Cutting the Wedding Guest ListImagine spending months planning a spectacular wedding, only to have your plans fall apart in a matter of weeks or even days. When the dust clears and you begin to reschedule, your new budget or venue doesn’t have enough room for your original guest list. So now you must decide who to cut and how to deliver the bad news. This isn’t an easy position to be in, but you can work through it by following some sound and timely advice.

How COVID-19 Has Changed the Game

You’d normally curate your guest list early during the planning stages, but the coronavirus outbreak has turned everything on its head. Pre-epidemic, The Knot recommended composing an A-list and a B-list. People who aren’t close friends or family would probably end up on the B-list, invited only if you had the money and space to accommodate them. Now, things have changed. You could use similar logic to pare down your guest count while rescheduling, but these still won’t be easy decisions to make.

Tips for Slashing Your Guest Count

Thankfully, Wedding Wire’s Kim Forrest provides more detailed suggestions. For couples fortunate enough to recreate their wedding vision, including their initial guests may be easier. If you’re forced to downsize, however, you should determine a firm final count as soon as possible. With a venue that holds only 80 people, for instance, you can’t squeeze in your original guest list of 120.

When drafting your new guest list, says Forrest, be sure your nearest and dearest are automatically included. One Fab Day mentions a few groups of people you may wish to leave off the list during the first round:

  • Distant relatives
  • Co-workers, unless they’re close friends
  • Children of your friends
  • Parents’ friends
  • Anyone you felt “obligated” to invite

Be especially careful when it comes to elderly guests and those with chronic health conditions. They’re more likely to develop severe complications from COVID-19, so consider letting them stay home to avoid the risk of exposure. If you have elderly or vulnerable people in your inner circle and you don’t want to exclude them, extra diligence is key. Follow CDC recommendations for physical distancing, protective mask wearing, and other hygiene practices.   

After drafting your new initial guest list, you can add more people as your venue or budget allows. Don’t invite more people than you can accommodate, Forrest adds. With people eager to show up the second time around, you don’t want to risk lacking enough room to host them all.

Communicating to Your Guests

Now comes the hard part: informing those who didn’t make the cut. Both Forrest and One Fab Day mention that your uninvited guests will probably understand the situation and won’t take it personally. Communicate clearly and honestly with those people, and contact each individual privately instead of sending a mass message.

The good news is that you can still include them from afar thanks to video conferencing and livestream platforms. Depending on where you’ll tie the knot, you can work with venue management to set up a stream or DIY it if you’re getting married at home or in the great outdoors. Brides offers a useful guide for arranging your livestream. The key takeaways: Choose the best platform and equipment for your event and space, test your stream setup in advance, and share your stream link only with people you’d planned to invite.

Stay Positive and Keep a Clear Head

As life slowly moves toward a new normal, many couples encounter new challenges as they reschedule their weddings. If you’re one of these couples and you’re forced to cut your guest list, take heart. A logical approach and clear communication can make the process easier and help you include those important to you in your big day.

Category: Wedding Planning

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