The Wedding Guest List

By Evan Kanarakis

Ask a married couple about the most challenging aspect of their wedding planning. Chances are, a few will roll their eyes in the pained memory of trying to decide upon a guest list.

As one groom explained to me, “It’s perhaps the hardest part of the wedding that no one remembered to tell you about.”

It’s a shame, really, because the task of choosing the people you’d like to share your big day should be fun and meaningful. After all, these are the friends and family members that you’d like to bear witness to one of the most important moments in your life.

Sadly, it doesn’t always work that way, and the entire process from choosing invitees through to the handling of RSVPs (and, potentially, “second round” invitations after that) can become a cause of stress and even conflict.

But keeping the following three considerations in mind may just make an admittedly difficult task that much easier.

First and foremost, remember the wedding is about the bride and groom. Couples frequently fall to the pressure of inviting people out of a sense of obligation or guilt, or for fear of offending anyone.

You’re not out to hurt people’s feelings, but for every distant relative (once removed) or colleague from work that you’re compelled to invite, keep in mind that they’re likely taking the place at the wedding of someone else with whom you have a far more meaningful, active relationship.

Second, keep in mind the scale of your wedding. What type of wedding are you having? Will it be small and intimate or something larger? What is your budget? Can you only accommodate a few close friends and family members, or can you extend invitations further?

Whatever the decision, be sure to stay true to what you as a couple want most and to what you can afford. Letting the budget speak for you can often make the task of culling a guest list much easier and spare you from unnecessary added financial headaches later on down the track.

Third, accept reality. Put simply, you can’t invite everyone to your wedding. Choose your guest list fairly between the bride and groom, but, if truly necessary, accept that there may have to be some compromises made for the sake of ‘keeping the peace’ among family and friends.

At the end of the day, however, individuals who do end up feeling slighted are often not being honest about just how much they are an active part of a couple’s lives.

Weddings are expensive, limited-capacity affairs. People need to be reasonable and understand that not everyone can be invited to a wedding; they need to deal with it and move on.

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