Wedding Planning on a Small Budget – How to Manage Guest Numbers

How do you decide the number of guests to invite to your wedding when wedding planning on a small budget? This article sets out some of the factors that have a huge impact on the number of guests you can afford to invite to your wedding, when working with a small budget. Essentially, there are three major factors that determine how much each guest will cost as set out below:

1. The Number of Guests
2. The Wedding Ceremony
3. The Wedding Reception

Traditionally, the parents of the bride paid for the wedding and also decided on the guest list. Today, more couples are paying for most if not all of their own wedding expenses. This often means that the size of the guest list is smaller compared to those of previous generations.

However you decide your guest list, the fact is that the more guests you plan to invite, the more it will cost. The number of guests you choose to invite will directly influence the cost of things such as:

  • Stationery – the number of invitations and postage, order of ceremony booklets, place cards and thank you cards.
  • Wedding Ceremony – number of seats, size of the venue, transport needs.
  • Wedding Reception – size of the venue; food; drinks; size of the wedding cake; favors; table decorations; number of tables and chairs; cutlery; crockery; glassware; service staff and cleaning services.

The size of your list is the one single factor that has the biggest impact on every wedding. Keeping your guest list at a reasonable size in relation to your budget can be a huge challenge.

To address the issue of how to keep the numbers down, you may need to dust off those negotiation skills. Especially if one or both sets of parents intend on contributing to the wedding costs. Sometimes parents feel that they’re entitled to have a say in who gets to be invited.

Here are three suggestions on how to manage your guest list:

  • Sit down with your partner first and work out how many family and friends you want to allow from both sides. Then show this list to your parents and ask them who they’d like to be included. If they want to invite extra guests, they will have to pay for them to be included on the guest list.
  • Only invite those family and friends who have some special relationship to you or that you see on a regular basis.
  • Only invite work colleagues who you tend to socialize with or you really would like to invite.

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