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Eeny Meeny Miny Moe… Dealing With Guest List Stress

Posted on: 21/11/2012

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If you’re any way into your wedding planning and you’ve escaped an argument over the guest list, you’re doing damn well.

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For those of us who haven’t escaped the stress of the plus-one pleas, read on, our regular guest blogger Rachel of Mosaic Brides is back with some more of her words of wisdom. 

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Keep Calm Its Just A Guest List

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Rachel says:  For many wedding couples putting together the guest list is the most stressful part of the planning process.  The task goes far beyond simply drawing up a list of the friends and relatives you want present to share your special day as issues such as plus ones, inviting children and the parents’ guest lists come into play.

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In the early stages it’s important to look carefully at your venue(s) and budget; how many guests does the venue allow and how far will your budget stretch when everything including food, drink and favours are taken into account?

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Couples should also think about the type of ceremony they want; while some will prefer to keep things simple with a small and intimate affair, others will want to make the most of their moment in the limelight by filling the church to the rafters.

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Once these initial discussions have taken place it’s a good idea to draw up a rough guest list to give you an idea of numbers – but be warned, along the way you are likely to face the following dilemmas:

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Pushy Parents

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A topic I have discussed in a previous blog post and an area that should be handled with care.

This is probably where most disagreements over the guest list will occur as parents can have their own ideas on who should be invited to the wedding and it might not correlate with your own.

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While parents can be helpful in drawing up the guest list they can also get carried away, keen to invite as many people as possible to witness the momentous occasion. This can often lead to parents insisting distant relatives and friends of theirs make the list – people who neither you nor your fiancé may have ever met.

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Reining them in can be difficult especially if they’re footing some, or all, of the bill. Some parents have even been known to say they will pay for the additional guests they want to invite making it twice as hard to say no.

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Make exceptions where possible to avoid family fall-outs ahead of the wedding but also don’t be afraid to put your foot down if their plans start to impact on your own. For example, if the numbers would tip you over your venue’s capacity, if you would have to leave out your close friends to make way for their guests and if the numbers would disrupt the desired atmosphere for the day.

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At this point you may have to sit parents down and explain that such large numbers would take away the intimacy of the day and that you and your fiancé would feel awkward having to spend your special day making pleasantries with people who you don’t know.

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Friends vs Family

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Another tricky area when it comes to deciding on numbers.

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For some, weddings are all about the joining of two families and therefore relatives should make up the majority of the guest list. Meanwhile for others a wedding is one big party making lots of friends an essential ingredient.

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To help decide on the family/friend ratio look at where you can draw a line in the family tree to allow space for mates. In other words, after immediate family how far do you go – aunts and uncles? Cousins? Great aunts and uncle? Second cousins?

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This is the best way to cut off invites without causing offence or family rifts as you can provide a logical explanation for your actions.

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Lets Give Up & Go Down The Pub

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Children

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Another sensitive area I have visited on the blog before.

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In short, child invites can cause the guest list to rocket so again consider your venue capacity, budget and the type of ceremony you will be having before deciding on whether to invite children or not, and if so, who?

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Plus Ones

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Weddings are expensive and every extra body can add more than £100 to the bill, so choose who you allow plus ones to with care.  While couples are under no obligation to grant guests plus ones there are certain situations where many choose to do so.

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For example invitations are often extended to partners of the bridesmaids and groomsmen, especially for the evening reception, as a thank you for all their hard work in the run up to and during the big day.

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Most couples also choose to invite a guest’s long term partner especially those who are engaged/married or living together. Alternatively some couples may prefer to save their plus one places for guests’ partners who they have actually met. In either of these cases the invite would normally have both guests’ name on it.

Meanwhile for those generous enough to allow their single friends to bring a date the invite would state the friend’s name ‘and guest’.

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Good luck!

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How have you dealt with guest list issues?  Any tips for the rest of us?

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Image © 2012 created using Keep Calm-o-matic, words by Rachel Parry

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