Unless your wedding budget is unlimited (in which case, lucky you) and your venue is willing to accommodate your squad no matter the size, you will have to talk to your partner about narrowing down your guest list. And this is no easy task. We get it: it's your big day and you want to invite everyone—including all of your 500 Facebook friends.
Before you know it, that small intimate ceremony you had hoped for is starting to look like a Russian oligarch wedding, and guess what? Those are not cheap. And if you think that one extra guest only equals one extra dinner plate, think again.
"Keep in mind that each guest costs more than just their meal. They require an invitation, a chair at a table with a rented linen and place setting, a welcome bag and so on. Cutting just one guest can save you between $750-$1,500 depending on your overall budget and your market," says event planner Lauren Niles.
So, for the sake of your bank account and your sanity, follow these helpful tips from wedding pros on how to trim your guest list.
VIDEO: Five Ways to Cut Wedding Costs
1. Have the important conversations with your fiancé
"You need to discuss how many people you are both expecting to invite in order to have an idea of what your guest list is looking like. From the master list, consider who are your must-have guests (think close family and friends) and who are the maybe’s on the list should you need to make cuts," — Sandy Hammer, AllSeated.
2. Consider the children.
"If you are looking to narrow down your list, decide if you will be including children at your wedding. Perhaps you decide to only include the children in your bridal party, the children in your immediate family or make the special exceptions for specific children," — Sandy Hammer, AllSeated.
3. Always have a Plan B (and C)
"We tell our clients to create an A,B, and C guest list.
Guests in the A list are the ones you know for a fact or coming, which would-be your immediate family, your bridal party, their partners etc. B guests are the ones that you would like to have come because they're your extended friends, bosses, co-workers etc. And the C list is only to fill in for those people in your A and B that say they can't attend, you then add a C person in their spot," — Misty Damico, Luxe Event Productions.
4. Think about the future
"My advice is to think about who you will be sending holiday cards to in five years, or who you will send a birth announcement to if you decide to have a child. Who will you be friends with in five years (and not just Facebook friends!)? If you will still be in close touch with someone in five years, they are worth keeping on your guest list. Usually, this means trimming some colleagues, college friends, and distant family members," — Tyler Speier, Tyler Speier Events.
5. Can you afford it?
"One of the first things we discuss with our couples is the budget. The budget will play the key role in dictating the guest count so it's important to determine that before getting a guest list together. When the guest count is more than the budget can accommodate for, we always tell couples they can make a B-List and send invitations out to those guests as responses come back. With this plan, couples should send out their invitations 10-12+ weeks in advance to account for the additional time needed to send out the new batch of invitations," — Katey Clark, Lemon and Lime Events.