ceremony itself.

The second strategy, is to include the cousins in the day ceremony, and the “non-important” friends still attend only the evening. Depending on capacity of the second venue we are looking at, partners of the original day attendants may be able to join them for the ceremony also.

The main thing we have found from trying to create the guest list, is that no one will ever be happy, no matter how hard you try to work around things. There will always be someone chopped off the day list and demoted to the evening only, the evening attendants may feel they should have been invited to the day also.

Unfortunately, as a bride on a budget, the guest list will be one of the focal points of arranging the whole celebration! It affects catering, stationery, favours…….. the list goes on!

The most important thing is to be realistic with regards to your budget; the sad truth is guests = cash.


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