A hot topic whenever I meet up with our wedding couples has been around the ‘wedding guest list’. ‘Who’ to invite and ‘why’ is often quite tricky because there is generally a lot of emotion behind their selection and so the common responses to me have been:

“I need to invite them because they are family”

“My parents will be upset if their friends aren’t invited”

“Well, they invited me to their wedding (10 years ago) so I feel pressured to”

Or my favourite …

“My cousin had 400 guests so I have to have 500”

First hand experience…

From my experience as both a groom (in 2016) as well as one who is part of multiple weddings each week I found that the most important thing to consider throughout the whole wedding preparation is:  

“What do you value the most?”

Every couple is unique so here are some things I believe helped my wife Irene and I select our nearest & dearest to the reception:

  1. Are you planning on having an intimate wedding where you may value people connecting with each other or would you lean more towards party, party, party?
    Are you planning on at least saying hello and thanking each person who attended your wedding?
    If you give each person at least 1 minute here’s the run-down:
    100 guests = 100 mins or 1.67hours of “hey thanks for coming”
    350 guests = 350 mins or 5.83hours of “Hi, sorry got to go!”
    500 guests = 500 mins or 8.33hours of “I’m hungry I don’t have time to eat or dance and ohhh my reception didn’t go for 8hrs”
  2. Your friends will understand. Anyone who has been married in the past 10 years knows that the day is not cheap. With most venues at approximately $100/head in Sydney, gone are the days of $30/head buffets at Penrith Panthers. Sooo most would understand that picking your guest list can sometimes be tight so if they didn’t quite make the cut then I am sure love will be sent your way. 
  3. What are we going to do to keep everyone having a good time and even more so keep them engaged throughout the reception? Some things we valued were great food, great entertainment (we had both a DJ & a live band), a professional MC to run the night (a must) as well as other novelties like a fun photo booth and a custom whisky bar towards the end of the night. 
  4. Will we invite kids to our wedding? Considering we had at the time at least 15 kids (primary school age) attending from our nieces, nephews as well as God children (we were one of the last in our group to get married) lol we had to ensure we took care of them. We hired 4 babysitters/carers to handle the kids and they did an amazing job at creating activities to keep them occupied. We also utilised parts of the venue like a spare office or even our wedding party green room to allow them to enjoy, play games and do what kids love – Have fun without their parents. Kids are great but you need to keep them interested or give them things to do. Giving them a colouring book and some pens and pencils will NOT cut it in 2018 so you will need to be creative or be happy to fork out the cost of carers. 
  5. Realisation… A recent bride Nicole said it beautifully in her speech this month…“We always thought we would have our wedding overseas in a place like Santorini Greece or the Philippines by the beach, but looking at everyone here, my closest friends and family all in one place I realised we made the best decision to have it here in Sydney”

These are just a handful of examples that assisted us and from a recent groom who shared during his wedding speech in September this year he said it best: “I’m still amazed that I know each and every one of you from different parts of my life, I have had a chance to connect with you tonight, I can’t believe everyone is here in one place and I am ready to party with you now on the dance floor”

Q: So ask yourselves, “What do I value most?”

Cheers!!

Chris & Irene