Typically, a guest list is shaped by the intended size of a wedding, which is ultimately up to those who are writing the checks. If you’ve always envisioned a smaller affair, surrounded by people you know and love, make sure to set these limits early on – it’s easy to get carried away in the excitement of wedding planning. When creating a wedding guest list, there are a couple rules of thumb. First, guests who are married or committed must be invited to the wedding together (not one without the other). Next, everyone actually in the wedding (the officiant, parents, and their significant others) make it on the guest list. But what if your initial list is way longer than you need it to be? We’ve got a few handy tips to help you narrow down your guest list.

Daniella and Mark 2

Photo by Angela Renee Photo

Kid limits: If you would like to have a completely child-free wedding, the first step is to encourage parents to find sitters. Never include “no children allowed” on the invitations. Simply list invited individuals on the outer envelope (do not add the child’s name on the envelope, or say “and family”). You could also call parents to notify them of your preference. Be diplomatic in explaining why you would not like children to attend and how this isn’t exclusive to just their children; it is a request that applies to everyone.

It is almost guaranteed that there will be some invited guests who do not agree with your request and might even try to boycott your wedding. Hold your ground! If you cave to one parent, it is likely that other parents will expect you to “make the exception” for their children as well. Now, if you do want some kids to attend and not others, there are ways to do this diplomatically. First, you could exclusively invite the children of immediate family (your kids, siblings, nieces and nephews). Otherwise, you could choose to include a few children in the wedding as a flower girl/ring bearer or junior bridesmaids/groomsmen.

Sean and Sun 3 (1)

Photo by Ha! Photography

Office limits: You definitely spend a lot of time with your coworkers and tend to get to know them personally. So, it can be hard to determine whether or not to invite them to the wedding. However, if mixing your personal and professional life together makes you uncomfortable, you do have options!

The easiest and most inoffensive way to go about it is an “everyone or no one” policy. That way, no one is insulted or feels left out. If your company is small, inviting everyone may be feasible. If your company is larger, inviting only your immediate team and supervisors may be more manageable.  Should you choose to only invite a few colleagues, make sure to be discrete. All invitations should be delivered by mail and should never be left open on desks. Make sure your office guests know that you are excluding the bulk of the office and that they should be discrete as well.

Amanda and Dan 5

Photo by Megan Saul Photography

Should you have a “B-List”? The way a B-list works is to first send invitations to the people you know you definitely want to invite. Then, if your RSVP’d guest count is low enough, you send additional invitations to those on your B-list. The challenge with this strategy is that the people who are on the B-list will most likely realize they are on the B-list (they may know someone on the A-list who received their invitation a while ago, or because they received their invitation a mere few weeks before the wedding). This may offend some people and could potentially cause a strain on your friendship. We feel that it is better to simply tell those who would be on the B-list that it is an intimate wedding and therefore you cannot invite everyone, rather than to invite them as an after thought.

Other ideas: A great rule of thumb is to ask yourself, “has this person ever met my significant other and has he/she impacted our relationship in some way?” If the answer is no, maybe he/she is a good person to remove from the list. You could also ask yourself if you’ve talked to him/her in the past year or two (and no, liking a photo on Facebook doesn’t count); if the answer is no, you should consider removing them from the list as well.

Just remember, don’t stress! Your wedding will be special no matter who is or isn’t there. If you liked this tip and are looking for some additional guidance on how to plan your wedding, shoot us an email (info@naturallyyoursevents.com)! We’ve got golden pointers that will help your wedding planning process become a breeze.