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Tips for managing a guest list

1. Choose the best tool!!!

What are you most comfortable with: A an event guest spread sheet on excel or a note pad and pen? Either way, you’ll want to consider the pros and cons of each option.

2. Identify decision-makers.

Ultimately it’s up to you. But if there are other parties helping to pay for the celebration (parents, grandparents, close friends), it’s considered polite to include them in the process. Wondering how to divide up your valuable guest list real estate

3. Discuss your event day goals.

What kind of event do you envision? Do you imagine an intimate occasion with only your nearest and dearest by your side? Do you imagine dancing the night away surrounded by a few hundred loved ones? Perhaps you’ve always loved the idea of throwing the party of the century with your family, friends, and maybe even friends of friends (the more the merrier, after all).

4. Determine your VIPs.

Ask yourselves: Who are the “must-haves?” It’s likely that cuts will have to be made toward the end of the guest list management process, but your VIPs will never be on the chopping block. Hint: Start with your bridal party then move on to your closest family members. Go with your gut - if you even have to question whether or not they’re on the VIP list, they’re not going to make the cut this round.

5. Brainstorm a master list.

Once you’ve determined who’s on the VIP list, make a master list of all the guests you’d like to have. The sky’s the limit! Think of it as a brainstorming session for your guest list. 6. Figure out if “plus ones” are allowed.

While it’s traditionally been a given to offer guests a plus one, it’s becoming more common for couples to turn away from this tried-and-true rule. Afraid to break convention? Keep in mind that once you open the doors to a plus one, it’s generally considered rude to cherry-pick who brings who. If your brother can bring his wife of 10 years, then your friend can bring their flavor of the week fling. Ask yourself: Do you really want to look at your pictures and see a room full of strangers? Hint: Take each individual’s perspective into account. For example, you may have a friend who is single traveling from across the country. If he or she has their own relationships with other people in attendance (old classmates, coworkers, or neighbors), they’ll be good on their own. Just remember to seat them with other singles and/or people they’re comfortable with.

8. Consider an adults-only event.

Inviting children can increase the guest count, but it’s important to ask yourself if you’re allowing kids to satisfy your loved ones or if you actually want them to be present during your event. If you decide to have an adults-only party and stick to your guns, this can keep your guest list numbers a little lower overall. Hint: Wondering what to do with teenagers? Use the law as your ruler - 18 and over is legally considered an adult. This also means it’s considered polite to mail them their own personally addressed invitation, even if they live with their parents still. 9. Always fall back on your wedding budget.

Long guest lists tend to make for expensive parties. While it would be nice to invite all of your co-workers and your friend’s friends, most couples simply can’t afford to have every person in their lives attend their party. Keep in mind that every person that you add to the guest list is another mouth to feed and, at the end of the day, your happiness and wellbeing is all that people should want for you and your beloved.

10. Administer the Twelve Month Test.

Get everyone’s lists together and ask them to put one checkmark next to the name of any person they haven’t physically spent time with in the past twelve months. If they have to think too hard, chances are they didn’t. Next, tell them to put another checkmark next to the name of anyone they don’t plan to see within the next twelve months. Any name with two checkmarks gets moved to the next step.

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