It’s the first step in wedding planning and perhaps the hardest. Here are the guidelines to live by to make creating your wedding guest list simple and stress-free.
Tradition is that a guest list is split into three parts: guests of the bride’s parents, guests of the groom’s parents, and guests of the couple. However, your wedding is about you and your fiancé, and guests should reflect that. A good rule of thumb is to first fill your guest list with people you can’t picture your day without: best friends, family, and so forth. They should be people you’ve seen within the past year, or the sort of people who you’d call with big life news or for advice. This preliminary list doesn’t need to necessarily be a perfect split of bride’s and groom’s guests — it should simply be a group of people that are valued and wanted. From there, fill your guest list with others like family friends, extended family, neighbors, childhood friends, parents’ friends, or coworkers.
All-adult weddings are becoming more common, but old-fashioned people may find them tasteless. It’s quite tricky to navigate the guest list if you are planning an all-adult wedding, as tight-knit families may take the decision personally. While the decision of which children to invite is fully yours, the most tactful approach is simply to address the invite to only the adults, then mention in follow-up information that you’d be happy to help any out-of-town guests find a babysitter for the evening. Some couples even choose to have a kids-only room at their reception with a babysitter, so that children can feel like they’re a part of the big day.
Make clear whether your guest can bring a plus one by addressing the envelope only to them or by adding “and Guest.” If you have the means to do so, giving guests who are single, and perhaps might not know anyone else at the wedding, the opportunity to bring a guest is a very thoughtful gesture. Though, if you’re tight on the guest list, simply inviting them without a plus one is appropriate, too.
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