Tis the (engagement) season:The "who" part of the equation

You said "yes", that was the easy part. The next part of the process is determining "who else".

I'm sure my industry peers are looking in shock that I did not start with the budget, but let's be honest, a budget with no guest list is just as meaningless as no budget. Knowing you will have $20k and not knowing if you are at 20 guests or 500, doesn't mean much. Money is a little easier to determine, you have or you don't, guess however, that is a number that may fluctuate, so try to get started with that first.

You and your fiance need to sit down and have a very serious discussion about what your ideal wedding consists of. If you are not sure where to start, start with the thought of whether your dream day will be intimate vs large. These two words alone, conjure different emotions and a different vision and will (hopefully) help to get you somewhat on the same page.

Take a moment to jot down the numbers you've discussed. Start with family and work from there. For your friends, will you invite any other than the bridal party? Will there be children invited? Co-workers? Neighbors?

Once you have jotted down the names of the people that you can think of off the top of your head, take a look. How close are you to where you ideally need to be? Does this mock list already consists of 200+? If so, you are far from "intimate" considering there is a very good chance that your parents will be contributing a "list" of their own.

If you find yourself needing to cut back, the next step in determining your guest list size is to set some boundaries. Perhaps for the single (for wedding purposes "single" means NOT engaged or otherwise married) people be invited with a guests? Are children considered those of a certain age? Is there a cut-off for friends you will invite (aka you must have known each other for 5+ years), have you seen your family members within the last 4 years. Setting steadfast rules will be a very easy way to eliminate some people right off the bat, without feeling guilty about doing so.

This should bring you closer to the ultimate goal: determining the one number you DO NOT want to exceed. If you still find yourself struggling, ask yourself a very honest question, would you on any other given day, be comfortable with taking this person to a $125 dinner and paying, if not, draw a big line between there name. because that is what your wedding expense for this one individual would be.

Once you've done that, whether it is three hundred or twenty, your next duty is to notify your parents of the amount of guests they are welcome to invite. A quick rule of thumb is that each set of parents receives 1/4 of the list and you and your intended receive half.

I'd love to end this post here but want to just give a disclaimer. I know that guest lists are not easy. Especially when you have so many people saying that other people just HAVE to come. There was an episode of the Cosby Show where Theo graduated and the father, Dr. Huxtable, invited everyone and brought lawn chairs for those who the stadium could not accommodate. THIS IS MY FAMILY! I do understand. Your wedding however, is not a free for all so a definite count is necessary to proceed with budgeting your expenses-tomorrow's topic.

So Internet, anyone else find they were extremely challenged with their invites? If so, how did you overcome?

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