Building A Guest List {Day 10}

Keep Calm and Fill the Pews

When you have a long engagement, there is plenty of time to get word out to your guests about when the big day will be. That is not the case when you are planning a wedding within 3 months. We wanted to let people know as soon as possible, especially since most of our guests would be coming from out of town and would need to make travel arrangements. However, we knew it would take a few weeks to get our invitations printed, addressed, and mailed, and there was definitely no time for traditional save-the-dates. We didn’t want to waste a precious second, so we did what some may consider tacky- we sent a Save the Date via email. This is definitely one of those areas we had to compromise on due to our short timeframe. Although it wouldn’t have been our first choice, we at least put some effort into making it look visually appealing, and it served it’s purpose, as people were able to start making arrangements before receiving their actual invitations.

Although you can’t officially order/make your invitations until you have the date set, venue picked, and other details sorted out (like where you will register for gifts and/or the URL for your website), there is something you can start on right away which will be very helpful: Start building your guest list! This is something that can actually be a lot harder than it seems.

  1. Because you may have to make difficult decisions about who to invite due to space issues
  2. Because even though you think you’ve thought through every single person you know and run the list past every single person in your family, there will be that inevitable step-aunt-once-removed who you will inadvertently leave off the list
  3. Because once you’ve each made your list, you then have to combine said lists, and potentially figure out from that point who to cut
  4. Because once you finally have your list compiled, you now have to track down current addresses for all of these people. And if you’re like us, you may not even know where some of the people are currently living because everyone seems to move ALL the time and no one ever sends those handy little address update cards anymore.
  5. Oh yeah, AND you’re planning a wedding in the midst of all this…

It’s a long process. Start on it early.

We were lucky in that our venue could hold up to 400 people {not necessarily COMFORTABLY, but the option was there if needed}, so we weren’t really restricted on who to invite. We also knew that a lot of people we would invite wouldn’t be able to make it because they were friends we’d made during our time living abroad. For those of you who are limited by space, I pass on this advice I’ve heard friends use: Would you take that friend/family member out for a $30/plate dinner if they were in town visiting? Because that’s basically {in some cases} what you are paying per guest. Don’t feel like you HAVE to invite everyone. This is your day, and you want to look back on it as a joyous occasion with your closest family and friends, not a really expensive party you threw for people you kind of knew because you didn’t want to disappoint anyone.

The last thing I would say is that the best weddings I have been to are the ones where it is a big gathering of old friends. I know that’s not always the case- and it definitely wasn’t in our situation, since we both had friends from all different stages of our life at the wedding who had never been in the same room before. If nothing else, try to find ways to get your guests to connect so they don’t feel like they are sitting in a room full of people they don’t know. I’ll tell you how we did that later in the series.


Check out the other posts in the 31 days…to the altar series here.

31 Days to the altar

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