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Managing your Wedding Invitation List..... +1's? Kids? Co-workers?

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Planning a wedding is both a stressful and exciting time in a couples life together. Especially for couples with careers completely separate of the wedding industry planning a wedding can be an extremely daunting task. Bride's {and Groom's occasionally} have to become educated on etiquette, traditions, budgets, timelines and so on. One of the most difficult wedding tasks couples face is who to invite and how. Hundreds of questions can become factors. After all, you can't have everyone, only a few Bride's have the budget capabilities to have a 'Skys the Limit' approach. 


The Puzzling Questions
Do I have to invite all my co-workers? Do all my friends expect to get a +1? How do I tell my guests I want no children? These are just a few of the questions we get asked on a weekly basis. So here you have it---my inside scoop on the guest list!


Divide and Conquer
First and foremost, you and your fiancé must sit down and establish your wants and expectations from you wedding day. Do you want a huge dance party or an intimate dinner affair? Once you know what you want out of your wedding day, decide with your budget in mind how many guests you ultimately can afford to host. Let's say you decided on the number, 150. From there if you have similarly sized families it might be best to give each set of parents a limit of 50 guests they can invite and then you and your fiancé invite another 50 together. This brings you to 150 guests invited. On average you have to assume every guest will not be able to make it, bringing your number down a bit. This approach can be much easier than calling your future in-laws and hashing out with them who of their friends can come and not. Just give them a limit, and let them solve it. 


A and B Lists
Let's say your families are HUGE, you were both Greek in college and your guest list is enormous in comparison to your budget. In that case, we suggest couples make an A and B list. Must have guests on List A and then a seperate List B of possible guests. You can select to invite from List B once you get a better gage from List A who has responded yes or no. The big NO, NO in this case is to let anyone know that two lists exist. Also you must only limit your Save the Dates to List A. Nothing would be more de-classy than receiving a Save the Date to a wedding your not invited to. OUCH! 


Co-workers at the Wedding
As far as co-workers are concerned, that's a tough one. Several factors play into that, is it a small firm you plan on being with for the next ten years or is it a huge office you've only been employed with 6 months?  Once you answer those questions you can be more decisive about whether or not your co-workers should come. In the case you have a huge office and can't invite them all it might be best to invite a couple key co-workers you're close with and your direct boss. The rest of the office will understand you have budget concerns and limitations and will still send congratulations your way. 


Friends and their +1's
+1??? As far as your close friends go, especially if your guests are in their 20's and 30's a lot of your friends might still be single. The question is, do you have to let each of them bring a date? And if not, how do you say who gets a +1 and who doesn't. Obviously, you want your friends to enjoy themselves but at the same time if you have a dozen single friends and they each bring some arm candy, that's another 12 people on your list--and it adds up quickly! If your reception size is limited the best way is to simply omit +1's from single dates {if and only if} there are other single friends from the same social circles going to the wedding. Etiquette says if a couple has been dating for a year or longer or is living together that significant other should be invited. If your friends do have girlfriends or boyfriends you're allowing them to bring, don't just put 'and guest' on their envelope. Take the personalized step and make the date feel special by having his or her name addressed on the invitation and place card as well. This is an extra touch they will always remember. And say you're best friend went on to marry that person, you putting 'and guest' on their place card may not be the best way to start your relationship with them as a new friend.


No little ones at the party
Now on to the trickiest question in invitation history.....how do we politely say 'no children'? Well, first let me start by saying only you knows your guest list. The average wedding guest will read your invitation and follow the guidelines you've suggested, i.e. no children, dress code, etc. but there is always the one off, so be prepared to handle any situation with hospitality and grace. I normally suggest to Bride's we put a phrase on the bottom of the response card "Adult only reception" and for a more unmanageable crowd it might even be necessary to say "Due to space limitations, please no children". Sometimes for out of town weddings you can suggest local babysitting services to try and hint to your guests their little ones are not invited. I've even known some Bride's with larger budgets to even host a private children's reception in another room with babysitters to ensure their party stays kid free. 


As far as ordering your invitations goes, we always suggest Bride's order 20% more than what they plan on sending. From the time you order invitations to the time you actually mail them, you could have acquired a few new friendships, moved into a new house and really hit it off with your neighbors and so on. Once they're ordered, you can't go back and ask for 10 more without it costing you a fortune. Having some extras for 'swing guests' and also as a keepsake is always best!


These situations are sometimes difficult to navigate but wedding industry professionals will know best and help guide you to the best of their ability. Happy planning and remember when dealing with the stresses of wedding planning what the day is ultimately about celebrating your love. Don't get caught up in the details!