The Road to Mrs. – Tackling the Guest List

Triple B's resident bride-to-be Nicole tackles the dreaded guest list part of wedding planning.

With less than two months to go till my wedding I haven’t even mailed out invitations yet. However, I am already dealing with the headache that comes along with the dreaded guest list.

During the preplanning stage, Leonard and I decided to downsize our entire wedding, so our guest list went from 200 to 75. After Leonard officially proposed we went about creating our guest list. Since we were getting married in Los Angeles, as opposed to either of the cities we grew up in, we figured that alone would help with crowd control. I asked Leonard for his list and he gave me about 20 names. I, on the other hand, had more than three times that amount. Again, I knew many of those people wouldn’t come, but sending an invitation was expected. For instance, my grandmother insisted that I send invitations to her 9 siblings, the pastor of the church I grew up in, and her best friends from Ford, a company she retired from 10 years ago. I happily obliged.

Since we were working on a tight time schedule I had to hurry and get the guest list together so that the save-the-dates could go out as soon as possible. Once Leonard discovered my list he began making additions. Luckily, I’d ordered extra save the dates. When the time came to order the actually invitations, our guest list had swollen to 131. Again, since our wedding was out of town for most, we are estimating about a 50 percent attendance rate. However, it seems like that number keeps increasing daily.

When Leonard returned home from Texas, he added 6 more names to the list. Last week his sister added 2 more, and yesterday my grandmother requested I just send her 2 extra invitations that she could give out to anyone she may have forgotten. While I’m all for inviting people who love us to our wedding, for planning and budgeting reasons I really need this number to stop growing. Right now I’m estimating anywhere between 60 and 100 people at my wedding. Those of you who’ve planned or are currently planning understand that that’s a huge difference which affects everything from decorations, rentals, food and alcohol.

Next week invitations go out, thankfully. And I’m hoping to be able to narrow down that number. In the meantime, I’ve explained to everyone involved that the guest list is now closed and we are no longer in that phase of the planning process. I’ve arrangement our current list into 3 categories, “definitely coming”, “definitely not coming” and “I have no clue.” Major decisions are pretty much on hold until RSVPs start coming in. I’ve already enlisted my cousin and bridesmaid Jana to be the guest list enforcer. Didn’t send in your RSVP by the requested time? Expect a call from Jana. In the meantime, I’m just going to pray that we don’t exceed the capacity of the venue and totally blow the budget.

Do you have any wedding guest list tips for Nicole? Share below in the comments.

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  1. Avatar Aunt Zee says:

    Best wishes in keeping your guest list in check. This is, indeed, one of the most precarious aspects of the wedding planning process. Glad to hear you have enforcers who will “police” the RSVPs. Just keep smiling and keep the faith!

  2. Bridgette Bridgette says:

    Aunt Zee, I totally agree with your comment! Nicole, you are wise to have delegated the policing of the RSVPs with a member of your bridal party. In hindsight, I wish I had done the same. One tip I have for you is to remember that everyone who RSVPs yes will not attend. Trust me. Keep this in mind when giving your final counts to vendors. After you’ve given your final count to your caterer/venue, you can certainly go up (within reason) but likely not down. A reputable caterer will always have extra food and gladly charge you for it post-wedding but they dang sure aren’t giving you a refund for Cousin TiTi’s uneaten dinner.

  3. Avatar Heather W. says:

    I agree with you, Bridgette, 100% re: it being easier to increase numbers than decrease once you’ve submitted your count to the caterer, etc. Nicole, I’m sure Jana will do a fantastic job policing the list … and serving as wedding day security! Lol. Can’t wait to get my invitation.

  4. Love Grandma’s gesture, she may realize she has forgotten someone and need a couple more invitations LOL!
    Stay calm, Everything is going to work out find. Having your family and friends with you on your wedding day to celebrate your union will be worth it all.

  5. Avatar SpikesDtr says:

    Good luck on getting our folks to RSVP! For some reason we don’t embrace the importance of timely response. Progress soon come, God willing.

  6. Avatar Donna Fields says:

    I’ve already told you….I’ll be at the door with a clipboard. Not on the list? Don’t get in!!!! Sorry

  7. Avatar S.Bouie says:

    We are gathering addresses and sending out Save the dates this weekend ugh this guest list is stressful! We could not afford to invite the 300 ppl invited to the wedding to the reception at the hotel BUT we decided to do a minor “repass” in the fellowship hall at the church with the gifts/card table with refreshments and meet and greet/photo ops with the bride and groom so those who we couldn’t invite to the hotel can still be recognized

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