Lazy ‘n Frugal Guide – Guest List

LB Guest List

Ah, the guest list. Perhaps the most hotly contested item of the entire wedding planning process, especially if the parents are contributing money to the wedding. And no matter how large or small your budget, the guest list is going to be a struggle to control. It's a complicated dance of keeping your significant other, his parents, your parents and you, happy. But remember that nothing, I repeat, NOTHING can affect the final budget like the guest list as more people = more money. So you all have to be firm on this. And fair. And respect everyone's feelings and decisions. The Irish peace talks seem like a tea party in comparison to some feuds that have erupted around making the guest list so be mindful of the emotions running high.

Firstly, have the involved parties draw up their list. Then compare names – those folks who appear on two or more lists are in. Now comes the fun part – who to axe. Be ruthless but fair. Set a criteria and use it across the board. Don't bend the rules for anyone as it will open the door to a beehive of problems.


Work under the premise that every single person you are inviting will show up. Really. I had a wedding where they thought 60 people would show – they had 122! Once that invite is out there, you're committed. You cannot 'disinvite' anyone if people you thought wouldn't come do show up  (oh wait, we once had a groom do that because he invited everyone, had 130 guests and he could afford only 60 so he started asking folks to not come to the reception but just show up later for a drink – don't be that guy).
Make an across the board line in the sand,  such as no family past First Cousins, no dates for single friends (unless they are living together, engaged or long term), no one from work, no one with green eyes (OK, kidding about that one, just wanted to see if you're paying attention). Point is to decide who you want there and what is a fair cut off point for you.


Which brings us to children. This is a thorny issue for many folks, especially when it's not handled correctly. It's black and white – either you have it open to all kids or to none. And if you choose none, then you make absolutely no exceptions. No flower girl, no ring bearer – nada. Otherwise, all the guests who had to find a sitter are going to be mighty upset when they see the cute four-year old daughter of your boss traipsing down the aisle with her basket of posies. 


And nowhere is it written 'thou shalt have children at the wedding'. It's your day – if you don't want rugrats, that's totally fine. Cutting out kids will save you $$, especially if you have a lot of children in your circle of friends and family. Although their meals may be half price, they still need places to sit, which adds to the rental and decor budget.


Another area to look at is wedding payback. You know how it goes – you or your parents were invited to so-and-so's wedding and now you feel that you have to return the favor. You don't. Being invited to a wedding does not mean the couple (or their parents) are automatically included on your guest list. Hello savings!


Still have too many people? Use the 'Dinner Test'. Would you invite that person over for dinner? If the answer is no, you probably should reconsider inviting them to the wedding. After all, this is a celebration of your love and commitment to one another and you should have people you are close to in attendance.


When you have your final list, be confident and stick to it. The reality is that you're probably going to ruffle a few feathers but that comes with the territory. You can't please everyone. If there is someone who is really going to make a scene by not being invited, decide ahead of time if you can live with them being angry/never speaking to you again/cutting you out of the will/blocking you from their Facebook friends. If it's going to be too much of an issue, put them on the list but only if they aren't below the cut off line (remember – all or none). People who really care about you should (hopefully) understand that you have a budget.

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