Who To Invite And Not To Invite? The Guest List!

Issue 51

It sends a shudder down many a spine just thinking about it, it is one of the biggest contributors to wedding stress and the cause of many disagreements with families.

As a planner I could be blunt and state that it is the couple’s choice, only their choice and everyone should respect their choice and that’s the end of it. However, that’s not how families operate, and I appreciate and understand everyone’s emotional investment to the marriage.

The key is communication, it’s all too easy to run head on into all the glitz and put the important decisions to one side but at the end of the day, it is the people you chose to surround yourself with that really make the wedding. The beauty of fully understanding who you are sharing your day with helps significantly with the planning process, the guest list feeds into all major decisions, it will help you manage your budget more effectively and help you be more decisive. Do not book anything before understanding your guest list; often problems arise as couples try to fit who they want to invite into a situation they have committed to. This not only damages your wedding planning journey and will have a negative effect on your day but more importantly can ruin relationships.

The first stage of communication is between the couple, discuss the style of wedding you wish to achieve and how this will impact guest numbers. Make a list of everyone who you would love to witness your ceremony, and both agree on all aspects. Once you understand your needs, open discussions with your family for their thoughts. Remember it is your day, but it is also a highly significant day for parents too, they really want to share their joy with family and friends that have provided love and support throughout your life. Listening is key, being open and honest is the only way to avoid conflict. Compromise is essential; we currently live in a world of ‘Influencers’ that are telling us to have it ‘your way or the high way’, well, unfortunately this isn’t reality, life is about give and take, the ability to compromise creates a contentment for all parties. The style of your day is significant, if you wish to host an intimate affair with only a few guests, you need to be open to the fact that you may be presented with disappointment. I’ve worked with so many families over the years, on many occasions my ‘counselling’ skills have been required, I have learnt that when a family discusses the guest list openly, listens honestly and are willing to compromise, the outcome is so much more enjoyable. I’ve seen the guest situation create huge divides in families, full blown family fallouts that last beyond the honeymoon, relationships ruined for a lifetime and devastating memories you’ll never forget. Of course, as a wedding planner I often act as the mediator in family discussions, it’s a major benefit to having a planner, someone to hold everyone’s hand through important decisions. There are three persistent questions that often lead to family arguments; do we invite children; do we invite the Great-Aunty Edna you haven’t seen in 10 years, and do we add a ‘plus one’ for singletons? Everyone has an opinion on these subjects, even if you have or haven’t been married. Truth is, only you and your family can decide. A wedding is a celebration, my personal opinion is that every single generation has a positive impact on a day; as a planner I notice a significant difference between weddings that include all four generations to the ones that only include two. It comes back to that initial conversation on style. The most important aspect to understand, is, by not inviting certain individuals it will mean other individuals can’t or won’t attend so you need to make the decision based on what is more important; that person being there or the other person not being there.

I have several conversations with couples and their families which help them work through these difficult decisions. I pride myself on ensuring a positive joyful outcome is achieved in a safe environment and of course, making it fun along the way. Remember the people you share your life with including those on your wedding day add the sparkle.

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