Questions for Stacy: Increasing the Guest Count


Hi Stacy.  My fiance’s family wants to invite more people than we have allotted in our budget.  What’s your suggestion for keeping the peace and staying on budget?


Compiling a guest list is one of the most challenging tasks that often kicks off the wedding planning process.  At this point, everything is fresh and exciting – but it’s important to establish clear communication from the very beginning.  In other words, if you’re going the traditional route in terms of the bride’s family paying for (the majority) of the fees surrounding the actual wedding day, you need to be clear about your maximum budget.  If your fiance’s family wants to invite more guests, you should ask them to pay the additional fees associated with increasing the head count.  In doing so, they ultimately make the decision as to whether or not the additional guests are added.  We have seen a lot of misinterpretation when it comes to this step: it’s easy for your fiance and his family to feel that you are limiting the number of people they invite, whereas you’re really doing everything in your power to keep the budget in line.  As long as everyone is clear about his or her boundaries and desires surrounding the wedding, you should be in good shape from the get go!


photo by Mel Barlow

Click here to read our last helpful Questions for Stacy blog entry!

engaged! now what? {part three}

We’re sure you’ve already told everyone you know about your engagement. You probably started by announcing it on Facebook and changing your status, then let your families know, and then everyone else, including the grocery store clerk.

Meanwhile, of course you’ve been reading our series on what to do first in starting to plan your big day. You’ve decided on your wedding style, and figured out how much you’re willing to spend, you’ve probably started thinking about venues and some options for wedding dates….but what about your guest list?

So here’s the deal: how many guests you invite can affect your venue choice (depending on capacity), and vice versa.

First, ask yourself this: Do you want an intimate wedding, or do you want your version of, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”? Now, take your budget and do a little math. Normally, factor about $300 – $550 per guest. Keep in mind that this is inclusive of all vendors needed on the big day (venue, catering, bar, photographer, band, floral designer and the list goes on). How many guests does your budget allow? (If you’re going over, don’t worry- if you simply must have all those people attend, we can tweak some things in your budget to make that big wedding more attainable!)

Here’s our MOST important tip: always remember that it’s YOUR day and the point is to be surrounded by the people that mean the most to you.

That being said, there is always at least one “sticky” issue that you’ll have to deal with when creating your guest list. What if you want to have an intimate ceremony, but a big reception? Or a big ceremony, but small reception? What do you do about all those extra people your parents insist you “must” invite? And then there are all those “plus one’s”- should you always allow your single guests to bring a date? Should you invite guests that you know won’t be able to attend, and how does that affect your budget?

The Knot has put together this really great Q&A to help you deal with these situations without headaches!

If you still feel a little lost, we can assure you you’re not alone, so just take a deep breath! Give us a call if you want to chat about some more tips and tricks (like having an A and B list). See? We told you this would all be a piece of cake- and once this step is done, you can actually go taste all that delicious cake! Enjoy!

{image via Oh So Beautiful Paper, Style Me Pretty, 100 Layer Cake}