Help! With large families on both sides, high school friends, college friends, work friends, and now my fiancé’s graduate school friends, the guest list for our wedding has gotten out of control. I’ve been told there is a certain percent you can expect to not show up – should I send more wedding invitations to guests than our wedding venue can handle?
This question seems to always confuse brides. While it may seem like a science to create the perfect guest list that keeps everyone happy, there is no hard and fast formula for guest attendance. You’ll hear some experts say to invite 10% over your venue limit, while others claim 20%– and I’ve even seen some pretty complicated math problems put forward! (Hint: if your guest list plans start to resemble your eleventh grade calculus homework, you’re making things too difficult).
Remember, you might end up accountable for every person on your guest list. After all, if they are important enough to be on your guest list, you may be (and hopefully are!) important enough to them to warrant the travel. Keeping that in mind, I suggest you create two guest lists. The first will be the definitive list of must-invite guests. The second list will be backup guests, listed in prioritized order (think co-workers, club friends, or friends of parents).
Send invitations out to your first list over eight weeks in advance of your wedding date, and ask for RSVP response cards to be returned within just two weeks. This ensures that you receive responses in a timely manner – allowing you to start inviting those from the second list without cutting it too close to the wedding date.
At the end of the day, you and your fiancé know your friends and family the best. If you know that Great Aunt Mary won’t make the travel to your wedding, but still wants an invite, then by all means, send her an invitation. On the other hand, if you know your groom’s graduate school friends will travel anywhere in the world for a good party, I suggest you make sure you really want them at your wedding.
I hope this helps, Kimberly!
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