A guest list can cause a great deal of unhappiness, if it’s not handled with care and tact. Deciding who to invite and exclude can be difficult. Unless you’re marrying a blesser with a bottomless budget, you’ll need to limit the number of your guests.
Here’s are some factors to consider:
1.Your venue. Every venue has a maximum capacity of guests allowed, so choose the venue based on the number of guests you expect, or draw up a guest list to fit the venue you’ve chosen. 350 people won’t fit into a boutique hotel, so figure out which is more important to you – many people or a specific venue. The venue you select will dictate the maximum number of people it can accommodate.
2. Per head costs. Once you’ve chosen your venue find out how much they charge for each guest. Remember that you don’t have to use the full capacity of the venue; stick to what you can afford at all times. If the venue charges R250 per person and their capacity is 250 guests, that’s R62 500. If the total cost is too high, decide how much you are willing to pay, and adjust the number of guests accordingly. Remember to factor yourself, your partner and the bridal party into the per head costs.
3. Review your friends. It’s tempting to want to invite everyone you’ve ever called a friend, but this is where cutting off the guest list gets tough because it forces you to review the nature of your friendships. Invite friends that you are in contact with on a regular basis, who know you and your life now. Childhood friends that you haven’t seen or spoken to in years and friends that you’ve grown apart from should not make the list. There is also a big difference between a friend and an acquaintance. If you’ve hung out in a group but never one on one, that person is an acquaintance and should not be on your list.
4. The colleague question. You spend a lot of time at work, so it’s only natural that you will form a few genuine friendships there. Don’t invite your boss and the whole team, but consider those colleagues who are aware of your personal journey that you confide in. However, there is also no obligation to invite anyone from work, so don’t feel pressured to do so.
5. Other obligatory invites. So you guys aren’t that close, but she invited you to her wedding years ago and now you feel obligated to invite her to yours? It’s a tough one, but again, consider the nature of your friendship. Do you see each other? Does she ever call to check in on you? All these things matter.
6. The plus ones. Plus ones can really make a guest list add up quickly. If your friend changes men like she changes weaves, should you allow a plus one for her? If she’s familiar with other people attending the wedding, put her at a table where she’ll know people and forego the plus one. But, if she won’t know anyone, bite the bullet and allow her a partner. If you’re friends with one half of a married couple, do you exclude the spouse? Most married couples don’t like attending weddings alone, so you may not be able to avoid this one.
7. The family. This is the toughest area to hack, for obvious reasons. Family members feel connected to you (and to your parents) no matter how unfamiliar you are with each other. Therefore, they will take it personally if they are not invited to the wedding, so how do you decide? Work from the closest to the furthest in terms of relation, starting with your immediate family, followed by your grandparents, parents’ siblings and their children (your cousins). Prioritise married couples, and be guided by the wisdom and advice of your parents as they know your extended family better than you do. Give your parents a number that they must stick to and make it their call.
8. The church and your parents’ friends. This is another tough segment. The easiest solution is to again give your parents a number that they must stick to at all costs. The upside to culture is that there are multiple events leading up to the wedding and, if you’re having two ceremonies, see if you’re able to move some guests to the traditional ceremony, which usually allows for more guests.