When it comes to your wedding, the planning process can be full of difficult situations that are tough to navigate. From cutting down your guest list to simply staying organized, brides and grooms can drive themselves crazy trying to reconcile what they want vs. what they think is polite. Luckily for you we’re kicking off a series to help direct you through the do’s and don’ts of wedding planning with celebrity wedding planner, event guru, and Zola Tastemaker, Stefanie Cove. First up: How to manage your guest list.
Stefanie has established herself as one of the preeminent event producers in the world. With 15 years combined experience in the hospitality and event planning industries, and as the managing partner at Yifat & Oren Associates, Stefanie has unparalleled knowledge of how to seamlessly orchestrate an event, domestic or destination, from inception through completion. Molly Sims, Natalie Portman, Drew Barrymore, and Behati Prinsloo all count Stefanie as their meticulous yet calm wedding planner extraordinaire.
One of the hardest things my clients are faced with is the size of their wedding. They may want a small affair, but when they have seven siblings with families of their own and so many cousins they can’t even remember their names… it is very difficult to keep the guest list small. Of course, this also depends on their other half & how many family members he or she has as well. Here are a few rules of thumb I have found helpful when trying to keep numbers down.
1 | Limit Plus Ones
Do put a limit on plus ones. If your friends are dating but not living with someone, I suggest not giving them the option of bringing a guest. It’s an easy way to slim down and seems fair.
2 | Keep The Guest List “Near + Dear”
I don’t think anyone should be at your wedding that you or your fiancé don’t know. I know this gets tricky with your parents’ friends… but really it should be about you and who you are marrying. I don’t believe in making small talk or having first time introductions on your big day. It should be about the people who are nearest and dearest and that you can recognize in the crowd.
3 | Consider A Destination Wedding
Do keep in mind the location can be the deciding factor on how extensive the guest list can be. This will help trim the “maybes” on your list. You never want to end up with 200 guests for a venue that seats 150 – it’s just uncomfortable and appears poorly planned. If you really need to cut down your list and it seems impossible, perhaps you should think about a destination wedding. The ones that are truly close to you will make the trek, and you will likely lose 30% of the overall guest list. This is a nice way to give your family & friends a special memory, while keeping things a bit smaller and more intimate. It will also help with the plus one factor, which may be more of an issue for a local wedding near home.
In my opinion, there is no “right” number of guests. It really depends on you and who is a part of your life. For me, a 75-person destination wedding would be ideal, but for many people across different cultures, 250 guests can be the perfect size and even unusually intimate!