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How to Organize Your Guest List

There are many wedding planning decisions that call for a couple to compromise. One of those decisions, that has the potential to cause problems, is the guest list.

It’s common to have trouble figuring out which group of people to invite (your family, your fiancé’s family, your parents’ friends and your work colleagues). The rule of thumb is that the people financing the wedding have a say in who attends. The other lists can be considered, but the wedding couple and those financing the wedding have deciding power.

The second thing people struggle with is how to limit the number of guests. The following steps can help you navigate this tricky process:

  1. Make a list of people you, your fiancé and those helping to finance the wedding would like to invite.
  2. Split the list into three sections:
    1. Must Invite – family, best friends, etc. (this may be a small list)
    2. Should Invite – these are friends, old family friends, etc.
    3. Could Invite – these are people you would like to invite (coworkers, etc.)
  3. Look at the numbers and compare it with your budget. If you’ve already selected your venue, also look at the space available.
  4. If you need to cut from the list, the “Could Invite” list is the first place to start.

This makes it easier to decide who to invite. You don’t have to invite everyone you know, though it is possible to invite a lot of people with a small budget wedding. You may have to decide whether to have a larger guest list or a more elaborate wedding.

The third aspect of managing the guest list is organizing the information and guest details. Make a spreadsheet with the guest names and add other helpful headings for the things you need to know. There should be headings like: Name (alphabetized by last name), Other Family Names (for children), Address, Phone, Invitation Sent, RSVP Received, Number of People Attending, Gift Given, Thank You Sent. Fill in each section as you receive information.

Another issue people face with the guest list is what to do with the people who do not respond by the RSVP date. Simply take those names and assign them to the person who originally wanted to invite them. Each of you can then send a final RSVP request without the task becoming overwhelming.

These steps can help alleviate some of the guest list stress and help keep you organized.

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