«Create a Memorable Event» Series - Guest List

Compiling a guest list is your next big thing to tackle so you can make decisions that’ll produce an awesome event. Depending on your event-purpose this task might be a 10-minute-case, a multi-day-brainstorming and everything in between.

  • If you’re organizing a child’s birthday party the guest list either entails family and friends with kids or maybe only school-mates for a movie-night.

  • If you’re organizing a get-together for adult friends your guest list is self-evident.

  • If you’re organizing an honoring-event, your guest list might need a little more effort but the party’s purpose is dictating the attendee list, you just have to follow it.

Photo by  J. Kelly Brito  on  Unsplash

On the other hand, when you’re organizing a wedding (or another big, formal event), there’s just so many factors to consider, you may become overwhelmed because you’d think that writing your guest list shouldn’t be that hard. You choose people you love and have a strong connection to, who you want to spend your special event with. And that’s all true, but…

A wedding reception is a party to celebrate the joining of two people, and by extent two families, two sets of friend-groups. So, if the whole wedding is not just you and your partner (absolutely nothing against it, if you choose that way) than the guest list is a “tad bit” more complicated to compile. You’ll have to consider budget (that has to be on your mind constantly), who is paying, venue-capacity/availability, etc.

I’d suggest for the couple to discuss and agree to write 1-3 list each and having in mind budget and venue combine and prioritize!

  • NON-NEGOTIABLES - those you just can not get married without. 100% attendance required

  • PROBABLES - If you can make it work, you’ll have them (friends, extended family, colleagues and others)

  • POSSIBLES - people you haven’t seen in a while, those you aren’t that close with but are in your friend circle, acquaintances, and others

Obviously, the combined (duplicates merged) non-negotiables lists are your first number. If you’re lucky and your budget and venue allows for this number to go up you’ll dip into the probables lists … and so on.

If you’re in need of some “rules” that may help you to narrow down a particular list I’ve compiled the more common issues below. Choose, discuss, agree and hold yourselves to it. I’d suggest to do this task with your parents (or the people that are contributing monetarily to your wedding).

  • you haven’t seen somebody (extended family, friends…) for over a year (define time period), don’t invite

  • you want children to attend or not (will this apply to everybody except… define extent)

  • you want colleagues to attend or not

  • would you extend an invitation to plus-ones: no ring - no bring?

  • how many people would your parents invite: a table each family? relevance to couple?

  • should you invite somebody that invited you (or your parents) to their wedding? No/yes

It bares utmost importance that you adhere to your chosen rules! Be consequent or if you find yourself struggling go back to the suggestions and make lighter rules. You budget will dictate how far you can stretch your rules.

There’s no such thing as fair, when you’re writing your guest list. Just because one person’s immediate family is bigger than the other’s or there are expectations from family and friends, you have to have in mind the purpose of the event and your ability to carry it through. I’d also suggest, to have in mind that the more people you have,

  • the less time you will have with any of them at the reception

  • the more your wedding will cost,

  • the more you’ll have to organise (stationery, seating plans, meals, and transport, etc.)

What’s important is that you surround yourself with those that really care about you, whose company you truly most enjoy, and who you expect to be part of your lives in the future!

I’d draw your attention to the fact that your guest list isn’t static. It’s complicated to keep track of as it changes, if it’s not in one place. I’d suggest using Excel sheets. It’s very useful to have a single place to refer to for the guest names and addresses, RSVPs, any dietary requirements, and then even to go back to after the wedding, so that you can send a thoughtful and personal thank you note. If you want to step it up, creating a website is the ultimate chronicle of the journey you’re taking. It’ll provide information and guidance for your guests, collect information based upon you’ll make decisions and it can even act as a digital scrapbook if guests upload their photos and videos of the event.

Below are some pictures of the structure of the website (because it’s an active site I won’t post the link) I created for my “Little sister”’s wedding that’ll take place in Athens, in August, 2019.

Thank you for coming along for another segment of this series. Next time we’ll talk about vendors.

If you missed the beginning or any of the segments of the series, below you can find all the blogs posted. If you’d like to receive notification about all other blog posts you might want to register and subscribe here, so you’ll never miss a thing!

Your very own fairy

Tünde - Nefeli