The Battle of the Guest List
Posted: Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013
Photo by: Nathan Abplanalp Photography
Alyn Wharmby is an Ohio native turned middle school teacher and graduate student, currently earning a degree in School Administration at UNC Charlotte. She is beginning her new life with fiance Erik and chihuahua Bella on July 13, 2013. Contact Alyn here.
The biggest debate that has occurred during our wedding planning centered on the guest list for the wedding. Though Erik and didnt have much conflict about it, our families had many opinions to share. Erik and I calmly sat down together and made a list of what looked like about 170 people as our ideal list, if we could invite everyone we wanted to.After choosing our venue and realizing how expensive wedding planning could be, Erik and I soon grasped that our ideal list was probably going to be out of our budget. This feeling increased as family members slowly began to request that old friend-so-and-so was added to the list. As the number creeped upward, I started to panic. How in the world could we afford to host all these people?We tried making lists of those we thought were unlikely to come. The total number of guests had risen to 190, and I was stressed. I was envisioning my whole budget flying out the window, leaving me flowerless with home-done hair on my big day. We had to make cuts.NO ONE wants to make guest-list cuts. You naturally want those important to you to be there on your wedding day. Erik and I had even given up my long-running dream of getting married in Charleston to allow our friends and family to be able to afford to travel. We wanted everyone there. We looked at our costs; to those planning a wedding let me tell you where the money goes. 65% of my wedding budget will go to food and alcohol.65%!?!?Be prepared. The higher the number of guests, the more that percentage crawled upwards. Unable to sacrifice more than a few friends and family from our guest list, Erik and I began to consider other options. We knew friends who had done a modified adult-reception before, and we decided that this could work for us. We looked at the ages of family members and decided that this would be a viable option for cost-cutting. To be honest, the kids would have more fun at the hotel with a babysitter, pizzas, and movies anyway! We made exceptions for my siblings (all under 18) and went with a sixteen and over limit. That cut more than 10 guests from the list and promptly created familial tension. Ill admit that we have made a few executive decisions about families with many kids and those who only have one under sixteen. The rule isnt definite it is made and executed by Erik and I, and we have made exceptions and changes as we need to.The important thing to remember is that you can only manage what you are able. Most budgets are not infinite and friends will (usually) understand your situation. Dont bankrupt yourself or go wildly into debt over a few extra guests. We ended up sending out Save-the-Dates to 179 people and hoping for the best. If 20% (as experts often use as a general rule) dont show, well be right at our intended number of 150.
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