Monthly Archives: March 2017

Tips for Crafting the Perfect Wedding Guest List

place cards made after guest list is finalizedWedding planning was going smoothly for our friend and her mother until the night they met about the wedding guest list.  Suddenly, stress-free wedding planning turned into a mess of strained pleas and tears.  The mother wanted to add second, third, and fourth cousins to the list; her daughter wanted a small wedding guest list.  If you want to avoid the same stressful meeting, use these tips to put together the perfect (and perfect-sized) wedding guest list.

Use the 70-15-15 rule.

If you feel like you need a hard-and-fast number to guide you and your parent’s guest list planning (or to reign them in), use this rule.  You and your fiance get to fill 70% of the total number of guests, and each side of the family (i.e. the groom’s parents and bride’s parents) gets to add 15% of the total guest list.  Put simply, if you have an event at 1451 Renaissance Place, we provide seating for up to 300 (couples can invite more).  You and your fiance would get to fill 210 of those chairs while each set of parents would get to add 45 (each) to the list.

Create lists within your guest list.

elegant hall with centerpieces, white table coverings, and blush chair coversTo make your guest list planning easier, create lists for your circles of family and friends.  The first list, list “A”, would include your closest circle of family and friends.  The next circle (think aunts, uncles, cousins) would be on list “B.”  Use that same philosophy for list “C” and “D” (with list D being acquaintances and people you know but aren’t close to).  When it comes down to trimming down the guest list, list “D” would be the first list of names to cross off, list “C” would be second, etc.

Decide whether you want to invite kids.

Today, it’s just as common to hold an adults-only wedding as it is to hold a wedding that includes parents and kids.  If you decide an adult-only affair is right for you, make sure you add a tasteful line to your wedding invitation that says, “Adults only” or “While our nieces and nephews will be joining us on our special day, we asks that only adults join us.”  To make sure each couple only RSVPs for two, create a drop down on your RSVP site that only allows space for two or fill in their names on the paper RSVP card.  Don’t make any exceptions so you won’t have to deal with the fall-out later.  If anyone expresses displeasure at your adult-only invite, just say something like, “I’m sorry you’re unhappy, but we have to be fair to all our guests.”

Use a fine tooth comb for your “taboo” guest list.

There are always going to be “maybes” on your guest list: exes, significant others, friends of friends, co-workers, etc.  The truth is that there is no set rule for these groups of people.  One couple might veto all exes, while another may want to include an ex they are on good terms with (especially if you have a child together and talk on a regular basis).  If you have room for all significant others, include a “plus guest” on all your single friends invites.  But if the guest list is getting tight, it’s okay to invite only your friend (unless they have been together with a girlfriend or boyfriend for a significant amount of time).  If you’re really not sure of whether it’ll create an awkward situation later (such as your co-workers who have heard you gush about your wedding plans for months), invite them.

Remember the venue maximum guest count is your final number.

For the safety of your guests, be careful to NEVER exceed the maximum guest count number your venue gives you (make sure you add that question to your list of venue questions).  That doesn’t mean you can’t invite slightly more than that number (be careful to not go dramatically over that number-what if they all come?); expect that about 80-90% will attend.  Plan accordingly and make sure that you won’t go over the venue maximum.  Don’t hesitate to ask event planners at your venue if you have any questions about the maximum number.  Remember, it’s your job to give your guests a fun and safe evening; the perfect guest list number guarantees that.

FAST Wedding Planning Tips: Get Married in 3 Months (or Less!)

bride and groom at wedding reception planned in short timeApril Fool’s Day. An anniversary. Health. A deployment.  There are a lot of reasons why couples want to skip the long planning process and head down the aisle only 3, 4, 5, or 6 months (or even less!) after the engagement. If you’re one of those couples, let’s cut to the chase: use these tips to plan a beautiful wedding in as short amount of time—or as long—as you want.  (It is possible!)

Get organized.

Budget. Guest list. Venues. Invitations. You have a lot of wedding planning ‘musts’ to tackle quickly, so get a jumpstart on your wedding planning checklist.  Use these tips so you can stay on top of all your wedding planning tasks and know exactly what needs to be done and by when.  Set clear deadlines so you can check each item off and move on to the next fun step of wedding planning.

Make it a team effort.

If you don’t want to feel overwhelmed, divide up your wedding planning checklist among you, your fiance, and any other dependable friends or family member.  Make sure you let your family members know when you need each wedding task completed or hire a wedding planner who can devote their time to making your vision come true (quickly).  If you have the wedding ceremony all planned out, choose a wedding venue with an event planner on hand that can coordinate all the details of your wedding reception into a memorable night.


Since you have a lot to do, make sure you don’t get so caught up in small details that you don’t get a chance to complete what needs to be done.  Put simply: don’t get so worried about the design of the place cards and delay hiring your wedding entertainment.  Choose what matters most (to you and your guests) and get started on those details first while you have time.  Other (less significant) details can be done later when (and if) you have time.

Don’t procrastinate.

Time is of the essence; now is not the time to procrastinate.  Get started as soon as you have the date (or time of year) set in stone.  If you don’t have the exact date set in stone, contact potential venues with a month and ask them for available dates.  This is a surefire way to get the venue you want during the time of the year you want to get married in; and to get two (VERY) important details nailed down so you can move on to the next wedding planning task.

Plan your wedding for a less popular day.

If you really want to get a premiere wedding venue, consider getting married on a weekday or on a less popular weekend day (brunch on Sunday, Friday evening, etc.).  Not only can you usually get a discount on your venue, you are also more likely to get the venue with one call.

Get your invites out fast.

You still have time to send out invites, but you need to act fast.  Book your venue, ceremony site, and date right away so you have all the important details you need for the invites.  To speed up the RSVP process, give your guests an electronic option (i.e. email, wedding website, etc.) that can give you numbers as soon as possible.

Buy a dress that you don’t have to order.

Most wedding dress shops tell you to order six months in advance to make sure your dress (and the bridesmaid dresses) arrive in time for your big day.  If you don’t have six months, ask your local dress shops for options that are available off the rack.  These dresses are usually more budget-friendly, and (most importantly) ready for immediate alterations.  If you are concerned that your bridesmaid dresses won’t share the same dye lot off the rack, consider having your bridesmaids purchase different color dresses in different styles (i.e. jewel tones, spring colors, black & off white, etc.) for a distinctive and sweet look.

Find vendors that check off a lot of boxes.

If you want to cut down on the number of wedding tasks you need to check off the list, look for “package deals.”  For example, look for a wedding venue that can be both a ceremony and reception site or a company that offers several wedding entertainment options.  As satisfying as it is check off the boxes on your wedding checklist, make sure you still are getting quality wedding services.  The result: a fantastic wedding day that everybody’ll swear took years to plan.