The guest list is one of the first things to get sorted when you start planning your special day as this is going to determine what the rest of your decisions will be. It can be an over whelming task especially if you know a large amount of people or have a big family. So I've put together a few tips to help keep it simple when deciding.
First you need to assess the situation and think about how many guests you ideally want to be there, and most importantly how many can your chosen venue can cater for. Think about things like, how many parking spaces or rooms it has for guests, and how many will your budget allow for? That kind of thing. Remember the more guests you have, the more everything will cost.
I would start with your dream list. This is the list you make with all the names that you can imagine being there on your day. From old school friends to a funny work colleague. You will most likely have to do some trimming later on when your being realistic and working out your budget, but this way, if further on in your planning your tempted to add more people to the wedding, check back at your dream list, and if they weren't on it, perhaps they are not so crucial now are they?
Make some Rules
When you both start putting your names into the hat, you are bound to disagree with whether a certain guest should attend or not, (even if they have a compelling argument as to why they should come) so when this happens it may be a good idea to set yourselves a few rules to follow, which then it makes it more fair on each other.
Here are a few common ones:
1. If one of you has neither met, spoken to them or even heard there name before, don't invite them.
2. If you haven't spoken to them in 2 years and they are not related to you, you don't need to the invite them.
3. If you think you should invite a distant family member because your parents will expect you to, but you or your partner has never met them, don't invite them.
4. If you feeling guilty about leaving someone off the list (maybe you went to their wedding), don't invite them.
Most of us when planning our guest list has had the situation come up, where you finally both agree not to invite someone, but then the feeling of dread comes over you of, when you think, 'I hope it doesn't upset my parents, or in-laws'
If you feel like this, the best way to get round this is to sit down with them and talk about it with them, I'm sure in most cases your parents/in-laws will totally understand. The last thing we want for them is to find out when the invites go out and their distant cousin was expecting an invite and phones them in despair. So it is best to avoid those surprises!
In case you have a less than understanding response from your loved ones, you should not feel guilt tripped into inviting people you are not comfortable with having there. If your parents/in-laws are contributing to your wedding this should not be used as an reason to invite them. It is still your day, and what you say and who you want to attend should be taken seriously, so don't think you are being unreasonable.
When your sending out your invites be sure to write the names of who is actually invited on them. You may be sending it to a family house hold but you may not want their children to attend. So make sure to write the couples names so they know to get baby sitters for the day. They would be nothing worse than realising this too late, because of the confusion at the beginning.
I hope these few pointers will help you with starting your guest list!