Congratulations, You’re Engaged!
(Insert the party confetti emoji here.) It’s okay to admit that you want anyone and everyone to treat you like the true inner queen that you are as you walk left hand first everywhere you go. It’s also no secret that, after you get engaged, people will start coming out of the wood-works to congratulate you. They’ll want to ‘catch up’ due to their nosey nature and desperate attempt to score an invite to the wedding. (because who doesn’t want wedding cake?)
I’ll be the first to tell you that drafting your wedding guest list can get out of hand very fast. You have family, you have friends, and your parents have friends. You all start making a list of everyone you know. But soon you’re staring at an Excel document with 500 names on it while your budget allows for 200 in attendance.
People come in and out of your life for the different seasons that you go through. So why do we hold on to their name if they’re going and gone? I think there’s something important for couples and their families to realize. It’s okay to not invite every single person you’ve had an association with in your life.
So how can you build your wedding guest list stress free? I’ve got a few questions for you!
Start with a spreadsheet.
When you’re starting your wedding guest list, a really good way to organize it is to have spreadsheets within the same workbook titled ‘We Must Invite’, ‘We Should Invite’, and ‘We Want to Invite’. Not only does this help you to organize the people on your list better, but it also acts as a way to make sure that you remain in your budgeted amount of guests while inviting those most important first. Add the guests from your ‘Must Invite’ sheet to your main guest list sheet first, and then add from the ‘Should Invite’ and ‘Want to Invite’ as you have room within your budget.
Are you related?
If you are related, how distantly are you related? If you have a big family like myself, you may want to think about whether or not it would create some drama if they were not invited. Inviting one person and not another can be a sore spot for some people. (No matter if they were really going to attend the wedding or not!) While I am the first to tell brides to do what they want, it’s a matter of principle to a lot of people when it comes to wedding invitations. There are plenty of invitations that I sent anyways, knowing that they were not going to attend, just so they knew I thought of them and cared about them.
Would they make the wedding more fun if they came?
If you answered ‘Yes’, I think it’s safe to say that you would want to invite them to your wedding! Weddings are the most fun when you have a lot of fun people gathered in the same place. There’s nothing better than having a full dance floor of happy, laughing, or maybe slightly intoxicated people having a good time.
If you answered ‘No’, you might think there’d be drama with or without them being invited or in attendance. You may want to think if you want the extra stress of having them involved in your big day. In the end, I am a believer that you need to do what’s best for you. No one should have to deal with family drama on their wedding day. Your wedding day is about you and your significant other, not Aunt Sue’s jealousy issues about Aunt Jennifer! (Spoiler Alert: They’ll get over it eventually!)
If you aren’t related to the person, do you go to school or work with them?
If you answered ‘Yes’, do you spend time with them outside of work or school? Why not? If it’s something other than because you’re always at work or school, you may want to think twice about inviting that person. While you see them everyday and make small talk at lunch or in between classes, your friendship may not be more than the surface-level.
Did they invite you to their wedding? I’d consider inviting them to yours as well if you are still friends or just as close. If they didn’t invite you to their wedding and your relationship hasn’t gotten any closer since then, it’s a safe bet that they may not miss your invitation.
If you don’t go to work or school with them, have you spoken to them in the past year?
Hey, I get it. When you get married, you may want to invite some of your old high school or college friends that you use to have great relationships with. But this is the big question for a lot of those names that you can’t decide on. Let’s face it, lives move on and get busy. Eventually you lose touch with a lot of those people. It’s not always a bad thing. Life leads us all in different directions based on what God has planned for you in that moment. People are meant for different seasons of your life.
If you haven’t spoken to them in the past year, there are chances that you may have grown a part. It’s probably a safe bet that they won’t miss your invite if you don’t invite them to your wedding. I am guilty when it comes to sucking at initiating conversations with friends, but I at least try to send little things here and there to ask how they are doing and let them know I was thinking of them.
Are you interested in rekindling your friendship?
When I was planning my wedding I sporadically reached out to some friends that I had that were some of my best friends at points in my life. However, if they didn’t seem like they cared to invest in catching up or conversation, I moved on and crossed them off my list. Now I’ll admit, it may sound a little harsh (and y’all it did really suck emotionally.) However, when it comes to your wedding, you really only want to surround yourself with the people that are worth it and truly care about you.
Whatever you do, don’t beat yourself up about your guest list.
When it comes to choosing people to invite to your wedding, you shouldn’t feel bad about your decisions. This is an exciting time in your life! You’re not allowed to be sad. You don’t have the budget to invite the whole world. (That’d be way more expensive than anyone would want to deal with!) Don’t be upset if you don’t invite someone because it simply didn’t work with your budget. Chances are you won’t be invited to a number of weddings either. It’s just the way it goes. In the end they’ll either understand or get over it!