How to Create Your Wedding Guest List without Creating World War Three

How to Create Your Wedding Guest List without Creating World War Three By Terence Joseph Photography

There’s not one couple I have worked with as a wedding photographer who hasn’t stressed out over their guest list. You think it will be easy – after all, you simply invite the people you like, right? Apparently not! It seems weddings aren’t just emotional occasions for the bride and groom, and the most unlikely people can take real offence if they don’t get an invitation.

Who Goes on the A List?

You’ll face many tests of compromise in your marriage. Think of your guest list as the dress rehearsal. Decide on the number of guests you want and can afford to invite, and stick to it. You might be lucky to have parents who are happy to let get on with it. More likely, your parents or future in-laws will remind you of relatives and family friends who will be hurt if they’re left out. This is no problem with unlimited space and money, but most couples have to draw the line somewhere.

Tradition dictates that both families in their entirety be invited, regardless of whether you like or have any regular contact with them. Forget tradition. Start your list with the people you will really miss if they’re not there to celebrate with you – people like your immediate family and close friends. As a rule of thumb, you can leave them off if you haven’t spoken to them in the last year.

The list is done, but your dad is nagging you to include 97-year old aunt who hasn’t seen you since you were 12. Your best friend has the hump that you’re not inviting the guy she’s been dating casually for a fortnight; your brother is threatening not to come if his toddlers aren’t invited, regardless of the fact that you’re having a sophisticated evening wedding with no children; and there are people you’d love to invite but simply don’t have the room for. What do you do?

If Your Name’s Not Down

You can sort this without calling the UN for support. Start with your dad’s aunt. Explain that you’re limited with numbers, inviting her means you’d have to leave off someone else, and that the venue is not easily accessible. If that’s not enough, say you’d really like Great Aunt Mable to be there but your in-laws are insisting on an extra guest and they’re not as reasonable and understanding as your dad. Sweeten the deal by visiting Auntie M before or after your wedding instead.

Pacify your mate by putting her fella on the reserve list, promising you’ll invite him if anyone drops out. Ask your brother’s reasons for insisting his kids come and help find a solution, while tactfully and firmly holding your ground. As for those people you really would like to invite but just can’t fit or afford, apologise and say you’re limited on numbers and imply that if it was entirely up to you, that they’d be there.

You can still have a fun wedding without losing your sanity, your best friend, or the will to live. Breathe deeply, and enjoy the excitement and satisfaction of having organised what will be the best party of your life!

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