You don't want to leave people out. But each guest adds cost, seats and changes your dynamic.
You need a plan...
FIRSTAn event of 10 people feels very different than an event with 300.
So first consider what you want it to be like.
Don't think about budget yet, don't worry about your third cousin or entire church that wants to attend.
Wait... and picture.
Your immediate family, a best friend and each other. This event is intimate, relaxed and the most tender of events. It can be extravagant- off to a secluded island, a weekend long celebration in your favorite city, a snowy mountain retreat get-a-way, whatever suits you best!
This event doesn't offend many people. They tend to understand that they're not included when you're only inviting a dozen people. It's less event and more announcement.
This is our favorite size event. You have awesome options of unique and stylish sites. It's a great number for a stylish dinner and dessert. You can design to your hearts content and still stay on budget. The catch? You must carefully pick your guests so that people are not offended.
Make sure you have the space and consider a seating arrangement. This event can also be fabulous. Pick a few key places to add some eye catching decorations. Pick an off time when it will be obvious that a major meal won't be served- or just say Cake & Champagne Reception and figure 1 piece and 1/2 glass pp for a toast.
Here's how to not offend people not invited...Levels- Make the cut...
For example: if you invite one long lost third cousin, it's better to invite them all.
Level 1- Bride & Groom
Level 2- B&G, parents, closest friends
Level 3- B&G, immediate family, important friends
Level 4- B&G, extended (but seen often) family, current (seen often friends)
Level 5- B&G, extended family (incl. travelers), current and select important friends from your past
Level 6- B&G, all family, all friends, co-workers of B&G
Level 7- B&G, family, friends, co-workers of B&G & moms and dads, your dentist and the mayor.
There are exceptions. to these levels but this helps protect feelings and give you a place to know when to say when.
The dynamic is very different if you've invited your closet family and friends than if you add an open invite to your church of 150. Will you find your closest people you want to celebrate with? Will your church members leave early or be offended at your martinis? It's always best to picture your event. Not just your flowers and dress, but how your experience of it will be.
Second-What if who you want to invite you cannot afford or fit?
Announcements-Sent after the event to let people know- or you can send them before- just omit all event details.
James & Sarah
would like to announce
their upcoming marriage
June 20, 2015
Do not include a registry list. Otherwise it looks like...
You're not invited,
but send gifts anyway
After is a great way to announce because you can include new address, phones and such.
The Double ReceptionInvite them all and have a cake reception where your ceremony is held. (often your church) and then have a lavish dinner reception later for a smaller closer group. Give people time to make the transitions or even go back to their hotels for a nap before a long evening of drinks and food at your favorite restaurants private space.
Simplify your plans
Get creative for a bigger site or a shorter outdoor reception in a safer weather month.
Most of all be flexible.
Weddings especially are highly emotional times for all.
Take a deep breath, take care of your loved ones feelings too and Enjoy Your Event!