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Guest List Help! What to do..

Guest list help and control is a question often asked. There are many concerns among people about: proper etiquette, not being able to read the returned rsvps, we don't have enough money for all of the people that rsvp'd, A and B lists etc. The list of questions is endless! This article is going to help you sort through everything and take the worry away!

First things first….

Have an A and B list of guests to invite. The general rule is that anywhere from 15-20% of the guests you send invitations to won’t be able to come. Of course there are exceptions to this rule just like anything else.


Please don’t send out save-the-dates to people that you aren’t planning on sending an invitation to. This causes confusion on that persons end and puts you in a bad position if confronted.


This is for the budget conscious…Know how much your venue is charging per person. For example, if you have a budget of $10,000 for food & beverage, don’t invite so many people that you go over your budget. The less invites, the lower your cost. You can send about an extra 10% of invites above your actual number of people you need to stay within.


If you are trying to keep the guest count down and/or want to keep it intimate don’t include “and guest” on the outside of the card or on the RSVP card! All that tells your single friends to do is either: bring a date or just some friend you have never met! Of course if that ‘single’ person has been dating someone for a substantial amount of time it is then appropriate to either address it “and guest” or address it to both of the people.


When you do get around to sending out the invitations, which include an rsvp card, do yourself a favor and put a little number in the bottom corner. I can’t tell you how many times my clients have received an rsvp and have no clue who it is from because they can’t read it or didn’t specify their entire name.


If you find that many people are declining and you are well within your maximum number of guests; you can go ahead and start inviting people off your B list.

A List vs. B List Breakdown

Make a big ol’ long list of everyone you would like to invite in the ideal and perfect world. From there, you need to begin separating.

Your A List….are people such as family and really close friends.

Your B List….are people such as co-workers, acquaintances, friends that you aren’t really that close to but it might be nice to invite etc... When push comes to shove most of my clients want who is the most important to them at their wedding or event. Keep in mind with a B list you need to be sensitive to people’s feelings and tactful when inviting them! Make sure you invite people on your B list early enough (at least 3 weeks ahead) so that it doesn’t seem to be a last minute thing and make the people feel like they were an afterthought.

Seventh and final….

How to divide up the list when people overstep!

This happens with any event but I mostly see it in weddings. In today’s world, there is still the tradition where parents pay for the wedding, but there is also an increasingly number of couples that are now paying for everything themselves. When this happens the guest list can become tricky.

The parents are so proud that their son or daughter is getting married that they want ALL of their friends to attend, with no concern to budget, how many people the venue can hold etc. This is where YOU need to nicely, but probably firmly, put your foot down! While you still have to be respectful this is where dividing up the invitations is very important. When you are trying to keep that magical number down, try to limit your parents to inviting about two tables of their friends; that averages out to about 20 people that you don’t even know!

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