The Wedding Guest List Guide

Your budget will define your entire wedding. It will decide where you can have it, what type/style of wedding you can have, the food, the drink, the dress, the favours, the photographer, the cake and many more things. That actually falls mainly to one huge thing: your wedding budget will define how many wedding guests you can have.

You could say then, that it is actually the number of guests you have at your wedding that hugely defines the whole day.

Let’s try and put this into perspective. Let’s take an averagely priced wedding venue and look at the costings depending on the number of guests we have.

The Oxford Spires Four Pillars Hotel has some nice wedding packages which include a lot of bits and pieces and they have

Silver Package:

This package includes:

  • A glass of bucks fizz on arrival
  • A delicious three course wedding breakfast (from the silver menu) followed by coffee and mints
  • Half a bottle of house wine per person during the wedding breakfast
  • A glass of sparkling wine for the toasts
  • A dedicated Wedding coordinator
  • A professional London Guild Toastmaster
  • Red carpet welcome
  • Menu and wine tasting evening for the Bride and Groom
  • Silver cake stand and an engraved silver cake knife as a gift from us as a memento of your special day
  • Personalised table plan, menus and place cards
  • Complimentary honeymoon suite for the Bride and Groom on the night of your Wedding
  • Use of the gardens and grounds for your photographs
  • Linen napkins and table cloths
  • Free car parking

£62.75 per person

This package includes:

  • A glass of Pimms on arrival
  • Canapés during your drinks reception (3 items per person)
  • A delicious three course wedding breakfast (from the gold menu) followed by coffee and mints
  • A sorbet course
  • Half a bottle of upgraded wine per person during the wedding breakfast
  • A glass of champagne for the toasts
  • A dedicated Wedding coordinator
  • A professional London Guild Toastmaster
  • Red carpet welcome
  • Menu and wine tasting evening for the Bride and Groom
  • Silver cake stand and an engraved silver cake knife as a gift from us as a memento of your special day
  • Personalised table plan, menus and place cards
  • Complimentary honeymoon suite for the Bride and Groom on the night of your Wedding
  • Use of the gardens and grounds for your photographs
  • Linen napkins and table cloths
  • Free car parking

£72.75 per person

So let’s say you have 100 people on your guest list. You would be looking at the following costings:

Silver Package: £6,275
Gold Package: £7,275

If you make this 70 people for example, you would be able to reduce your costs significantly:

Silver Package: £4,392
Gold Package: £5,092

Make it 50 people and you reduce your costs even more:

Silver Package: £3,137
Gold Package: £3,637

So the number of people on your wedding guest list will make a huge difference to your budget, which we all know, impacts every single little aspect of your day.

How do you whittle the list down then, I hear you asking. There are distant relatives who expect to be invited, there are friends who jump on the band wagon, there are other halves who have only been around for one month: how do you cope with all these people who seem to get a bit over-excited when there is a wedding being planned.

How to keep the Wedding Guest List under control?

1. Make a Long List: The first thing to do is to write up a (sometimes very) long list of everyone you can think of, from your parents, the people who will definitely be invited, the people who might be included to the people who expect to be invited. Get everybody down on that list to see what you are dealing with in an absolute worst case scenario. This helps to make all other more likely scenarios seem much more bearable!

2. Split the list up into four main sections:
– The definite, non-negotiable list: that is parents, siblings, best friends, close aunts, uncles, cousins. These are the people you actually couldn’t imagine not having there.
– The probable list: these are friends, slightly more distant family members and probably work colleagues. These people probably expect an invite, you know that etiquette dictates you should invite them and it is likely that they will be on the list.
– The possible/etiquette list: these are people who expect invites but you don’t necessarily want there. These are people who are usually being considered as guests of relatives rather than direct guests of the bride and groom. Chances are you don’t even know some of the people on this list.
– The not-on-the-list list: these are the people you can safely take off the long list. They don’t necessarily expect invites, you don’t particularly feel like they need to be invited, you don’t really want them there. You might have included them if you had an unlimited budget.

3. Double-check: Always check with family members (if you’re going to allow for this) if there is anyone they feel extremely strongly about inviting (or not inviting for that matter). It doesn’t mean you have to listen/do what they want, but it’s good to avoid any nasty surprises closer to the day.

4. Rethink: if your list is still too long after splitting it up, rethink it. Talk to family members about how they might be able to help you approach it. Perhaps, some more distant relatives are OK with not being invited. Mums usually know the answers to these things best!

Step 2 sounds a lot easier than it actually is. Usually, the people who go into the definite list are easy to put there, but the second and third lists are a bit harder to define. Normally distant relatives, distant/childhood friends and work colleagues are the most difficult to place.

To invite or to not invite?

1. Distant Relatives. These are tricky but here are some questions that might help you decide:
– Is there a cultural/social etiquette to invite them no matter what?
– Have you ever met them?
– Have you seen them in the past 5 years?
– Do you speak with them regularly?

2. Distant/Childhood Friends. Again these potential guests are a bit harder to
– Have you spoken in the past year?
– Do you see them every now and then?
– Do they make an effort to keep contact with you?
– Did they invite you to their wedding?
– Recently acquired boyfriends/girlfriends fall into this category: if you have enough budget/space then fine but otherwise, set a rule and stick with it.

3. Work Colleagues. They have probably heard a lot of details about your wedding and have been through a lot of the wedding planning process with you.
– Do you see them/speak with them outside of work?
– Do you consider them friends or just work colleagues?
– Would you be friends with them if work hadn’t united you?
– Did they invite you to their wedding?

A quick, helpful guide I found on Pinterest!

A quick, helpful guide I found on Pinterest!

As you can see defining your wedding guest list is not as easy as it sounds. It is often cultural/social elements that make this such a struggle. Speak with your closest family and friends and make sure you understand each other but above all try and communicate about this effectively. If there is someone that a relative would like to bring who you don’t want there/have enough budget for, explain why you don’t feel that they should be at your wedding.

Nobody wants to upset anyone and so my advice would be to try not to get upset about it yourself. This is often the biggest source of stress and worry around a wedding, particularly as it is so closely linked with the wedding budget, but just remember, at the end of the day, as long as you’re married to your other half, bickering relatives will get over things in the end!

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