How many guests?

When I started making guestlists for my wedding last year, the numbers racked up before my very eyes. I felt like I was watching Pointless in reverse. You start off thinking you don't know many people and you note down your close family and the friends who absolutely have to be there. Then, you shut the notebook and think,

"Well, that was easy!"

No. Oh no. You poor misguided soul. This is the pre-list - the list of guests you make before you really start trying to plan. You think something that's taken others months to perfect just took you 26 minutes and an Options Mint Choc? Honey, you're deluded.

The hardest aspect of planning your guest list is that it's personal. No matter how many articles you read, nobody outside of your head knows how you really feel about inviting (or not inviting) your friends, family and colleagues to the biggest day of your life.

There's one sentence that gets said thousands of times during the wedding planning process - and that's "It's your wedding, do whatever you want." Simple, honest, fair. It's your day, it's the start of your married life, you're entitled to do whatever you like in order to have the best possible time. What this sentence doesn't include is that nagging nervous fear in the pit of your stomach when you finally make the decision to exclude somebody. It's never an enjoyable experience to have to let somebody down, but if it makes it any easier, remember that this is your wedding day, not theirs. If you aren't that close, the date will pass without a second thought - and if you are, they'll ultimately understand your reasons and wish you well.

And if not - who needs 'em? It's your wedding, do whatever you want!

Plenty of brides are heeding this sage advice. Lancashire Bride recently ran a survey that showed more than 40% of couples planning their wedding were choosing to invite more than 100 guests. This screams out to me that 60% are not - does this mean they're inviting more than 150? 200? Or, are a sizeable chunk of people pulling out the Gladiator thumbs-down on guests they deem too expensive or too risky to invite?

Being a budget wedding blogger, I'm biased towards a smaller wedding. There are many ways you can create a fun and intimate wedding without spending loads of cash, but there aren't so many scrimpy options when you start inviting 200+ people. That's a lot of vol-au-vents. We're doing it, but it's difficult, and we've barely scratched the surface of our plans so far - don't worry, I'll detail them when it's clearer and we know more. We've not really booked a venue yet. I'm not freaking out. It's fine.

Small weddings are easier to manage, can seem more personal and are far less stressful to plan and save for. It's well worth considering chopping down that guestlist for your own sake, especially if you've got a lot on at work, you have kids, a baby on the way, you're moving house... you get the idea. Life is just as important as your wedding and as my cousin-in-law Lauren said very wisely to me: "As soon as wedding planning becomes a chore - stop. That's not what it's for."

Enjoy every minute and stop worrying. Make the guestlist a VIP roster of people you love to bits, not people you're inviting out of guilt. As another wise person once said, "Those that mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." Capiche?


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