Use These Easy Formulas To Manage Your Wedding Guest List Like A Pro!

Photography: Colin Cowie 

While having guests take part in your day is an honor, deciding who to invite can be an absolute pain! The good news is that there is a simple method to work your guest list like a pro! Check out the following formulas to apply to your guest list:

If The Couple Is Funding Their Wedding:

It is up to you how and if you will distribute guests to parents if you are 100% funding your wedding expenses. If you plan to distribute guests to parents, consider a 75/25 formula where 75% of the guest list is reserved for the couple and 25% is given to to parents.  Each set of parents will then split the 25% down the middle.  

If One Set Of Parents Are Funding The Wedding:

If one set of parents will fully fund the day, it is up to them how they will distribute wedding guests.  They may exercise the the 75/25 formula where 75% of the guest list is reserved for the parents fully funding the wedding and the remaining 25% is split between the couple and other set of parents.

The parents fully funding may also use a more flexible percentage, such as splitting the guests list 50/50 where 50% goes to the parents funding the day and the remaining 50% is split between the couple and other set of parents. 

Parents fully funding can also go with the traditional split formula, which is allowing the couple to keep 50% of the guest list and the remaining 50% is split between each set of parents.

If Both Sets Of Parents Are Funding The Wedding: 

If both sets of parents are funding the wedding, it will also be up to them how they intend to distribute the wedding guest list. They may decide to use the 75/25 formula where 75% of the guest list is split evenly between both sets of parents and the remaining 25% is given to the couple.

They may also use a more generous formula by sticking with tradition and splitting the guests list 50/50 where 50% is split evenly by both sets of parents and the remaining 50% is given to the couple.

If One Set Of Parents And The Couple Are Funding The Wedding:

If one set of parents and the couple are funding the wedding, it is their choice how and if they will extend invites to the set of parents that are not contributing. We recommend that you consider extending guests as the set of parents that is not financially contributing simply may not have the resources to do so, or may still contribute in ways that are not financial. 

Consider a formula such as 80/20, where 80% is split between the parents funding the wedding and couple with the remaining 20% extended to the parents that are not financially contributing. 

If Both Sets Of Parents And The Couple Are Funding The Wedding:

If both sets of parents are contributing as well as the couple, consider the traditional formula of splitting the guests list 50/50. This allows 50% of the guest list to the couple and the remaining 50% is split evenly between both sets of parents. 

If There Are Special Circumstances:

Divorced Parents:

For divorced parents, follow the 50/50 formula where the bride and groom take 50% and both sets of parents take 50%. From there, split the 25% down the middle where divorced parents receive an equal share.  For example, if the grooms parents are divorced, give each of the grooms parent 12% from the 25% given to the grooms parents. 

Parents Exceeded Their Allocated Percent:

If parents exceed their allocated percent, consider asking if they can chip in to cover additional guests. You can also add  additional guests once RSVP requests are received by adding additional guest in place of guests that have declined.  

Other Family Contribute:

If other family members are contributing,  consider allowing a specific number to each contributor, such as 1-2 guests each.  If allowing guests would put you over your guest count, let them know that you would like to follow up with them once guest RSVP responses come back to ensure that you replace declines opposed to adding to your guest count.

Wediquette Q & A: Guranteed Ways To Get Wedding Guests To Send Their RSVPs

 

Q. Help! How do I get my guests to send in their RSVP invites?

A. One of the biggest planning hurdles our brides experience during our Wediquette Wednesday feature is collecting guest RSVP confirmations. Consider the following tips to solve this common concern!

If you HAVEN’T sent your invitations, follow these steps:

  • Make It Easy To RSVP: Make sure that the methods to RSVP are clear and specific on the invitation. Avoid confusion by making each step clear so that guests know exactly how to provide their RSVP confirmations or declines. Instead of stating RSVP, write out “Please respond by (specific date)”. This helps ensure guests that are not familiar with RSVP understand that there is a response required to their invitation.
  • Confirm Contact Information: Make sure that the contact information that you have for your guests is the most update to date information, and also their preferred. They may ask that you send to a specific address, or follow up at a specific phone number or email address. This will be incredibly important if you need to contact for follow up on their RSVP. Be sure to clarify if any apartment numbers are needed as well.
  • Clarify Importance Of Timely RSVP: Ensure that confirmation is crucial by providing a reason for their timely RSVP. Note specific reasons, such as RSVP requests are required for catering confirmations, to emphasize the importance of receive confirmations. This may help guests understand that their response is crucial to the decisions of your day.
  • Set Your RSVP Date Before You Need It: Buy time by scheduling your RSVP date sooner than you need it. While most caterers need a final head count at least 1-2 weeks before the big day, the last thing you want is to spend the final stretch of your planning journey chasing RSVP reply’s.  We recommend that you set your RSVP date 3-4 weeks before the big day. This means that you will have to send your invitations out in time to allow guests to receive and reply. Be sure to have invitations in the mail at least 8 weeks before the big day, setting RSVP requests 2-3 weeks before the big day. Aim to set 3 weeks before to allow time to track any late reply’s. For destination weddings, allow even more time to RSVP. Ask guests to confirm 2 months before the big day and mail invitations out 4-5 months before the big day.
      
  • Allow Multiple Ways To RSVP: Make it easy for guests to RSVP. Note if they can provide their confirmation by mail, email, phone or even text. Be sure to make all methods clear to ensure that guests have no problem with confirming. If you allow confirmations by email, set up an email account strictly for RSVP’s so that they are not overlooked.
  • Make RSVP Cards Ready To Go: Supply guests with pre-stamped RSVP cards so that guests only have to select their accept or decline. Fill in the names of invited guests, the return address and provide adequate postage to save time for guests so that they only have to drop in the mail after checking off their reply.
  • Stay Organized: Have a system to keep track of your RSVP’s.  We recommend that you mark each RSVP with a number that corresponds to the invited guest. Note the number assigned so that if your RSVP card comes back without a name, you can match it to the number! Check out these invisible marking pens for under $5 to discretely mark each card! Be sure to also keep track of each RSVP on a spreadsheet, noting if they are a decline or confirmation. Note how the guest confirmed as well, such as by card, phone or email.
  • Bring It Up!: Feel free to mention to invited guests before the RSVP date that you hope to have them and how they can provide their reply. Reach out by phone or note when you speak to provide an additional mention of your RSVP needs. 
 

If you HAVE sent your invites and are struggling to get guests to send in their RSVP invites:

  • Send Reminders: Don’t hesitate to send reminders to guests that have missed the RSVP date. Reach out to any guests that you have not received responses from to see if their card is in the mail. Attempt to receive by phone or ask if they could send by a specific date. Make sure to note why their response is important and that you hope to have them on the big day!  Allow a few days to check back with guests that you leave messages with or that did not follow through with RSVP extensions. If possible, rear in your fiance, family or maid of honor to also contact the guest for their response.

Wediquette Q & A : When To Send Each & Every Wedding Invitation!

Q. When should I send out my wedding invitations?

A. It’s important to know when you should send out all of your wedding invitations to ensure that guests have more than enough time to accept their invitation or provide their regrets. Consider these recommendations for each wedding invitation sent during your planning journey:

  • The Engagement Party:

Guests to your engagement party should be guests that are guaranteed invites to your wedding. We recommend that you wait to send engagement party invites once your wedding budget has been created to ensure that an engagement party is in budget. Host your engagement party within 3-4 months of your big day. To ensure that invitations arrive to guests in time, send out no later than 4 weeks before the engagement party. This means that your budget should be complete 1-2 months after the big day.

  • Save The Dates:

Save the dates are crucial to ensure guests have set aside your wedding date in advance. They are especially important if having a destination wedding or wedding around a holiday. For domestic weddings, send save the dates 6-8 months before the wedding day. For destination weddings, send 8-10 months before the wedding.

 

  • The Bridal Shower:

Your bridal shower invites should also receive wedding invitations. Bridal shower attendees do not have to be every female invited to your wedding. Invitees are typically the brides closest family and friends. Close female family and friends of the groom are optional.  We recommend that bridal shower invitations are sent 6-8 weeks prior to the wedding.  

  • Thank You Cards: 

Thank you cards should be sent to all guests that attend your wedding, guests that provide a gift and even those that lend a hand.  Gifts may be received throughout your journey, so make a point to send thank you notes no later than 3 months from receiving the gift if possible or before the wedding date. For gifts received during the engagement party or bridal shower, send a thank you note 2-3 weeks after the event. Send thank you cards for all wedding attendees no later than 3 months after the big day. All guests that attend the wedding should receive a thank you card, even if they did not supply a gift. For those that lent a hand during your planning journey or even on the big day, send a thank you card no later than 3 months after the wedding. For gifts received after the wedding, send thank you cards within 2-3 weeks after the big day.

 

  • The Wedding Invitation:

After creating your guest list, begin collecting guest addresses and contact information. Be sure to obtain contact information, such as phone and email, in case you need to personally contact for late RSVP confirmations or declines. For domestic weddings, send invitations 6-8 weeks before the big day. For destination weddings, send out invitations at least 3 months before the big day to give guests plenty of time.

  • The Bachelorette & Bachelor Party:

Bachelorette and bachelor party invites should also be invited to the wedding. Invites can be close friends of the bride for the bachelorette party and of the groom for the bachelor party.  If the groom has sisters, they should be invited as well.  The same goes for if the bride has brothers.  Bachelorette and bachelor parties are typically held a few days before the big day or even a few weeks before. Invitations should be sent at least 1 month in advance. 

  • The Rehearsal Dinner:

The rehearsal dinner is attended by the wedding party, close family to the bride and groom, the wedding planner, officiant and out of town guests. The rehearsal dinner is usually held the night before the wedding. We recommend that you send invitations 5-6 weeks before the rehearsal dinner.

Wediquette Q & A: Who Gets A Plus One To My Wedding?

 

Q. Who gets a plus one to my wedding?

A. The plus one debate can be a bit controversial and tricky. Some brides will stand by all guests should get a plus one while others will set rules allowing only married or engaged guests receiving.  The traditional, expected rule to follow is to invite the spouse or fiance of all invited guests. Traditionally, you may also invite guests that live with their significant others or are in long term relationships. 

Use our cheat sheet to consider plus ones by considering 3 categories:

Guaranteed Plus Ones, Preferred Plus Ones and If Our Budget Allows Plus One’s

Guaranteed Plus One Invite:

These are guests that traditionally and per etiquette  are guaranteed to receive plus ones:

  • Married Guests: Married guests should always receive a plus one for their spouse. Inviting kids is optional, especially based on their age and if you prefer to have an adults only wedding.
  • Engaged Guests: Engaged guests should always receive a plus one invitation for their soon to be spouse.

Preferred Plus One Guests: 

These are the guests that receive plus ones to the couples discretion and based on budget. These guests should receive top priority for plus ones if your budget allows:

  • Wedding Party Members: Wedding party members should get first dibs to receiving a plus one if your budget allows. For married and engaged wedding party members, their spouses and fiances should always receive an invitation.
  • Immediate Family: Immediate family should receive first dibs on plus ones along with the wedding party. Immediate family, such as siblings, aunts, uncles and first cousins should receive plus ones if your budget allows.
  • Guests In Long Term Relationships/Live With Significant Other: Guests in long term relationships or that live with their significant other should receive a plus one invite if your budget allows. Typically, these are guests where the name of the significant other comes to mind when considering who they would be likely to invite.
  • Destination Weddings: Your guests may not like the idea of traveling alone. Attempt to extend a plus one to all guests for destination weddings if your budget allows.

If Our Budget Allows Plus One:

Once you have factored in plus ones for guaranteed and preferred plus ones, begin to consider the following guests:

  • Single Guests: Single guests can be tricky as they may not feel comfortable attending alone or have a date they would like to accompany. If your budget allows, always extend an invite to single guests as their relatonship status may change during your planning journey and they simply may prefer to attend with someone else. If your budget does not allow, keep a consistent rule where all single guests either receive a plus one or do not receive a plus one. If an exception is made for one single guest, make the same extension for all single guests.
  • Guests Dating or In New Relationships: Considering plus ones for guests that are dating can be tricky and feel like a guessing game. Play it safe by simply reaching out to all single, non-married guests to inquire if they would have a plus one invite.  If they do not have a specific name in mind, extend a plus one if your budget allows. If they have a name in mind, extend a plus one based on consistent rules. For instance, you may set a rule that only guests in relationships can invite a plus one and not guests that will simply only invite a guest. To avoid the stress of attempting to determine where someones relationship status will be by the time of your big day, set a clear rule such as all guests receive a plus one regardless of relationship status or only guaranteed/preferred guests.  

General Rules:

  • Always remain consistent: If one wedding party member gets a plus one to invite a friend, allow all wedding party members to have a plus one. If one immediate family member is provided a plus one, extend to all. Ensure that instead of exceptions, that you provide consistent rules.
  • Even if you haven’t met spouse or fiance, they should still be considered a plus on to your invited guests.

 

Ready to take on planning like a pro? Grab a copy of our 130 page ebook today to walk through over 100 steps of the planning journey from just engaged to heading down the aisle! Click the image below for more!

 

 

How To Plan Your Wedding With Engaged To The Details

 

Get caught up on past posts by searching our hot topics below!  From planning tips, savvy ways to save, etiquette advice and where to find looks that don’t break the bank, check our our past posts! 

 

Just Engaged:

Recently engaged? Start here with important steps you need to know before you begin wedding planning!

Avoid This Common Mistake That Most Brides-To-Be Make After Getting Engaged!

Help! I Just Got Engaged And Don’t Know Where To Begin

Sound Like A Pro: Wedding Terms You Need To Know

2 Benefits Of Wedding Planning Immediately After You Get Engaged!

 

Wedding Planning Tips To Plan Like A Pro:

Sound like a pro with these expert approved, savvy wedding planning tips!

14 Planning Decisions Every Bride Will Consider

The Most Important Thing To Consider Before Setting Your Wedding Date 

How To Bring Your Wedding To Life

20 Biggest Regrets Every Bride Wants You To Know!

6 Secrets To Strategically Setting Your Wedding Date That Nobody Tells You

The Engagement Party: The Who, What, When, Where And Why

How Can I Get My Fiance Involved In Planning

10 Major Wedding Planning Mistakes And How To Avoid

 

Wedding Planning Timeline Tips:

Cross each wedding planning task off step by step with our timeline planning advice!

How To Plan Your Wedding In 6 Months!

How To Plan Your Wedding In 12 Months!

Wedding Day Timeline Mistakes You Can’t Afford To Make 

How To Set Aside Time To Plan Your Wedding With Ease

 

The Wedding Budget:

Wedding budget woes are solved with our wedding budget hacks!

Secrets To Trim Hundreds From Your Wedding Budget – Guaranteed!

5 Expensive Mistakes To Avoid That Every Bride Needs To Know!

Who Pays For the Wedding Anyways?

Get The Answer To The #1 Way To Avoid Exceeding Your Wedding Budget

How To Cut Wedding Budget Not Style

Why Do Weddings Cost So Much?

 

Advice For Working With Wedding Vendors:

Work with wedding vendors with ease by following our guide of questions and advice to consider while working with the pros!

Should You Tell Vendors Your Budget

Why You Should Plan Your Wedding With The Assistance Of A Wedding Professional

The 3 Crucial Questions You Need To Consider Before You Contact Wedding Venues

 

Wediquette Advice:

Take on top etiquette questions with ease by following our Wediquette advice!

Who Gets A Plus One To My Wedding

When To Send Every Wedding Invitation

How To Explain To Someone They Are Not Invited To Your Wedding or In Your Wedding Party

 

The Guest List:

Walk with us through helpful tips to consider while taking on your wedding guest list!

The Top 8 Things Wedding Guest Complain About & How To Avoid!

How To Get Guests To RSVP

Use These Easy Formulas To Manage Your Wedding Guest List Like A Pro!

 

All About Wedding Party Members:

From the bridesmaids to the groomsmen, everything to consider when it comes to your wedding party members!

When To Pop The Question To Your Wedding Party

How To Choose Your Wedding Party

Who You Should Never Invite To Your Engagement Party

 

Shop The Look:

Our secret gems and must know places to find wedding trends you love for every budget!

Where Can I Find Budget Friendly Wedding Gowns

Where To Find Budget Friendly Wedding Stationary

Where Can I Find Affordable Bridesmaids Dresses 

Where Can I Find Affordable Decor

 

Guest Blogger Series:

Our Guest Wedding Bloggers share their planning journey every step of the way! From saying yes to the dress to remaining organized, get ideas and more from our real brides!

  • Guest Blogger Wedding  Attire Advice:

Guest Bride Blogger: Charlotte Shares Saying Yes To The Dress!

Guest Bride Blogger: Leah Shares Tips To Consider When Selecting The Perfect Gown & Venue!

Guest Bride Blogger: Briana Shares How To Find The Perfect Wedding Dress!

Guest Bride Blogger: Alyssa Shares Her Bridal Salon Experience!

 

  • Guest Blogger Wedding Party Advice:

Guest Bride Briana Shares: Popping The Question To Your Bridesmaids

Guest Blogger Alyssa Shares: Meet My Bridesmaids!

Guest Blogger Jennyfer Shares: Groomsmen Matter Too!

 

  • Guest Blogger Wedding Vendor Advice:

Guest Bride Blogger Lindy Shares: What To Consider When Selecting Your Wedding Vendors

 

  • Guest Blogger Wedding Planning Task Advice:

Guest Blogger Amy Shares: Staying Organized While Wedding Planning

 

  • Guest Blogger Wedding Details Advice:

Guest Blogger Leila Shares: Stress Free Tips To Creating Your Wedding Gift Registry

Guest Blogger Emily Shares: Designing A Custom Engagement Ring

Guest Blogger Charlotte Shares: Preparing For The Engagement Shoot

Guest Blogger Leah Shares: The Finishing Touches

Guest Bride Blogger: Leila Shares The Best Beauty Products For Your Pre-Wedding Prep!

 

  • Guest Blogger Wedding Activities Advice:

Guest Blogger Kristen Shares: Preparing For The Engagement Party

Guest Bride Blogger: Kristen Shares Celebrating The Engagement Party

 

  • Guest Blogger Destination Wedding Advice:

Guest Bride Blogger: Amy Shares Creating Destination Wedding Invitations And Crossing Off The Details!

 

  • Guest Blogger Life After The Wedding Advice:

Guest Blogger Christi Shares: The Importance of Pre-Marital Counseling

Guest Blogger Sabrina Shares: Tips/Tricks/ and What I Wish I Did

Should You Tell Vendors Your Budget

 
 
True or False:
 
The reason that wedding vendors ask your wedding budget is to see if they can charge you more if you say your budget is higher than their rate.
 
Answer:
 
False
 
A common misconception is that it is best to avoid telling vendors your budget as they may attempt to “milk you for what you’re worth”.  The truth is, vendors need to know your budget in order to determine potential packages to offer and if their rates are realistically within your budget.  Consider going to a department store on the hunt for a new pair of jeans and a friendly sales rep shows an array of selections ranging from $150-$200 a pair, yet your budget is $50-$75 max.  You may turn away assuming there are no options within your budget or even go with the $150 pair because it’s the most affordable option of those suggested, even though it far exceeds your initial budget. For wedding vendors, asking your budget helps direct you to the best packages, and even if their services may risk taking you far out of budget.  For instance, if a couple has an overall wedding budget of $10,000 and a photographers standard package starts at $4,000, the photographer may express that they did not have a package that would fit without putting the couple in danger of exceeding their overall budget. On the other hand, if a couple has a photography budget of $2,000 and the photographers standard package is $3,000, the photographer may discuss creating a package for the couple that meets in the middle. 
 
Questions regarding the budget can feel as if there is only concern about the money, but for vendors, it helps to determine if a couple is well out of their price point or the types of services they could potentially offer. Be sure to provide vendors with your budget to help narrow down the best recommendations to work for you.
 
 

Getting Started Series: Who Pays For The Wedding?

Who Pays For The Wedding?

 

 

Of all the many wedding day topics, from the gown to the venue, the #1 most searched wedding topic is the super stressful and yucky word…”budget”. 

While the topic of the budget may be extremely unromantic, it is incredibly important to discuss at the start of the planning journey.  For some couples, it may not me a major concern, while for others it may be a determining factor for many wedding decisions. 

The topic is one of importance for good reason…having a wedding will be one of the biggest investments that you make!  Even a wedding for under $10,000 is a considerable amount of money that requires savvy ways to stretch your dollar.

Be sure to subscribe so that you don’t miss our upcoming series that will focus on the wedding budget. Until then, let’s get started by taking on the first question to consider:

Who pays for the wedding and what is the best way to pay for your day?

trevorbooth

 

                              Photography: Trevor Booth

 

Traditionally speaking, the majority of wedding day expenses are covered as follows:

The bride’s family pays for:

  • Reception costs including decor, food, entertainment, rentals, music
  • Ceremony costs including decor and rentals
  • Flowers for the ceremony and reception
  • The bride’s gown and accessories
  • Photography and videography
  • Stationary including invitations, programs, and even postage
  • Favors for guests
  • Transportation

The groom’s parents pays for:

The rehearsal dinner expenses including food, decor, invitations

The bride pays for:

  • Her beauty needs including hair and makeup
  • The grooms wedding band
  • A gift for the groom
  • Gifts for her wedding party

The groom pays for:

  • The bride’s engagement ring and wedding band
  • The marriage license
  • The bride’s bouquet
  • The honeymoon
  • A gift for the bride
  • Gifts for his wedding party
  • Officiant fee
  • Corsages and boutonnières for the mothers, grandmothers, and groomsmen

Before you panic, we have good news!

The days of the traditional who pays guide is often considered a thing of the past as many couples are opting for paying for their day in a way that works less from them instead of going by the traditional ways to pay.

This includes:

  • Couples covering expenses 100% themselves
  • Couples accepting some contributions

For some couples, the only choice is to cover all wedding expenses themselves. For others, they may receive contributions that range from gifts for specific wedding based needs or a specific dollar amount towards wedding expenses.

When considering if accepting contributions is right for you, first consider a few key questions:

  • Will accepting the contribution mean that the final decision is up to the contributor?

While planning, you may find that there are many opinions thrown your way from family, friends and even colleagues. While some can be incredibly helpful, you may also find it difficult to simply stand firm towards what means most to you if it conflicts with the opinion of others. This can be especially difficult when related to immediate family, especially if contributing.  

RECOMMENDATION:

The best way to keep control of your wedding day decisions is to not accept contributions. When you accept financial assistance, you may find that it is challenging to hold onto control of all decisions.  Paying for the day without help from others is a sure way to control all decisions.

  • Did you set clear expectations before accepting contributions?

Before accepting any contributions, discuss if you hope to make final decisions or if you are open to suggestions. Be clear if you prefer to make sole decisions and if your contributor will still give resources if they are not given final say. 

RECOMMENDATION:

If your contributor prefers to have final say on the item that they are willing to contribute, consider asking them to contribute towards an area that you don’t have a strong opinion on. You may ask if they are willing to take on your catering expenses if you are flexible with the menu style while asking another contributor to take on an area that you can make final decisions on, such as the gown.   

 

The method that works best is completely up to the couple with one incredibly important condition: that funding your dream day NEVER, EVER leads to debt in any fashion. Get it? Got it? Good!

 

For over 100 additional steps to consider, get your copy of our limited edition e-book, Getting Started: The Ultimate Wedding Timeline Guide while still in stock! Click the image below to get your copy!