To anyone planning a wedding, it quickly becomes clear that the more people you invite, the more money it’s going to cost you. For every invited guest, you’re adding additional costs which can quickly derail any wedding budget. Unfortunately many of your guests will just assume they can bring a date or a “plus one” even when that isn’t the case. Don;t let “plus ones” add to your wedding budget! Here are some tips for keeping your guest list small and your wedding expenses in check.
Be realistic about the people who will expect to bring a date and account for those guests. For guests who are married or are in a long-term relationship, assume they will be bringing their significant other. It would definitely not be cool to say “I want my brother at our wedding, but his fiance can’t come,” regardless of how you may actually feel.
Be sure to address your envelopes properly. For instance, when a wedding invitation is addressed to one person, it should be implied that only that person is invited; e.g. “Ms. Kate Simpson.” If that person can bring a guest, the invitation should be addressed to “Kate Simpson and James Garfield” or “Kate Simpson and guest.”
You can also take it a step further by writing in the guest’s name on their reply card. If left blank, people may try to write in multiple guests’ names.
Be honest about why you are limiting the guest list. The most common reasons include 1) you simply can’t afford to have everyone bring a date; 2) you’re limiting the guest list to family only; or 3) the venue has a limited capacity, so you have to be really careful about the number of guests you invite. Most people will be understanding, however you can expect that some people will ask if they can bring a date. To be fair to all of your guests, don’t make exceptions to this rule.
Decide if you want kids at your wedding. For many this is a no-brainer, but for others it can be hard to decide if children should be invited to the wedding. If you decide not to invite children to the wedding, you can lower your overall guest count. However, you should keep in mind that children won’t be drinking and usually a children’s meal option is much less expensive than the adult portion, therefore the savings may not be very substantial.
Another option is to divide your wedding guests into an “A-list” and “B-list.” Send out the A-list invitations early and wait for the replies. Based on the number of regrets you get back, you can begin sending invitations to people on the “B-list.” Just be careful with how you divide your lists, because people talk to one another. If one “A-list” friend gets an invitation, they may ask someone else in the same social circles if they got one too. If that other person happens to be on the “B-list” it could create an awkward situation.
An important consideration is that many people feel more comfortable bringing a date to a wedding as opposed to showing up alone. You want your guests to feel comfortable and have a good time, so you’ll need to weigh that with the importance of limiting your guest list. Remember, there are other ways to save money on your wedding.