There are two things that I wish we had done differently when planning my daughter’s wedding. Well, maybe more than two things, but two things that I would warn other people to do differently than we did.
The first is to definitely have the guest list nailed down early in the planning process. Your guest list determines many things–the size of ceremony and reception venue you will need, the amount (and therefore, cost) of food and cake, tables and chairs, number of favors, number of invitations, and other things that don’t seem like a big deal–but can start to mount up–both in time and money.
So even if you think you have a general idea of the number (like we did), it is a good idea to write them down and pretty much finalize the list early. Be sure to get the list from both families.
I wish I could say that this is an easy process, but I think it is one of the hardest. Two things might make it easier. One would be to have a very small, intimate wedding with only closest family and best friends. The other would be to have an unlimited guest list. Anything in between calls for judgments–and not everyone will agree with your judgments.
If the wedding or reception venue is limited in the number of people it can hold, you must take this into account. Usually, you can count on less people coming than you invite. And many times you can count on less people coming than said they would! I’ve heard the number put about 10%. I guess that is determined by how reliable your friends and family are!
However, if your wedding venue only seats 100 people and you invite 110, thinking that 10 will not show up, you could have problems.
Decisions will be faced involving inviting co-workers, casual acquaintances and friends of the parents. Each couple, along with their parents will have to decide what is right for them. Just realize, that unless reigned in, a guest list can grow much bigger than you first intended. So if you want to keep your wedding small, you will have to make a conscious effort to do so. And if keeping costs down is a priority, keeping the guest list down can help.
And my experience with weddings has been, no matter how many people you invite, after the wedding is over, there will always be those you wish you would have invited and those you really thought would come but didn’t. Go figure. Like I said, it is one of the hardest things to do.
When you get your guest list done (at least within reason), then you will be ready to select venues (if you haven’t already), order invitations, and think about the catering.
Also, as you are making your guest list, get addresses and phone numbers. Don’t wait until later to do this. Might as well do it all at once! It can be quite frustrating tracking down addresses as you are addressing the invitations! And one more tip–start addressing the invitations earlier than you think you need to!
Come back and read some more to find out the second thing I would have done differently:)