One important wedding planning task which must be considered before the happy couple begins scouting potential locations for the wedding ceremony and reception is the guest list. It is very important to give the guest list some consideration before looking at ceremony and reception locations because you want to select locations that are large enough to accommodate all of your guests. Likewise, you do not want to select locations that accommodate many more people than you have on your guest list especially if budget is a concern. This is because larger reception halls are going to be costly and will likely require the couple to pay for a minimum number of guests in order to reserve these larger spaces.
The process of beginning to create a guest list should naturally begin with creating a list of the closest beloved family members and friends to the couple. This is the most obvious starting point because these are the people who the couple truly wants to have with them to celebrate on the day of the wedding.
Depending on the size of the family and the number of friends, the couple has this list may be very long, very short or somewhere in between. Regardless of the size of this original list, it will include those whose presence will truly be appreciated at the wedding.
Next, the couple will have to consider who is footing the bill for the wedding. If the couple is paying for the wedding themselves, this makes the guest list easier. When the couple pays for the wedding, they are not obligated to include guests requested by either sets of parents. However, they may still wish to do so.
When one of the parents or both sets of parents are contributing to the cost of the wedding, the guest list becomes trickier. This is because the parents may wish to include additional guests. These guests may include friends or colleagues of the parents.
The parents may also wish to include more relatives the couple may not know well but whom the parents feel should be included on the guest list. The parents may also wish to include acquaintances who have invited the parents to the weddings of their children as a form of reciprocity.
Regardless of who is paying for the wedding, the couple will have to consider inviting those who invited the couple to their own wedding. Whether or not the couple chose to attend the event, there is social pressure to include these individuals on the guest list especially if the couple sees the other couple on a regular basis or they share common friends who may mention the upcoming wedding. In this case, it is a matter of politeness and not wanting to offend those who thought highly enough of the couple to include them in their own wedding day. However, when the budget is tight, it is acceptable to eliminate these people from the guest list especially if the wedding reception will be a relatively small one.
Couples also need to consider the relationships among members of the guest list. This is especially important if there are members of the guest list who will not likely be able to behave civilly at the wedding ceremony or reception. This is most often the case in families where there has been a bitter divorce or some other type of family dispute. It may also be the case among former friends who have had a falling out. These situations can be very tricky to handle and it may be necessary to leave some people off the guest list to avoid uncomfortable situations for the couple as well as other guests. In an example where the brides parents have undergone a difficult divorce and it is not feasible for them both to attend, the bride would have to decide to have only one of them present or neither of them. This is a difficult and very personal decision which will have to be given careful thought before the final decision is made.