It will be the mix of people who make your day special, so it is worth taking time to think about who to invite. It’s your day, so don’t get too caught up in worrying about whether people will be offended if you don’t invite them. You can always talk to them about it and explain that you couldn’t afford to invite everybody you wanted to.
- Agree on a sensible maximum number of guests. Remember your budget and the size of the venue.
- Start by making a list of everyone in both your families who you are still in touch with, including their children. Be ruthless: if you haven’t spoken to someone in years, leave them off the list
- Now make a list of all your friends. You’ll want your own friends, your partner’s friends and people who are friends of both of you
- If one of you comes from a large family and the other comes from a small one, decide whether it matters that there will be more from one family and less from the other. If it matters, one of you will have to reduce their list. If it doesn’t matter, the one with the smaller family can have more friends attend
- Start counting. How many people are your partner’s friends and relatives and how many are yours?
- Decide whether it matters if your partner has more guests than you, or vice versa. If one of you is more outgoing than the other, he or she may have lots of friends, but they might not be as close. If one of you tends to have stronger relationships with fewer people, it will be more important that those people attend the wedding
- Usually, the guest list at this stage will be bigger than you have budgeted for. If that is the case, you will have to be ruthless and remove some people from the list. Keep a list of those who you were sorry to remove, just in case circumstances change
- Now look at the mix of people. Is there a good mix of old and young and different kinds of people? You don’t want them all to be too similar: the best parties are those where there are differing religious/political views and where there are enough adults to supervise the children. The children will want playmates, but you’ll want the company of adults, too
- You might want to reintroduce some of the people you ruthlessly culled from the list at this stage, to make a better mix. Is there someone from your friend list that you have always wanted to introduce to someone from your partner’s list? Now’s your chance
- Consider the needs of your guests. If you have invited someone elderly or infirm, have you invited someone who can keep an eye on them? You won’t have time to look after them. Make sure they have the opportunity to go home at a suitable time if they aren’t up to partying into the evening
- Check our article “Who should never be invited” and have another cull
- Check your numbers again and have another cull if necessary. At this stage, it will be better to have too few than too many
- Send out your invitations
- Keep careful records of who has replied and whether they have accepted or not
- If some don’t reply, decide how long to leave it before checking with them. Make it clear that you won’t be offended if they can’t come, or only want to attend for part of the day
- If some can’t come, you may want to invite some of those you had previously culled. Record their response and chase them up if necessary
Enjoy watching them interact on the day!