Tips for trimming your wedding guest list

Imagine getting a save-the-date card in the mail with the following questionnaire about the bride:

1) Name the city I’m living in now.

2) Name at least two of my closest friends.

3) Name my current employer and my past employer.

4) Do I have any kids?

5) Do you know the name of my fiancé? Bonus question: Where and when did we meet?

6) Do you know where my parents are and whether they are still alive?

7) Name at least two of my hobbies.

8) How old am I?

9) Where did I go to college?

10) Name my last boyfriend before this engagement. Bonus question: if you can name the last two and why we broke up. If you get the bonus question right, that might automatically get you in.

Audry Irvine claims that this is a tactic she’d love to use to weed out unwanted wedding guests. Anyone who answered less than half the questions right would not be invited to the wedding.

Humorous of not, you don’t really need a silly quiz like that to decide who to invite to your wedding.  Making a guest list should not be all that confusing or burdensome. Remember, it’s about having those near and dear to you share the most special day of your life! If they are NOT near or dear, don’t invite them! If you posses a little delicacy and common sense, you’ll do jut fine.  I’d suggest asking YOURSELF the following questions:

1. Who do I love the most? This one’s easy! If the thought of your old college roommate makes you smile, even if you haven’t spoken to her in years (and she may not know the name of your employer or your past boyfriends) invite her!

2. Who am I obligated to invite? This generally includes family members, even the ones you don’t know well or don’t really like.  And yes, you do have to invite your dad, even though he lives in Alaska and never even sends you a holiday card. That’s called RESPECT.

3. Talk to your parents about a few close friends they want to invite. (Key word is “few,” unless your parents are helping you pay for the wedding.) Even though it is your day, your parents are proud of you and what to share your big day with their closest friends too. This goes for in-laws’ friends as well. Unless you like being completely selfish, this is the right thing to do.

“Behind the Wedding Scenes” blog suggests removing entire categories to help keep the guests to a minimum. “Decide no kids, no work-related people, no relations beyond first cousins, no dates for singles, no redheads.”

If you find that even with all this trimming and cutting you still have too many people on your list, consider cutting something else. Maybe you can skip the wedding favors or reduce the amount of flowers. Use a DJ instead of hiring a band.  Search the web for many more ways to cut wedding costs and do-if-yourself options, and put the money saved toward expanding your guest list.

“Behind the Wedding Scenes” also suggest making it hard for a large number of people to attend:

  • Hold the wedding in the middle of the week.
  • Hold the wedding at a distant location.
  • Require formal attire or elaborate, expensive costumes.
  • Hold the wedding at an inconvenient time (6am).

And a little more helpful advice:

  • Send out the invitation six to eight weeks before the event. As you get negative responses, send out your “B list” invitations to people who didn’t make the cut. Stop sending invitations out a month before the wedding date; last-minute invitees will realize their status and be insulted.
  • Manage expectations among potential guests. Let it be known that you plan on a small wedding so that no one is really expecting to be invited. If an invitation arrives, the invitee will be deeply flattered, but those who are not invited will not be hurt–at least that’s the theory.
  • You are expected to include spouses, fiances or long-term live-in companions of your guests. If a guest is only casually dating, you are not obliged to extend an invitation to his date.
  • If you forget to invite someone, the next time you see them act annoyed with them for not sending back the RSVP card.

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