Putting together our wedding guest list has been one of the hardest parts of my wedding journey so far. The challenge is that the guest list is completely tied to the size of wedding that you want to have, which is generally tied to your budget. On the one hand, I really wanted to invite all of our family to the wedding, including aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. The problem is though, that once you hit a certain level of extended family, your whole list can start to grow exponentially.
At first, I imagined a wedding that was almost like a family reunion, with all of those extended family members in attendance who I love so much, but who I don’t often get to see. It got me thinking about how much I’d like to spend some quality time with those people when I do see them, and that I actually won’t be able to do that at my wedding. I’ll be busy and it probably wouldn’t even be very personal when I do see these special people…just a hello, hug, and photo with most. That made me a bit sad to think about.
Then I started to feel that having too many people at my wedding would make the event feel impersonal and take me from the intimate sized wedding I’d first envisioned into quite a large group. I didn’t like that idea. I want to have enough one on one time with our guests, and feel like seeing everyone is completely manageable, not a big daunting task that I’ll never complete. I started feeling like sticking with a shorter guest list was the way to go. Maybe we’ll have a different family reunion down the road, since my sister also recently got married and had a tiny wedding.
Budget was, of course, a concern. Working in the bridal boutique, I always try to encourage brides to be level headed about their budgets. When I was thinking about expanding my own guest list, I realized that I was becoming extravagant and maybe a bit unrealistic about my own bridal budget. The last thing that I want to be is a hypocrite! Being luxurious while still being budget conscious is a big part of my philosophy at Second Dance, and I want to be in line with that.
When thinking about my extended family, I realized that the same thing can happen with friends, co-workers, etc. Where do you draw the line? There are always the people who you’re clearly going to invite; the people that you’re genuinely close with and see regularly. Start with those people, write down those names…that’s your core.
When you start to reach outside of your core, your guest list will probably start to expand in circles. Maybe your core is just your immediate family and very closest friends. In the next circle, maybe you include your very closest co-workers, or the individual extended family members that you have the closest connection with. Give some rhyme and reason to it so that you don’t end up feeling obligated to invite larger groups of people that you didn’t really plan on, simply because of the domino effect.
Also, I don’t think that you have to worry so much about how many people you’re inviting from each of your “sides” and that those two “sides” need to be even. In today’s day and age, I don’t think that’s important. Some people have big families, some people have small families, but in the end, they’re all going to be both of your People.
Settling on my guest list was really hard. To any of my family and friends who I’m not able to invite to my wedding, I know that you’ll understand. I love you very much and I hope to connect with you in other ways soon. XOXO