The All Important Guest List
Wedding planning should be a stress free process, but let’s face it, there will always be bumps along the way and one of the highly charged areas of wedding planning is the mighty guest list!
Guest list’s should be a simple part of planning a wedding, all you have to do is invite everyone you know and love to come and play a part in your special day, right? Sadly this is wrong for many couples. Putting this list together is always going to take some thought, careful words and rules. What happens when your best friend finds a man and wants him to come but you haven’t planned for plus one’s. What about your old friend who’s wedding you went to, should they be invited to yours? Then there is the extended family, office and children to consider. You can easily see where confusion and the need to please has the ability to make your guest list five miles long to include your aunties-best friends-daughter and her cat!
Never Fear! Our wonderful Wedding Coordinator Toni is on hand to provide you with helpful tips on how to manage this part of the planning process.
Here at the Duke of Cornwall Hotel we have several stunning rooms that cater for weddings, both big and small. It may be that you desire an intimate day for your nearest and dearest, so numbers become an issue and this can be a challenge…but see our tips below! If however you want large and lavish, our biggest room can hold up to 120 people for a ceremony and we don’t have any pillars blocking the view (you won’t upset Aunt Annie by sitting her around the corner!). We’re not sure if this will help you but your day has to be all about you and that is definitely our message when planning the people you want to celebrate with you.
Here are some things that we think you need to consider when building your list:
YOU HAVE TO START SOMEWHERE
Sharon Naylor wrote “the essential guide to wedding etiquette” and suggests breaking your list down into four sections:
1) Everyone that you couldn’t imagine not being there
2) Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and school friends who you have stayed in touch with
3) Work colleagues, parents friends etc
4) Number boosters
She says the idea is, if your list becomes just too ginormous then you can begin at group four and start crossing people out, working your way back up to reach a more manageable number. Remember that if there are people you really want to celebrate with but there isn’t the budget for them, just invite said people to the evenings festivities, that way they will be there but will still keep within the budget.
Toni’s Top Tip: Have a staged approach to invites, some people in the first round are bound to not be able to attend, leaving you with more space to invite round two and so on…
TO PLUS ONE OR NOT TO PLUS ONE…
That is the question! People have ummed and arred about this – we think you should just put the names of the people you want to invite on the invitation. If you are inviting a family then put all the names on the invitation…you get the idea! A plus one means that your guests can bring any Tom, Dick or Harry off the street to your big day…but you need to ask yourself if you want some random Harry at your wedding (unless it’s Prince Harry!) If the answer is yes then plus one away! If not we suggest putting all names on the invitation is the safest way to go.
Feeding guests is a huge part of any wedding day, the best days can be made by that one special dish but of course it costs. You need to bring your budget into consideration when you think about how many plates of food or canapes will be needed and look at the price per head. Adding “only one more” to the list can, before you know it, add up to another table of 10. You will also need to take into account the cost of welcome drinks and extra nibbles that you might want to serve to keep people amused while photographs are taking place. Every extra is optional.
Toni’s Top Tip: If your list is set and you can’t take anyone off we have the option of having a buffet style dinner instead of a sit down three course menu, which could be the best option for you. Call me for a chat, I am always happy to talk through the options and menus to suit you.
THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM
For some people children make the day magical but for others, no matter how much you love children, they can be quite noisy during times when you’d like calm. Inviting children can become another topic that you will need to think about when putting the list together. This topic seems to cause more fallout’s than most. You need to decide when the little ones are no longer children which can be a tricky thing, is a 12 year old considered a child? Your venue may have rules on this – for example our children’s menu is only available from 3-12 year old’s.
If children aren’t an issue to you or you just can’t get around the fact that children will have to be at your wedding, how about setting up their own little space with their own menu and activities to keep them amused and happy during the day. We create mini menus to keep the children happy, which normally = very happy parents!
If children are a big no no to you then you need to remember to give your guests plenty of warning to hire a babysitter.
Toni’s Top Tip: Clear communication is key and always chat to friends if you are struggling.
AT THE END OF THE DAY
You need to remember that this is your wedding, your rules. Just because someone invited you to their wedding doesn’t mean that they get an automatic invitation to yours. Everyone’s wedding is unique and yours should be designed to make you and your partner comfortable and suit your needs and desires. If that means having a list as long as your arm then wonderful! Alternatively if your idea of perfect is just your intimate family then stick to the plan. Do YOUR wedding YOUR way.
We wish you lots of luck in planning your perfect day. If you’d like any advice feel free to call Toni on 01752 275861 or email firstname.lastname@example.org