The A-List

A Professional Opinion On How To Create A Guest List

By: Keely Coxon

So, the day has come that you’ve decided to get married. You’re probably happy enough right now to seriously consider running to the top of Mount Olympus and start calling out to everyone, just to let them know how in love you are...right? That’s cool, but before you go heralding all of Utah to your ceremony, take a step back and read on, because there are a few things to keep in mind when deciding who to invite to your wedding… and who to not.
As young adults begin the transition to full adult life, and their friends and acquaintances start marrying off, negotiating the murky water of who got invited to whose wedding at some point along the road (and who didn’t) is virtually unavoidable. Such things as cost, venue size and the interaction between guests are all things that a bride and groom must keep in mind, so the “right” answer is often a hard to distinguish when it comes invitation time.
I enlisted Christine Miller, of LiBella Wedding Planning and Design, to help guide us through the confusing and often touchy subject of wedding invitations.
Christine’s first piece of advice is to start out with, and follow, a plan. Her suggested “plan” begins with deciding on a budget, as this will prove to be the single largest determinant in how many guests will even be able to attend. Think about it—your budget decides where your ceremony is held, the catering abilities and even the kind of “party favors” that your wedding party will receive. It will also make things less stressful down the line, as no one will end up with a ‘surprise’ bill, she adds.
Then, make both a “bride’s list” and a “groom’s list” of people that you a) need, b) should and c) would like to invite. Afterwards, compare the lists and come up with an agreement based on what’s on them, starting with the “needs” and “shoulds.” Christine also offers the suggestion that it is usually better to focus on inviting guests that will be part of your future as a couple, as opposed to inviting your group of elementary school cronies, who you haven’t talked to in 20 years and probably won’t send much more than a Christmas card to every year in the future.
Unless, of course, cost isn’t an issue whatsoever, and in that case, invite as many people as you’d both like to have (and that the reception center can hold). As this usually isn’t the case, however, you will probably have to cut some people off the list, which is the hardest part of doing invites, for both the couple and those who end up getting “cut.”
No one likes to feel left out. It’s basic human nature. It feels pretty bad to know that you’re the only one of, say, for the sake of example, your co-workers, that won’t be attending your boss’ wedding, or the only one of your book club members that won’t get to see the bride’s beautiful dress that she’s been gushing over for months. Since the guests can’t really do anything about this, it is up to the bride and groom to handle the matter tactfully and limit the “damage,” so to speak.
What is Christine’s best advice in this situation? Either be very upfront with everyone about who will be invited (this works best for small, closest-friends-and-family-only type ceremonies), or, in the event that you’re only inviting “select” co-workers or acquaintances, disperse invites subtly. A good way to do this is to send the paper invites to their home or mailing address, instead of handing them out elementary-school-Valentines-style around the office.
Then, ask them to keep mum on the event, so that everyone else doesn’t end up feeling left out. As we’re certainly not in elementary school anymore, it can be hoped that our social interaction skills and grace have managed to evolve as well. The point of an invitation is not to exclude people. After all, we can’t all be on the A-list.