Tips to Cutting Your Guest List

With many brides opting to have fewer guests at their wedding, the question often arises as to how to cut your wedding guest list without stirring up any tension.  You and your future spouse probably know a lot more people combined than you realize.  So – here are a few tips on how to cut your list to a reasonable and affordable number without drama or hurt feelings.

  1. Rule #1 – If you haven’t spoken to a relative in years, don’t feel obligated to invited them to your wedding. It’s not a family reunion.
  2. Do you have friends that you’ve grown apart from or no longer speak to frequently – that’s an easy cut.
  3. Your work connections could be huge, so only those who are truly good friends should be invited.
  4. Make your wedding an ADULTS ONLY event. Give couples with kids ample notice to arrange for alternative care for the night.  Those couples might really enjoy a kid-free night.
  5. Remove Plus Ones you’ve never met. If you’ve never met the person, why buy them a dinner?

A wedding is a celebration for you and the person you’re marrying – and should be shared with those closest to you.

Printing & Stationery Checklist

 

It’s always a smart idea to put together a list of all the paper elements you’ll need as this will help you stay on budget and having this list will keep you organized.  We have put together a list of the various paper elements you might need for your special day.  You may not wish to use everything on this list, and some items can be done as a DIY project.  Today you can also email many of these items.  However – it’s still “proper” and correct etiquette to mail the wedding invitation itself.

Save the Date Cards – This card is used to pre-announce that a wedding is scheduled.  These are especially Important it you are having a lot of out of town guests who will need to make arrangements for travel.

Rehearsal Dinner invitations.

Bachelor/Bacherlorette Party Invitations.

Wedding Invitations  –  Always order a few more than you anticipate, plus always order MORE envelopes than invitations.  Some of the more formal invitation require envelope liners.

Reception Cards – Issued when only a select number of the guests invited to the ceremony are also invited to the reception.

Ceremony Cards – This card is enclosed when a select few guests are invited to the ceremony, in addition to the reception to which are guests are invited.

Response Cards – Guests return this card with their names and whether they will be attending.

Pew Cards (Reserved Seating) -This card is used in large, formal weddings and they indicate special seating positions at the ceremony/church/temple.

Rain Cards – This card informs guests invited to an outdoor wedding of an alternative location in case of rain.

Maps – Small printed maps with directions to the ceremony and/or reception site.

Accommodation Cards – This card is used to inform guests of any lodging accommodations that have been made and the fees for such.

Travel Cards – This card is used to inform guests of any special wedding day transportation you have arranged, such as a bus to take out of town guests from their hotel to the ceremony.

Weekend Wedding Activities – This card informs guests of the activities scheduled for the weekend and ideas of appropriate attire.  You may also use this card to suggest personal fun activities they may wish to do.

Ceremony Program – A program describing the events of the ceremony and the participants.  You can also include a list of the songs, prayers, and scriptures to be read.

Menu – Small Card used at the place seating indicating the menu for the event.

Table Number Cards – These can be just a number or a name based on your theme.  For example, if your wedding is all about great musicians….one table might be Johnny Cash, another Reba McIntyre etc.

Seating Place Cards or a LARGE display board to indicate where guests are expected to sit.

Thank You Cards – Small cards usually folded – used to express thanks for gifts received

All About Save-The-Date Announcements

Image for PaperSource, BrideStLouis.com

 

If the question was popped and now the wedding day is finally locked, let everyone know with save the date cards or magnets.   What’s really great about save-the-dates is that they aren’t you formal wedding invitation, so you can choose to add some whimsy or humor.  There are many local companies that can create them for you like Paper Patch, Creve Coeur Camera Biz Services, or any of the many other invitation companies that can be found on our vendor section of our web site.

 

Save the Date Example, BrideStLouis.comYou can select from simple postcards, to magnets, to trifolds.  What you need to include is the date of the wedding (of course), your names, and if you are planning a destination location – where that will be, and finally let them know that a formal invitation will follow.  You can choose to go further by charting your love story with details as to when you met,  your  first date, and when he proposed.   Some couples choose to introduce their color scheme, and many times they use their engagement photos on their save-the-dates, and sometimes they create a personal monogram.   If you have planned a theme for your wedding, it’s great to include that same theme in your save-the-date announcements to give guests a heads up on what’s coming.

As a general rule, it’s best to send out your save-the-date announcements six months prior to your wedding.  Allow more time if you are doing a destination wedding so wedding guests have plenty of time to book their travel, get off work, and save some cash.  This gives them time as well to make travel arrangement.  Allow more time is your wedding is scheduled around a holiday weekend or other special events that are occurring at the same time.

Save the dates are sent to all guests you intend to invite to your wedding.  While some couples choose to send “digital” save the dates”, many older guests would still prefer to receive the printed version to save as a keepsake.  Save the dates are NOT mandatory, but they are recommended especially if you are planning a sizable wedding.

Image from Lovevsdesign, BrideStLouis.com

One other note, I love it when couples create a wedding website that can keep their guests up to date on any possible changes – such as venue or ceremony site change.  With the web site you can include many additional details such as where you are registered and for out-of-town guests information as to where to stay and what to do while they are in town.  Be sure to include that web site information on your save-the date announcements.

Image from Our Timeline, BrideStLouis.com

4 Tips to Tackle Thank You Notes with EASE!

Dread writing those “THANK YOU” Notes?

Yes, I said EASE!  It’s one of those tasks that seems endless and like most couples, newlyweds struggle at finding just the right mix of graciousness mixed with personal thankfulness.  And then there is the task of finding enough time, as well, to write them.

So – keep this blog handy – because you will thank me.

Gifts

 

FOUR TIPS To Say “DONE” to writing Thank You Notes:

Tip #1:  Write thank you notes as the gifts arrive.

Tip #2:  As the wedding gets closer, gifts will come in more frequently.  To stay on top of this task, set a daily quota.  I think somewhere between five or six is perfect.  It’s a pace that won’t burn you out.

Tip #3:  Have you future husband help with this task.  United, the task goes quicker.  At six a day, you each have just three to write.

Tip #4HERE IS WHAT MAKES IT PAINLESS – Use my template.

Dear (add name of friend/relative)

Thank you so much for the (lovely/generous/great/wonderful/beautiful/awesome)(gift).  We (plan to use it/have used it/really admire it)  (It was great to visit with you at the wedding as it meant a lot to us. / We are sorry that you couldn’t be there.)

Again, thank you ever so much for your gift.  We will cherish/use it for years to come.

(Love/Sincerely/Warmly/With Love)

(Sign both of your names) …Do this in ink with different looking signatures.  It only times a few seconds.

 

A FEW ADDITIONAL TIPS:

  • Always mention the gift by name.  Keep a record of each gift and the giver.
  • Always say how you plan to use the gift.  While some gifts might never see the light of day, you can fudge it with words like, “We’ve saving it for a special Holiday occasion.”
  • If the gift is cash.  Thank them for the gift of $xxx, and then say, “We plan to buy XXXX with it.”

Remember to Send Thank You notes within six weeks of receiving the gift

See, it is easy!

 

R.S.V.P. (Respondez s’il vous plait)

For those who studied French we all know the meaning of R.S.V.P.  But more importantly then knowing what R.S.V.P. means (respond please) is understanding the importance of the R.S.V.P. as a part of the wedding planning process.   With your invitations you should always include an R.S.V.P.   Wedding etiquette generally includes a return card that should be mailed back.  You can also phrase your invitation with a “regrets only” which means the invitee only need to respond if they cannot attend.

Banquet Hall

Some of the recent weddings I’ve attended have had extra tables and place settings with no guests.  Every extra seat or plate cost.  If you are expecting 200 guests, and order food for 200 guests, then you pay for 200 guests, even if only 150 attend.  When you prepare your invitations take care how your address them – Friend and Guest (2 places), Friend and Family (??? Places).  If your invitation is addressed to “Mr. & Mrs.” and not “Mr. & Mrs. and children”, then children are not invited.  Leave a space on the response card so that the guest’s name can be added.  I also recommend a date by which to respond.  A detailed list is critically for accuracy.  For most brides, paring down the invitation list is stressful because it is difficult to maintain a balance between staying with your budget and trying to make sure nobody’s feelings are hurt.

When the wedding is more informal and the invitation is via email or Facebook, it is okay to respond is kind.

Creating the Guest List

Brides tell me that one of the most challenging parts of a wedding is the guest list.  From experience, I suggest strongly that before you announce your wedding to everyone, you and your groom develop some simple guidelines about inviting guests – or be prepared to suffer the consequences.  For instance, your excitement of the moment may put you in an uncomfortable position if you both verbally announce to everyone at work that they are invited to your wedding.  And when you determine that you can only accommodate x number of guests, and they have to be un-invited…..not a good situation.

Escort Cards

You need to consider some qualifying factors – like how large or small you want your wedding to be, the size of the facility and how much you can afford to spend.

Most couples start with the family first and combine both sides together.  You might want to consult with your parents to be sure that an important member of the family has not been overlooked.   Keep in mind that you want to invite to your wedding the people that you really want to celebrate your special day with.   About 10-15% of the guests that you invite will not be able to attend, so some couples keep a “B” list to invite at the appropriate time. Remember that anyone that you have not been close to or spoken to in years can safely be cut from the wedding guest list.  The creation of the guest list may mean some compromise on both your part and the groom’s part as well.

Just remember that your wedding is about CELEBRATING your day with the people you care about most.