Divide the Wedding Guest List (and the Drama)


Photo courtesy of Weddings by Chris Sherburne Photography

BG brides, can you relate to any of the following scenarios?

  • Due to sheer excitement and joy, your parents and in-laws feel entitled to invite as many guests as they please; their little girl is getting married, after all.
  • Your groom deems it necessary to invite the guys he used to play T-ball with—so what if he hasn’t seen them since he was four?
  • You're unsure about which colleagues should be receiving invitations. 

Every engaged couple experiences The Great Guest List Debate; it's practically a rite of passage. Cut your drama in half by following my tips below.

Photo courtesy of Moran Harder Solar Photographers

1. Make a Rough Count ASAP: No matter how long your engagement is, deciding what your guest count will be should take place fairly early on when planning. This will allow you to determine your budget and select your venue; more importantly, it could help you avoid serious conflict that some brides and grooms-to-be face during their wedding-day preparations. 

2. Honesty is the Best Policy: Although money matters can be difficult to discuss, I recommend that brides speak openly with their parents about the wedding budget, which could help avoid conflict later on. Michael and I asked both sets of parents to invite up to 50 guests each (our total count is 150), which they (thankfully) didn't have any issues with. Please bear in mind that if you are fortunate enough to have your parents pay for your nuptials, it would be in poor taste to limit the amount of guests they can invite. Just be sure that you, your fiancé, and your in-laws are each allowed to invite a fair number of guests.

Photo courtesy of Bliss Events

3. "And You Are?" This is a phrase that no bride should ever have to repeat on her wedding day. For Michael and I, our rule is pretty simple: If we don’t know you, you aren’t invited to our wedding. In my opinion, family members that you’ve never met, coworkers of your fathers that aren’t sure of your name, and the random guy your friend is hooking up with this week should not be included on your guest list. We're only inviting dates of friends who are mutually exclusive for a substantial amount of time (six months is a good guideline), living together or married (duh).

4. Table for Two…or Six…or Eight…Maybe Ten: You’ve gone through the hassle of creating this guest list, but how do you even begin to organize it? I recommend creating tables of eight to ten people. The more guests you have at your tables, the less tables you'll need, which will result in less centerpieces (saving you precious cash).

bride tossing bouquet

Photo courtesy of Meg Baisen Photography

5. Consider Relationships When Creating the Seating Chart: You would hate for your college roommate to feel uncomfortable for the entire evening because you accidentally sat her with her former BFF. If you are unable to fit a particular group of friends together due to size, situate the tables next to each other to ensure that the two tables can mingle easily throughout the night. Also consider eliminating the great divide (i.e. your family on one side, his family on the other). Your wedding day is all about the merging of two families, so why not start this trend literally at the reception?

wedding sparklers

Photo courtesy of Bliss Events

Crista asks: How many people are you inviting to your wedding? What's the best advice you've ever heard for creating your guest list?

—Crista Camerlengo


crista camerlengo

Crista Camerlengo is a real bride and the co-founder of Style She Wrote, who will tie the knot in July 2012 with Michael, her fiancé of six years. This chic NYC couple describes their wedding style as “modern romance"—fitting for a pair who had their first date at a quaint seaport and became engaged in the same spot, overlooking the Brooklyn Bridge. This fashion-forward blogger loves to infuse her traditional taste with unexpected contemporary accents.