It can be a difficult and tedious process to try to get a handle on your guest list.

How to get a handle on your guest list

The wedding planning is well underway – big day is only weeks away. The are just a few loose ends to tie up and one of them is finalizing the guest list. It can be a difficult and tedious process to try to get a handle on your guest list. With just a few short weeks to go you need to get things under control. Your reception hall and caterer need an exact head count and it’s up to you to provide it to them. A count that is short could mean that some guests go without food! A count that’s too high means you’ll be paying too much for your reception. Plus, once you confirm the guest list you also need to set up the seating chart and create the place cards.

Some pre-planning will help to alleviate some of the stress you’ll have to deal with later on. Be sure to allow enough time for your guests to respond to their invitations. To determine the date they need to respond work backwards from the wedding date. A good rule of thumb to follow is to expect RSVPs no later than 15 days before the wedding. (Be sure to ask your reception hall and caterer when they will need the exact head count – it’s usually about a week before the wedding). If you expect the guests to respond to the invitation in time you need to mail them out in plenty of time. If possible, send out “save the date” postcards several months in advance of the wedding. Send the invitations to guests at least 6 weeks prior to the wedding date.

Make it easy for guests to respond to your invitations. These days most people use the latest technology so there is nothing wrong with using an online RSVP. However, you should also provide response cards and a phone number for those who want to respond the old fashioned way. When listing the phone number or website for response it’s best to use it solely for this purpose. You don’t want to have to sift through lots of other info in order to get to the responses. Make a list of everyone who is invited and plan on updating it regularly whenever you receive any responses. 

With an updated list you’ll be able to view the total number of guests at any given time. When the date of the final RSVP has arrived you’ll need to start contacting people who have not yet responded. You can delegate this task to someone else if you like. In fact, you can ask the groom’s mother to contact those on the groom’s list and your mother (or sister or aunt) to contact those on the bride’s side. With about a week to go to the wedding day you’ll need to give a final count to the vendors. If you have any outstanding guests you’ll have to count them as attending for purposes of the final guest list.

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