Putting together your guest list can be a potentially daunting task, especially if your budget banks on it. We bring you expert advice on ‘whom to rule out to save on cost’, when finalising your guest list
As much as you would like to call that family friend you haven’t seen in ages or that uncle, who is a generous gift giver, you do not want your guests to be packed to the rafters at your wedding; so, controlling your guest list is a pivotal part of the wedding planning process—one that must be warily done. “As wedding planners, we often get asked ‘why is it important to make a guest list?’; and our answer is simple—your guest list is the framework for your whole wedding and ultimately determines your entire wedding budget! Think about it—the more guests you have—the more money you spend on food and alcohol, the number of rooms you book at a hotel, finding a venue space that suits your guest list capacity, the wedding invitations, the number of wedding favours you would need, and your conveyance requirements. The guest list is the most important aspect in helping you to streamline your expenses, automatically making it simpler to know the areas that you can and cannot compromise on. It gives you a clearer indication of the amount of work that goes into the logistical angle of things; which is imperative in making necessary arrangements,” say Divya and Neha Chadha, founders of a wedding planning company.
Trimming your wedding cost on a whole gets a lot smoother once you’ve narrowed down your guest list to the minimum and necessary. It is important to pre-decide the number of people the bride and groom plan on inviting. “Divide the list equally between both the sides. Make a common guest list for common friends and send out one invite from either of the sides,” opines Sonika Advani, director of a wedding planning company.
Sending out guilt invites is like stepping into quicksand when you’re wedding planning on tight budget. “Your wedding is about you, so call people who really matter,” suggests Rashida. A, Business Development Head, Myshaadiwale Wedding Planners. “Immediate and extended family of the to-be-bride and groom are guests that are more than likely to be definite on the list. Don’t forget to consult your parents if they are contributing towards the cost of your wedding as they will also have a guest list of their own,” say Divya and Neha. The duo believe that unless you and your partner have the exact same group of friends, you’re going to need to sit down together and chalk up how many guests you would like to invite. “The first step to reduce your wedding guest list is to set expectations early. As soon as you have decided to announce your wedding, mention that you would be having a small reception with limited/close family and friends, so this conversation reduces the expectation of those who expect themselves to be invited for the wedding. Give your parents a certain (read: minimal) number of invites you would like them to send,” says Sonika.
Segregate your guest list into A, B and C lists
Giving us a breakdown of the ‘A, B and C list’, Divya and Neha render, “You’re A-list comprises all the people who are an absolute must-invite. You should also ask yourself whether you would like your wedding to be a private and intimate affair or a grand scale event with everyone invited to share your big day. Go with the more practical answer–intimate with the people that matter most to you! This includes immediate family, other close relatives, your childhood best friends and acquaintances who really matter to you. It doesn’t matter where in the world they live, but this is your priority list.
Your B-list includes your ‘really extended family and friends’ and your co-workers. This list features the long-lost relatives who you have to invite for the sake of the parents/grandparents and who probably won’t attend your wedding anyway. It’s your wedding day and you want all your ‘friends’ to be there but let’s be honest—the friends that fall in your B-list are not the friends who are imperative to your wedding party. It sounds a bit harsh, but in reality it isn’t. This happens every day. How many times do you receive invitations (emails/social media posts) for weddings that you just don’t attend?” Adds Sonika, “Unless you have a clear best friend at work, subscribe to the all-or-nothing rule. If you plan to invite one member of your team, then you have to invite all of them. The exception: you can just invite your boss. On the other hand, it’s totally acceptable to invite no one from work (and still gab about your wedding at lunch).”
Lastly, your C-list is your back-up list. “When it comes down to Indian weddings, you can never have enough guests and your parents are bound to remember someone or the other that they need to invite. This list can include all the people your parents are socially obliged to call, but you know that they are not ‘your’ priority list,” say Divya and Neha. A wedding celebration today becomes not just about the two people getting married, but about the two families as well. Would you prefer making merry with a select important people at your wedding, or rather a chunk of people enjoying at your cost? While inflicting social wounds may not be the intention, prioritising must be your objective when you set out to trim that seemingly mushrooming guest list.
Lead Photo: Getty Images