Guest lists: who’s in, who’s out?

After a whirlwind romance and secret engagement – rather like George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin – it’s countdown to the big day for my sister Jill and fiancé Alan!

George Clooney & Amal Alamuddin

George Clooney & Amal Alamuddin

They have chosen a fabulous venue for the reception and we now have to get down to the nitty-gritty of who’s going to be invited to the wedding. Jill is really fretting about this because drawing up a guest list can be a political minefield. Most couples come under huge pressure from relatives and friends. So with my wedding planner hat on, I have come up with some tips to help my sister compile her guest list!

Adjusting numbers to location

Before focusing on who’s on and who’s off Jill’s list, here are a couple of questions which apply to any bride-to-be:

  • What’s your wedding budget?
  • Do you plan to select the venue before sending the invitations or after, adjusting numbers to location?

Jill’s budget is fairly high – she and Alan have good jobs and are paying for the wedding. Their parents are financing the Bahamas honeymoon! And with the venue already booked, Jill also has a ballpark figure for how many guests can be accommodated.

My advice is to send out “Save the Date” cards to get an initial tally before issuing the invitations. You can usually invite up to 10 per cent more guests than the venue will hold. Some will inevitably be unable to attend.

Making Jill and Alan’s day special

So what are my handy tips to help Jill select her guests?

  • Invite people you and your groom want at your wedding and whom you have both met. It’s your special day and you only want to share that with the people that you both love.
  • Couples paying for their own wedding are not obliged to let their parents invite guests.  But it’s usual to allocate them a set number of invitations.  Keep tabs on possible doubling up on relatives.
  • Relatives and workmates can be a challenge. Fortunately, neither Jill nor Alan come from large families. So the number of aunts and uncles keen to sing at the reception is small!
  • All close relatives should be on the guest list.
  • As far as work colleagues go, invite all of them, within reason, or none at all.

Choosing whom to invite is never an easy task. Good luck!

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