Post # 1
Okay so I’ve just started REALLY pulling together ALL of the people on our guest list. I actuall put them in excel and am making sure I know exact names and number of children. Okay seriously.. we knew with the size of family I have and the social circle FI ahs that we would be in 300’s. But seriously… I just sumed it up and we’ve hit 460 total. OMG. And everyone lives around here. No one will be doing much traveling. How do you cut the list down? What type of system did you use to slim down your list? Or have any of you had a wedding this size? What should I expect?? Any advice is great. Just in general with this many people…
Post # 3
Are these regular friends/family and not just random acquaintances you talk to once every 5 yrs? Go down the list and see whom you cannot imagine the day without. Cut people you don’t socialize with regularly, even if that includes family you are not close to.
Some people like the idea of large weddings and want to invite everyone they have ever met their entire lives and others only want those they know and are closest to. Neither is right or wrong but be aware that the higher the guestlist, the higher the cost will be. Weddings by nature are 10x the cost of a regular party, regardless of the guestcount. The first question you have to ask yourself is what you can reasonably afford without going into debt or borrowing from someone else. Then decide on your guest list based on what you can afford.
Post # 4
Well here’s what we did, not sure if it would help you…
I have a HUGE extended family, I work in the industry, I have very large social circles. My fiance is really low key but knows everyone (it’s insane) so if left to our own, we’d have something like you did. (My cousin had a destination wedding and had 250 guests, 15 were her fiances).
Ok, so first thing we decided is it had to be small. I found the venue I loved and booked the smallest room I could-seats 120 with our band. This FORCED us to make the decision to cut the list. Otherwise, there would be people in the hallway.
So, we then made a list of everyone we had to have. Deducted children (our event is just not kid friendly). That helped us get a starting count. Then we eliminated guests for anyone not married or engaged. We decided if we hadn’t spoken to you in the last 2 years and you didn’t know our complete names you were considered an aquaintence, not a must have. Then we just had a very candid conversation. Our venue charges $179 a person. If we would have a problem normally paying that to have dinner with you, you didn’t make the list. It sounds silly, but for us it worked.
Good luck. It’s hard. If we would’ve booked the bigger ballroom, I can only imagine.
Post # 5
Wow! I would definitely opt to cut the guest list. I think once the reality of the cost per person (meals, drinks, tables, chairs, centerpieces, favors, etc.) hits you, you’ll be in favor of that option, too 🙂
We had 75 people attend ours, and only invited 100, so maybe I’m not much help 🙂 BUT, I would suggest just cutting people you honestly don’t keep in touch with, and who your parents don’t really see that often. Usually your gut leads you in the right direction when it comes to this.
Post # 6
Start by looking at each guest and ask the following questions:
1) Do each of you know them?
2) When is the last time you have seen them?
This can be a start on determing guests who are important to both you and your FI and those that you see often. If you haven’t seen someone in 5yrs then I doubt they will be insulted if they didn’t make the guest list. When we first got engaged and made tentative lists, my mother’s list alone was 300+. So I went through it and made sure my FI and I knew everyone on that list. We sent out invites last night and have 265 guest invited and that includes our list and both of our parents lists.
Post # 7
It’s so hard! One thing that helped us was going through and highlighting the people who HAD to be there. We considered that our initial count. Then we started figuring out who of the remaining people we could add. It helped me to feel like I was adding people rather than cutting them.
Post # 8
Um, to answer your question, yes you are crazy. A nutcase! 😉
If you can pull that off though, without breaking the bank and making an event of it? I will send you a trophy and a virtual pat on the back.
Post # 9
Wow. I think you’ve received some really good advice. We had a rule where we couldn’t invite anyone we hadn’t talked to w/in the last year nor anyone the other person hadn’t met (excluding a few special circumstances where close friends lived far away, etc.). Can you trim in down based on rules like that? I didn’t want anyone at our wedding didn’t know us/that I didn’t talk to regularly, etc. We ended up with about 140, which was a little over what I wanted. Obviously, people have drastically different preferences with respect to this (and large families certainly complicate things). However, excluding obligatory family invites, are you or your FI actually close to all of these people?
Good luck!! 🙂
Post # 10
yes but to make you feel better, my God sister has 900 people at her wedding. 🙂 The buffet line was a madhouse.
Post # 11
@aubergold – did your godsister enter that in the guiness book of world records?!? Wow! That must have been some dance party 🙂
Post # 12
Dont’ feel bad, we had 700! And it actually went really smoothly and was a giant awesome party 🙂
Post # 13
@ Aubergold: if I’d been drinking tea I’d have spluttered all over the keyboard. 900!!! How the hell did that happen?
OP- I think Meghan V’s idea is a good one, and puts a more positive spin on what can feel like a very mercenary exercise. We had intended to have about 120, but we got a Saturday so our venue has a 150 minimum. Just have to work with it!
Post # 14
I think you should really start with sitting down with FI and answering a few questions.
1) Do you have the budget to feed 350-400 people?
2) Do you WANT that many people at your wedding? The more people at the wedding, the more people to greet. Although, the more gifts. Hmm. Maybe I should have invited more people… 😉 just kidding…
3) What is the availability of venues that will hold that many people in your area? I live in a metropolitan area, but once you get over 350, there are like, 2 places left that you can get married at. That could help you limit the list.
However, although you say your guest list is fairly local, keep in mind that not everyone will come to your wedding. The majority of our “no’s” are from people who live locally.
Also, maybe go through your “friends” list and check to see how many of them you and FI REALLY have kept up with. FI wanted to invite, I kid you not, 25-30 people who he had not spoken with in the previous YEAR. Never hung out with. Maybe they were Facebook friends, I don’t know. Or old frat buddies. Either way, we finally made a rule that if you haven’t spoken to them in the last year, they aren’t invited to the wedding. Trust me, you won’t miss them at your wedding, and they probably won’t be upset if you don’t invite them.
Oh, and maybe go through and eliminate any people you put on the list “just to be nice” or “because we invited everyone else from work” or “because they invited us to their wedding 4 years ago.” If they’re not currently in your life, and they’re not a relative, then maybe they can be cut from the list.
Other then that, good luck! I definitely don’t think you’re crazy but I hope you have a very large piggy bank! 🙂
Post # 15
As far as friends, I would go with people you are *close* with – not just know their names – and who you see regularly (even if it’s once a year, if you see them every year and they are important to you, invite them). Don’t invite anyone that you feel “obligated” to invite. You should be thrilled to see everyone who is coming. Don’t let people bring “a guest” – they can only bring someone if they are married, engaged or otherwise in a serious relationship. You are paying for a stranger to eat. Most people will know at least 1 or 2 other people at a wedding, so just seat them all together.
Another suggestion is to do the A and B list method. Put family and the most important friends in one column, and everyone else in another. Send out A list invites a tad earlier than you would normally do it. When people start sending in declines, start sending out more invites. That way you can mange the outflow and the incoming.
Remember, just because you know a lot of people does not mean they have to come to your wedding. Who do you see yourself knowing in 10 or 15 years? Who are the really important people who deserve to witness your marriage? Who will support you? Hopefully those questions will help.
Post # 16
Our list was 486 people and we got it down to 263. We just went through and marked who we HAD to have at our wedding. Went through the family list 1st, and decided to only invite 1st cousins, etc…no 2nd cousins, which was hard, especially for me since my family is so close. Then went through our friends list and invited only those who we keep in contact regularly or have seen physically in the last 1-2 years. This really helped us…we approached it, family first, friends 2nd. And our venue only holds 250 people, so I think 263 is okay, since our wedding is on a Friday and some will have to travel.