Choosing Your Wedding Guest List: Who Makes The Cut?

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Alimay Events an NYC-based event production company founded by two former glossy vets, Ali Schajer and Maya Katz — specializes in organizing pure chaos. So, who better to call upon with our most challenging wedding etiquette queries? This week, the ladies help us navigate how to choose your wedding guest list.
Dear Alimay,
How do you decide who makes the cut for a wedding invite list? My fiancé and I are having so much trouble deciding, and we're on a pretty strict budget.
— Budgeting/Blushing Bride
Dear Budgeting/Blushing Bride,
A wedding invitation list is always a sensitive subject and should be handled with a great deal of attention. After all, when you look back on one of the most important (and fun!) days of your life, you want to fondly remember all who were in attendance. If your parents are throwing your wedding, it is important to consider the guests that will matter the most to them. A roster of kooky great aunts, third cousins once removed, or your grandparents’ childhood friends might not be the first attendees who come to your mind, but if your parents are footing the bill, giving them a few extra slots on the guest list will mean a great deal to them. If you are throwing the wedding yourself, then you can take more liberty with the guest list. It is your big day, isn’t it? Once you’ve compiled the bridal party, as well as your list of relatives and V.I.P.’s, a next move can be daunting.
“How does one get the most out of their guest list while avoiding any hurt feelings?” you may wonder. To avoid any last-minute invites or those pesky “your invitation must’ve gotten lost in the mail” conversations, we recommend keeping your list down with a simple formula.
If you have not been in touch with said person (outside of your extended family and people your parents might want to invite) over the last year or since you've been engaged, move them to a “maybe” list. If you haven’t spoken to the person in the last two years, cut 'em out entirely. It may feel harsh not to invite your camp friend or favorite former intern, but you will be making the right choice. On the flip side, think about what it feels like to receive an invitation from someone you don’t know so well. You might think, “Does the guy who makes my egg sandwich every morning at the deli need an invite? I see him everyday.” Nope! The worst thing you can do is waste a spot on someone who will have to come up with an excuse to get out of the event, or worse, wonder if he or she really has to buy you a present. Awkward, awkward, awkward! We say spare those who don’t totally want to be there in the first place and follow our rule of evaluating your relationships.
Oftentimes, engaged couples may receive an engagement present from someone that they were otherwise out of touch with. Does that person suddenly need a wedding invite? Not necessarily, but perhaps it is worth reevaluating why you feel that your relationship with that person has fallen through the cracks. Weddings are a deeply intimate time for you, your fiancé, and both of your families, so handle your guest list with lots of care.
Love always,
Ali & Maya
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