If you don’t fall into the category of a bride who either: a.) unlimited reception space or unlimited budget, or b.) gets to make 100% of the wedding decisions on her own, you’ll probably have to deal with setting a limit to your guest list. No matter how you slice it, the guest list can be difficult to create. In a perfect world you would the Bride and Groom should be able to decide. But you’ll most likely find that all kinds of folks want to chime in on this decision. Moms, Dads, Grandparents, Bridesmaids…they all may want to give opinions. Here’s my advice – you and the Groom decide how many people you want to invite (and my experience is that in general, about 80% of guests will attend). Deduct that number of guests from your overall limit and allocate the difference in equal numbers of spots to your family and to his family. And one other thing – you and the Groom absolutely DO get to decide and dictate if you would like children to attend. Make sure you inform the families of this tiny, but extremely important detail.
So for example, if you want/can afford to have 150 guests, you can invite about 190 people (That’s people, not couples – remember to include plus ones and spouses!). So let’s say you and the Groom list out your absolute must-have guests and you come up with 150 people. Then, you can tell your family and his family they both have 45 spots to fill with whoever they would like to invite. This helps reduce the emotional side of things – it’s about numbers. (And not about the fact that you really don’t think your Mom’s hairdresser counts as important enough to be invited. Or that your Groom’s father wants to invite his entire office staff. It’s simply a numeric equation.) Plus, it gives your families a feeling of being part of the decision-making process – they choose whoever they would like to fill their allocated spots. See how much power and control they have?! You can share the list you and the Groom have already created to avoid overlapping…but honestly, I wouldn’t. I would just let there be some overlapping and then you can invite more people to make up for it or just have fewer guests. Hopefully, this little tip will save lots headaches!