Weddings are such momentous occasions that it’s no wonder couples want to share their big days with as many people as possible. Though a wedding where all friends, family members and acquaintances are in attendance may be a dream scenario, reality often calls for a more carefully curated guest list.
Data from The Wedding Report indicates that the average cost of a wedding is slightly more than $20,000, though that figure could be substantially higher, or even lower, depending on where couples tie the knot. Both The Wedding Report and The Knot report that a wedding venue and catering make up a significant percentage of the overall cost of a wedding, with some figures indicating that these expenses account for around 65 percent of the final price tag. The number of guests couples will host on their wedding day will affect which venue they book and how much food and beverages they’ll need to satisfy guests. Couples who hope to stay within budget can consider these tips as they try to build a guest list that won’t break the bank.
Accept input. Parents may no longer foot the entire bill for their children’s weddings, but couples who are accepting some financial help from parents must also accept Mom’s and Dad’s input regarding the guest list. Even if parents’ desired guests do not ultimately make the cut, it’s best to respect their wishes and consider who they want to invite. Couples who are financing their own weddings without outside help need not feel beholden to invite anyone who does not meet their invitation criteria.
Make a preliminary list without regard to budget. Couples can have fun making preliminary guest lists without considering their budgets. A preliminary list can serve as a solid starting point, and couples may even realize that their list is within budget. Once the preliminary lists have been created, couples can categorize guests (i.e., distant cousins, coworkers, etc.) and then work together to determine if any categories can be eliminated from the invitation list. For example, couples who may be going over budget with their guest lists can each agree to remove distant cousins from their prospective invitees.
Seek advice. Many couples face difficult decisions regarding their wedding day guest lists, so it can be helpful to speak to a recently married friend or relative to see how they handled paring down their guest lists. Some might have done it by category, while others might have limited guest lists to local friends and family. When taking this approach, couples can speak to friends about how they approached handling people who were surprised that they were not on the final list of invitees.
Throw a less formal party down the road. A less expensive backyard barbecue within weeks of tying the knot can serve as a less costly alternative to a large wedding reception. Couples who take this approach can keep their wedding day guest lists to a minimum, but invite everyone they hope to see to a post-wedding day backyard barbecue or pot luck picnic so they can celebrate with everyone they love.
Curating a wedding day guest list is no small task. However, couples can try various approaches to keep a guest list more manageable.
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