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3 Stress-Free Tips for Trimming the Wedding Guest List

3 Stress-Free Tips for Trimming the Wedding Guest List

There are several themes that we seem to revisit here on the House Party blog. For instance, we've written about vacation planning, easy family meals, helpful technology, gift ideas and that's only a few! One topic, however, that has had even deeper significance to us individually and as a team are some of the wedding posts that we've written about in the past. After all, who doesn't enjoy a love story? (Particularly, for us, ones about people with whom you work day-in and day-out!) Love has blossomed, plans have been made, engagements entered, wedding bells rung, honeymoons enjoyed and so we thought it a perfect opportunity to spend more time on weddings. But this time we wanted to do it with a twist: we've never covered the often complicated and anxiety-ridden process of the Guest List. To help us out with this, our friends at Shutterfly have thoughtfully made their "Making the Cut" Wedding Guest Guide available to us to, in turn, pass along to you! Their expertise on ways to plan, capture and relive life's milestone's is well-established and for anyone out there planning a wedding, they've got just the Guest List guide you'll need to feel prepared for the big day!

"Take Breaks to Manage Stress: "If you get stressed, take a breath and walk away from it for a few days. Come back with a clear mind. And if you're planning something you're both not super excited about or that seems overwhelming, take it back to the drawing board. It's about enjoying this moment as a couple-not everyone else." - Hunter McRae (Wedding Photographer, Hunter McRae Photography)

Before we embark on these tips, those are some wise words to keep in mind. After all, remember what this is all really about and the memories that it will create for you and your spouse-to-be - it's not simply the memories on that special day, but the ones you'll remember about the fun and challenges of the planning, too. (And the Guest List can be as challenging a component of planning as any!)

wedding guest list

Tip #1: Give Yourself Plenty of Time

Like most things in life, the Guest List will take longer than you anticipate. Best to always leave yourself too much time as opposed to too little. It may sound like something that you and your soon-to-be-spouse will be able to sit down and churn through in a deliberately-spent weekend. Just because you're deeply in-love, doesn't mean you're deeply in-sync about whether Great Aunt Wilma and her entire branch of the family tree should be invited (or, that your fiance(e) is even aware of Great Aunt Wilma in the first place yet...queue the drawn-out wedding guest list debate!)

"Starting early is key. Our best advice is to create a master list and be very adamant about keeping it up to date. We instruct clients that need to narrow down their list to divide their list into tiers to decide who stays and who goes." - Tara Guerard (Wedding Planner, Tara Guerard Soiree)

wedding guest list

Tip #2: The Times They Are A-Changin'

The days where you'd invite your entire living family have thankfully evolved. With the somewhat absurd costs of weddings these days, it's not simply contemporary and chic to scale-down the wedding guest list, but to most of us it's imperative in order to not start off a marriage in serious debt for your special day. Weddings are becoming more intimate affairs, allowing the bride and groom more time to actually greet and interact with their guests instead of presiding over the gathered masses. As is mentioned in the Shutterfly Wedding Guest Guide...

"Although the mother of the bride often managed the guest list in the old days, now it's a much more collaborative effort."- Tara Guerard (Wedding Planner, Tara Guerard Soiree)

So, be sure to set expectations well in advance for your and your partner, that this list creation and culling is a shared effort and therefore one that you both can be happy with and proud of when you've reached a final decision and on your wedding day.

wedding guest list

Tip #3: Let Your Rules Back You Up

Creating the wedding guest list is not easy, but it also doesn't need to be painful. While much of wedding planning can begin to snowball (number of vendors, cost of selections, guest counts, you name it), a smart way to ensure that you and your partner don't fall victim to the goading of vendors or influence of family members is to have a figure in mind from the get-go. Do a bit of brief research on wedding costs (nationally and in your area) and begin to get an idea of the per-head cost you'll be looking at. This can help you determine what a good number is that you can stick to and within which you, your partner and families can adjust. If that number is 100: great! If that number is 25: great! If that number is 1,000: Um, great...but wow! (What is this? Woodstock?!)

"Stick to your number: The best way to keep the list from growing is for the bride and groom to be hard and fast on a number from the very beginning and stick to it. They can give each set of parents an allotment of invites, and manage that specific number." - Lisa Thomas (Wedding Planner, Ohh! Events)

These 3 tips are really only the "tip" of the iceberg, too. Shutterfly has arranged a wonderful grouping of tips, expert quotes and real-world examples of couples from all sorts of different backgrounds and wedding preferences to help you shape your wedding guest list in the coming months before your wedding. Don't forget to visit Shutterfly's "Making the Cut" Wedding Guest Guide in order to see all these great nuggets of wedding knowledge! And when you've gotten past the hurdle of your wedding guest list, be sure to check out Shutterfly's selection of wedding invitations to finish-off the process with a beautiful touch.

Have you planned a wedding recently or just have some great tips of your own for managing the challenge of wedding guest list management? We'd love to hear them in the comments below!

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