8 Smart Ways to Slash Your Wedding Guest List

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8 Smart Ways to Slash Your Wedding Guest List

You probably want to share your joy at entering married life with everyone you know. Your budget, however, likely demands a more realistic limit on the number of guests. If you can only afford 150 guests at your dream wedding, but are staring at a list of 250 names, you're going to have to make some hard choices and reduce the guest list.

1. Know Your A-List

Sit down with your fiancé and go over your guest list. Categorize every person as:

  • A. Immediate family and closest friends
  • B. Everyone else

Once you know how many names are on the A-list, you know exactly how many spaces you have for other guests.

2. Eliminate Facebook "Friends"

You might have 500 friends on Facebook, but how many of those people do you actually socialize with in real life? Cross off casual acquaintances, people you haven’t seen in years, old school friends or business associates. You can always post your wedding and honeymoon pictures after the event for plenty of comments and "Likes."

3. Keep the Office at Work

If you are serious about cutting your guest list, explain to your coworkers that your wedding will be a small affair for just family and closest friends. Unless a coworker is truly a good friend outside the office, it’s better to leave your work life separate from your personal life. Inviting just one or two people from work could result in hurt feelings, particularly if it’s a small business or department. The one exception you might want to make is your boss, if you have a close relationship.

4. No "Plus One"

Your single friends and family might want to bring a date, but unless it is a live-in partner or fiancé, you’ll need to be firm and say no. Generally, if you have to invite someone under the name “and Guest,” that’s someone to strike from your list. Do keep your single friends seated together at the reception however, especially if you think a couple of them might hit it off. You never know, perhaps your wedding will lead to a friend getting married next!

5. Keep It Local

Out-of-town immediate family and dearest friends will want to make the trip to attend your wedding. Distant family and friends who live far away are less likely to want the expense and hassle of travel, so if your guest list needs further cutting, do them a favor and take them off the list.

6. Adults Only

Though this can be touchy if your close friends, siblings or relatives have children, if you truly need to keep your wedding invitees to a reasonable number, specify that the reception is for adults only. Don’t hurt feelings by allowing a few young children and not others – make it a firm rule. If guests with children will be traveling to attend the wedding, consider hiring a babysitter for the evening to watch the kids in a hotel room or at someone’s nearby home.

7. Talk to Your Parents

Even if you and your fiancé are footing the bill, your parents probably have their own list of guests they want included at the wedding. You will need to give your parents much greater leeway if they are paying for the wedding, but go over their list and request they remove anyone you don’t know personally and very distant relatives.

8. Don't Feel Obligated

Though you should include friends who had you to THEIR wedding within the past year, don’t feel obligated to invite couples who had you to their wedding several years back to your own, unless they are still close friends. Likewise, don’t let your parents use your wedding as an opportunity to satisfy their own entertaining obligations.

Keeping the wedding guest list reasonable can be difficult. You can always take the easy way out by eloping or planning a destination wedding, but if those aren’t options, you’ll need to sit down with your significant other and make the tough choices.

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