How to... Choose Your Wedding Party and Compile a Guest List

Part of our How To Series of Wedding Articles

 How to choose your wedding party


How to…Choose Your Wedding Party and Compile a Guest List

As you choose your wedding party and create your guest list you can check off a couple of the first two tasks in planning your wedding. You are involving those who are close to you! However, you’ll need to take into account that there may be challenges. Making parents happy, not over-filling your venue and avoiding hurt feelings are a few of the sensitive issues at hand. Don’t stress! An important rule of thumb: Remember this is your wedding! You can only do so much when it comes to accommodating everyone’s wishes. Here are some suggestions to help this process go smoothly.

  • The people in your wedding party should be important to you! Look at your life ten years down the road; you should still see those people there!
  • Being included in the wedding party is no piece of wedding cake! Be sure the people you choose are up to the task. There will be a lot of planning, attending to, and just general tasks to perform for the bride or groom. Make sure there are no conflicts and that they are willing to put in the time. In a way, you are hiring them for a job, be sure they qualify! Important qualities to look for in your attendants are dependability, stability, affability, availability to you, and ability to pay for any of the pre-wedding activities.
  • If your Pittsburgh wedding party is pushing maximum capacity, and you’re not even half way through your top friends list, find other jobs for them. There is plenty of work to go around (think writing out invitations, making center pieces, or ushering). They may be grateful for less responsibility. If you are going by the book you should have no more than six bridesmaids and one usher for every fifty guests.
  • Expect everyone you invite will be attending. If you think someone may have other plans or will not be inclined to travel a long distance, they may surprise you! So count on everyone showing up until you get an RSVP stating otherwise. This way you are sure to have enough room and food for everyone!
  • If you are undecided about inviting certain people, such as old friends, out of town relatives, or just someone important to you, the best solution is to simply invite them. It is up to them to decide whether they will attend. The last thing you want is to be wishing you had invited your best friend from elementary school, but had opted not to. Don’t have regrets about the guest list.
  • Consider the different relationships between the guests at your wedding. Don’t invite two people who will clash and possibly end up causing a scene. If there is no other option, such as ex-spouses who are both important to the bride and groom, try to make arrangements to have them seated in ‘opposing corners’ at the ceremony and the reception!
  • If you are concerned that someone may cause you extra wedding day drama or anguish, such as drinking a little too much, clashing with a certain family member, or just in general bringing a negative vibe to your wedding, leave them off the guest list. As long as they are not a major relative, i.e. your future mother-in-law, you are better off eliminating any possible stresses right off the bat! You’ll have enough to worry about on your wedding day.
  • Remember, you make the rules! If you want all three of your sisters to be your maids of honor, they should be!
  • Many people feel obligated to have all of the people in their wedding, whose weddings they were in. Relationships can change and you may not be close to these people anymore, so don’t feel as if you need to return a favor. Being in a wedding should be a special honor for all parties.
  • If a family member or friend is performing the ceremony, there are a few things to keep in mind. While the ceremony may perhaps be light and funny, inside jokes should be kept to a minimum. Ultimately, this is a very meaningful and sincere occasion.
  • Be sure your invitations are specific. Clarify if the event is adults only, black tie, reception only invite, and so on. You don’t want to leave it to chance your guests will know what you want if it’s not down in black and white.
  • If you have any apprehension that your guests are not going to mingle well with each other at the reception, throw an engagement party! This will give everyone a chance to meet in a less formal setting and be comfortable by the time the wedding comes.
  • OFF TOPIC – but a good tip to help everyone get social: Adding a chocolate fountain to your reception is a great ice breaker. Nothing gets people up and moving more than dipping a strawberry into some warm, flowing chocolate. Your guests will have fun and engage with each other – well worth the investment!

Bottom line – know going in that this is a sensitive task! Do your best to make everyone happy, but ultimately do what it takes to make yourself and your fiancé feel good about who you have chosen to be in attendance on your special day!

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