Whatever your priority, sit down with your loved one and find out what you want from the day and how many people to invite each time. Don’t forget to think about whether or not to include children, how many friends your parents would like to invite, and what your policies are and which ones apply to individual guests.
“When you make rules, stick to them,” advises Otter. “If you want to create a rule, apply it to everyone.”
Once you’ve made an initial list and the number is bigger than you thought, it is worth deciding who is a must-have and who could be left out if they had to. If you can’t afford to care for hundreds of people, your best bet now is to be realistic.
“Be strict and have an A-list and a B-list,” says Cooper. “Every case is different, but you want the people there who you really, really want and who fit your budget. You don’t need a wedding for 300 people. “
At this point, you can judge whether you are going to invite some for a full shebang while others are on the “evening only” list.
“Personally, I’d say if your budget allows, invite them all day,” says Otter. “From a guest’s point of view, it’s still a day for him, he may have to buy a new outfit, he needs to get a hotel room, he has to buy a gift. So if you’re doing an evening part, think about how you will welcome these guests and what extra you will do for them. “
Create a table of joy
Once you’ve agreed on a final number of employees, it’s time for a table of joy to keep an eye on your guests. This is useful when writing, addressing, and sending your invitations to keep track of RSVPs and will come in handy later when sending thank you letters for wedding favors.
For each guest, add columns for the following (plus whatever else you think might be useful):
- Title (as you address them on the invitations)
- First names
- The number of guests for the invitation (this could be a family of four or a couple, for example)
- Phone number
- Probability of participation
- Actually yes or no
- Dietary requirements
Accept a slight drop-off rate based on your knowledge of the invitees, but unless they have bigger plans most will want to attend.
You can then use that number to make a decision about the venue, catering, and any extras you want to provide to your guests.
This is also a good time to start thinking about who you would like to take on in the important roles of the best man, ushers, and bridesmaids. You probably already have a good idea, but it’s worth having another one to think about who not only means a lot to you, but who has the time and skills to organize stag and hen parties for the day itself and in case of the best man and give a good speech.
There is a lot of fun to be had in the run-up to the wedding day. So make sure you have your best and most loyal friends around you.
Set a budget
Talking about money is awkward, but you have to get used to it. You need to talk to suppliers, venues, your partner, and your families about budgets so that you are clear about this.
You may already know that your parents or your partner’s parents are responsible for the majority or all of the costs of your wedding. It is traditional for the bride’s parents to pay, but that is no longer a given.
If you are not sure whether you want to or can make a contribution, it is worthwhile to have an interview early on. Approach them with the assumption that they cannot and you will rule out the possibility of them feeling pressured and disappointed.