• Katie

Cutting the Guest List


Photo by Matt Ethan Photography.

A common concern for brides (and grooms) is their guest list – will your aunt be offended if you don’t invite her new husband’s children? Will your boss’s evening-only invite affect your chance of a promotion? Will your in-laws ever really like you if the cousin you’ve never met and your fiancé hasn’t seen since he was twelve doesn’t make the cut? In fact, a recent poll told us that 77% of brides are worrying about this right now.

Here at The Old Parish Rooms we champion the intimate wedding, with the smallest we’ve held (so far!) hosting just 12 guests.

Having fewer guests will automatically increase the intimacy of your day, as well as freeing up some of your budget to allow you to add the personal touches you’ve been dreaming up.

Zoe & Mike’s wedding at The Old Parish Rooms was wonderfully intimate. Photo by @jesswitheyphoto

And Adam & George added a great personal touch with this jukebox on their big day. Photo by @beatriciphotography

With wedding guests it really is about quality, not quantity, and it’s important to remember that the purpose of the day is to make a commitment to the person you love, with those most important to you there to witness it. Remember, you have chosen the person you’ll spend the rest of your life with and, once you’ve made that choice, any others really are small by comparison.

Photo by Eyeshine Photography.

And there is our first point of advice: Don’t make this bigger than it is. It’s just one invite, just one day. Not inviting someone to your wedding doesn’t mean you’re casting them out of your life; it means that you’re not inviting them to your wedding.

Point two: This is your day, don’t let the expectations of others cause you to do something you don’t want to. You are the people making the promises and you can decide who it is you wish to make them in front of.

Once you’ve accepted that you’re not obliged to invite EVERYONE to your wedding, then comes the task of choosing who you do invite. This should be fun! Who do have the best time with? Who do you have the most history with? Who will make you cry (you’re allowed – it’s a wedding!) and who will make you dance?

Think about who you really want to have there with you on your special day. Photo by @beatriciphotography

Once you’ve selected your absolute must-be-theres, you know where you stand with venues (speaking of, our maximum capacity for evening reception guests is 100, in case anyone was wondering), and then you can either keep your list at this carefully selected minimum or top-up to your venue’s capacity.

It can be helpful to set rules, some cut-off points, to bring clarity to the process, such as:

  • If we haven’t seen them in the last six months, they’re not invited

  • If one of us hasn’t met them, they’re not invited

  • If I couldn’t make conversation with them for more than five minutes one-to-one, they’re not invited

… that kind of thing.

We love this handy flow chart by bridebook.co.uk

If you’re under pressure from others to invite guests you’re not close to, or don’t wish to invite for any other reason, a polite explanation should be enough – there are costs, there are capacities, all of which are yours to consider.

If this does lead to tricky conversations though, a back-up list is a great way to soften the blow. Laura Celiz, of Rock the Day Styling says: “offer a back up list, so if people decline then you have that to fall back on.” Once you’ve received your RSVPs, you know exactly who’s top of the list to fill in any gaps!

And, most importantly, remember – to paraphrase, slightly – It’s my wedding and I’ll invite who I want to.

Happy planning!

Love, TOPR x

#OldParishRooms #Essexweddingvenues #Essexweddings #intimateweddingvenuesEssex #Intimateweddingvenues #Intimateweddings #Weddingguestlist #Weddingworries #Bohobride #Bohowedding

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