The months or so of planning your wedding are filled with a hundred decisions. You’ll hem and haw over venue, date, dress, bridal party outfits (if you’re having one), cake, dinner, the list goes on and on as you know! More and more couples are catering their wedding to fit what THEY want, and what looks and feels like them. This is one thing that I LOVE watching my couples do. I’m a whole hearted believer in having a special day that truly reflects your relationship and what you want in your marriage. Whether that’s a large wedding filled with everyone you know, or a small intimate gathering with just the “bests”, or simply just you two – it is SO important to go with your gut! One of the biggest issues I have seen my couples struggle over is the guest list. No matter what type of wedding you want, deciding who gets to be invited can be stressful for everyone involved. We all know that mom that will want all her walking ladies to come or insists your second cousin once removed just HAS to be there no matter the fact that you’ve only met him once. Here are 4 ideas to help you narrow it down (and stick up for yourself) when consulting your crew about your wedding guest list.
1. The number one thing you should think about when deciding who to invite to your big day is, and let’s channel our inner Marie Kondo here, does this guest spark joy?! This is THE biggest and happiest day of your life. You want people there that have been nothing but supportive of you, whether that includes the entirety of your life, like good family friends, or a mentor you have had at work. Timing doesn’t matter here, its not how long you’ve known them, but the value that they have added to you and your soon to be spouse’s life. When you sit down and really think about this person or group of people, think about what your life would be like if they weren’t in it, even at some point in time. If you believe they have impacted your life for the better, it is probably a safe bet that you will want them there cheering for you guys on your special day!
2. You might be thinking – “But I have a million of those people and I can’t invite them all!” Totally! When you add the family friends and the mentors, and every one in your life that has impacted you for the better, there’s a chance your list might get quite long. Although it’s a good start, you might need to enter a little more of a vetting process. Here’s where you think about who will add to your wedding day experience and not create more stress than necessary. Even though you might have that mentor from childhood who, yes, impacted your life for the better, he or she might not be the best fit for your wedding day. Whether they are known to create a disrupt or have the desire to be the center of attention, this might be one occasion where it’s ok to leave them out of. You need to do what is best for YOU, not them, when thinking about this special day.
3. Speaking of doing what is best for you – how do you say no to your parents’ desired guest list?! This is often a tricky spot for many couples, especially if their parents are helping out with the costs- but it’s an important one. This starts with good communication. Communicating to your parents (or whoever is going awol with the guest list) about your desires for what you want your day to look like is key. If you’re wanting a smaller day, be clear that it is to no offense to your mom’s bridge group, but you’re really wanting people present on your day who have been a support and love to your relationship. Give examples of why this might be the case for you, and be clear what your intentions are for the day. This is where you use your discretion of when it might be time to let a few slide by and when to be strict but mostly remember that this is YOUR day- not theirs- and you deserve to have whoever there that you want (or don’t want for that matter)!
4. Children! This is another stressing point for many couples. Do you invite the kiddos?! Do you not?! This comes down to a many different factors – venue, number of guests, travel involved, vibe of your wedding, etc etc,. For some, this might be a no brainer to have kids and for others, this might be a no brainer to not! It’s a personal decision that only you can decide. Here are a few factors to consider. Most likely if your guests have kids, they will have to pay for a babysitter if you decide to have a no children policy. This is not a good or bad thing, but know that it will cost more for your guests to attend, and for some, make it more difficult to come. However by including children you are opening up your day to crying babies during the ceremony and potentially distracted guests or guests who have to leave early to get the kiddos to bed. This might be a bummer if they are some of your best friends that are leaving your day early. On the other hand, kids add an element of fun and entertainment to the day that just can’t be replicated. I have known a few couples to keep the kids minimal by having a no kid policy except for family. That way your nieces and nephews, or other kids you are close to, can be there on your day without involving the masses. Just know, most people tend to respect your desires for your day, so while accommodating your guests’ needs is important, it is also important to stick to what you want for your day!
The most important thing to remember when making your guest list is to make sure they are people YOU want. You hope for good energy and vibes on your day, so remember that you are in control of that! Listen to your gut, your wants, and desires and I promise you will have the BEST day surrounded by your best people.