Drawing up the guest list is a good test of your mother of the bride skills. Traditionally, the bride’s parents hosted the wedding and so drew up the guest list, organised the printing of the invitations and sent them out at least six weeks before the big day.
Today, it’s usually a joint decision. So, start with the absolute must‐have family members, ushers and bridesmaids. The rest of the list needs tactful negotiation between you, your daughter and her fiancé.
Don’t stress too much over the idea of people never speaking to you again if you don’t invite them. Remember this is your daughter’s wedding, so it should be about her and the groom’s friends and family.
Every guest list maker has to deal with the distant relative dilemma. The last time you saw her was at your daughter’s christening, so ask yourself whether Auntie So‐and‐So really needs an invitation. If you feel guilty about not inviting her, maybe send her some wedding cake afterwards, with a note explaining that numbers were limited.
If the problem is that there are too many friends to invite, the solution is to have an evening do and ask them along to that. Your daughter can do the same with her work colleagues, if inviting them all to the wedding would blow the budget.
If the numbers are simply too high all round, the answer may be to cut out the kids. Drop a note in with the invitations saying: ‘Much as we’d love to invite all our friends’ children, it is only possible to accommodate children of close family.’
If the numbers still don’t work out, why not think about splitting the day in two with a very intimate ceremony and sit‐down meal for the chosen few, followed by a larger party where food is limited to a buffet, or there is a pay bar? The party can even be on a different date. Certain people will be very sympathetic to this idea, as secretly they can’t wait to get from the ceremony to the party anyway!
You’ll find lots more advice in our budget for your wedding section.