The first thing you'll want to do is figure out approximately how many people you'd want at the wedding. There are three major factors to consider when determining an appropriate number of guests: Personal preference, ceremony and reception site sizes, and budget.
Have you always imagined yourself getting married in front of a very large group of people, à la The Sound of Music, or do you picture yourself at an intimate beach ceremony with just your immediate family and closest friends? Your personal preferences for a large or an intimate gathering are important to consider.
Let's face it, you probably can't pull off a 200+ people wedding at a tiny bed and breakfast. If you have the perfect ceremony or reception site in mind, you will need to limit your guest list to the amount of people that could comfortably fit at that location and conversely, if you've always dreamed of having a huge wedding be on the lookout for sites that could accommodate that size.
Budget is probably the biggest guest list consideration. The more people you invite to your wedding, the more it's going to cost you. Not only will you have to pay for a larger reception and ceremony site, you'll also have to feed all those people, give them favors, and send them invitations. You may need to consider sacrificing the gourmet foods in order to have a large guest list or cutting down your guest list in order to have all the trimmings you desire.
Throughout history many fights have occurred between fiancés, parents, and other loved ones about who exactly should be invited to the wedding. You want to invite every single one of your sorority sisters but your groom hates them all, or your mother insists on inviting her friends over your own -- these are all issues may encounter while planning the guest list.
Let's face it, the person who's paying for the wedding gets the most control of the guest list. If your parents are footing the entire bill (or even the majority), they have a right to invite some people they like even if you don't like them or really want all of those extra guests there.
However, you do deserve to have people who are special to you there, too. If you and your fiancé are paying, the two of you will be primarily in charge of the guest list -- but courtesy dictates that you allow both sets of parents to invite some of their own guests, too.
Once you have figured out how many guests are appropriate, you will want to make a list with two columns: Guests you need to invite, and guests you want to invite. Definitely invite all the people on the must have list, and then whittle down the want list until it is an appropriate size.
Some couples mail out invitations in batches starting with the must-haves. Once they see how many of those people RSVP, they send out the next group of invites. Be careful though -- some people may be offended if they are not invited in the first batch.
It's quite possible that you have friends or family members that your fiancé doesn't like, or family members who don't get along with each other. While your first instinct may be to demand that your fiancé not invite the people you can't stand or those family members that hate each other, if you have room on the guest list you should just take a deep breath and simply invite them.
In the end, letting those people come is probably easier than having a full-out battle with your future hisband or family members. Hopefully, everyone will keep in mind that this is your special day, not theirs. But by taking the high road, and showing that you can be flexible even when planning this important event, you will be setting a positive example for your entire family -- for now and in the future.
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