Guest List: Narrowing It Down

The guest list was the bane of my existence for quite some time. FH has a pretty small family, so even though we invited nearly all of his immediate and extended family, they still barely made a dent in the list. As for our friends, they made up about 30% of the list. My family on the other hand is enormous, so figuring out who to invite (without hurting feelings) was a monumental task to undertake.


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Initially my parents wanted to invite everyone and their mother. Here is an example of one of many conversations I had with my mother:

Mom: Oh, what about inviting so and so and her husband?

Me: Who the heck is so and so?

Mom: You know who that is! That was my best friend growing up in Haiti and you’ve met her!

Me: …when did I meet her?

Mom: I think you were probably eight or nine at the time…but still you’ve met her!!

Me: Yeah, I think we’d like to limit the number of people we invite based on if I wasn’t four feet tall the last time they saw me.

Mom: [sigh]…fine!

Although it took some time, my parents finally started to understand why we just couldn’t possibly invite everyone to the wedding once I gave them some insight into the budget. While FH and I insisted on paying for the wedding ourselves, our parents have graciously offered to pay for a number of big-ticket items that will ease the burden. (We are paying for roughly 60% while each set of parents is contributing about 20%. We have pretty awesome parents.)

After narrowing it down, we decided that in a perfect world we’d have 100 people at the wedding. We will end up inviting 137 people, but since it’s a destination wedding, I imagine we’ll have a few nos. Though with the type of friends and family we have who have been waiting for this wedding to happen for a long time, I think at the very least we will end up with 100 people.

Since booking the venue, we also set up a room block since all of our guests will be coming from the US. And currently, even though we’ve only sent out the save the dates so far, 44 people have already booked their hotel rooms. So excited!!


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So further to the guest list discussion, we decided that even though we love kids, we weren’t going to have them as part of our big day and have opted instead for an Adults Only affair. And it was probably one of the easiest wedding-related decisions we’ve made so far. I know this is something that probably makes sense to some brides while is unfathomable to others. I can only speak from our personal experience, though, so here is our reasoning below.

For us, our friends are just starting to have children. Some are working on their first, some on their second and third, but most just aren’t at that stage yet. Also, there are not very many children in our immediate families. We aren’t godparents or aunts/uncles yet. There is no child in our lives (so far) that we see on a regular enough basis to have formed a strong bond with. Now, I have some friends that are not yet parents, yet have little ones in their lives that they are like second parents to—not a day or week goes by where they don’t either see or talk to the children and it’s quite sweet to see that sort of connection that some people have.

We were a bit nervous at first that this decision would rule out a few friends and family members from attending the wedding (especially since it’ll be out of the country over a long weekend), but surprisingly, the parents we invited seem like they will be coming and will make other arrangements for their kids. I think some are just excited to have a weekend to enjoy to themselves, in the company of other adults. Plus with a nine-hour open bar, we don’t anticipate anyone being responsible enough to take care of themselves, let alone their kids!

Did you have to make some difficult guest-list decisions? How did you come to an agreement with your SO and your family?


Mrs. Mongoose

New Haven, CT
Wedding Date:
May 2013
Gallery of the Day
Calligraphy Love
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  1. msmongoose Bee
    msmongoose 264 posts, Helper bee @ 8:53 am

    @Miss Gray Wolf: Same here! I had a friend gasp at this–she was like how can you possibly have a wedding without a flower girl/ring bearer?! I’m like calm down, it’s not the end of the world. Geez!

  2. Member
    Ms_Maple 115 posts, Blushing bee @ 9:50 am

    We are in a similar position as you. My SO doesn’t have a big family where I do (30 first cousins not including spouses). We ended up limiting it to first cousins 18 and older and are doing an adult only event. I am surprised how well received the adult only thing is!

  3. msmongoose Bee
    msmongoose 264 posts, Helper bee @ 1:05 pm

    @Ms_Maple: Good for you! And glad to hear that no one gave you any issues 🙂

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