Cut your guest list. Lowering your guest count is the fastest way to reduce your wedding costs.
Why cut the list
The biggest way you can cut costs when it comes to your wedding is to trim the guest list. The smaller your guest list, the less you’ll need to spend overall.
It’s just plain and simple math, y’all. If you have 50 guests, that’s 50 chairs, 50 dish rentals, 50 meals, 50 programs, 50 favors… you get the point, right? Well, if you have 100 guests – you can multiply that cost by double!
Each person you add to your guest list exponentially increases your overall spend. So I want you to think long and hard about who you include on your list.
Another bonus to a small guest list? You can treat your guests to a nicer experience. You’ll also have a better chance of sharing moments with each person who attends. The larger the wedding, the less likely you’ll be to have time to A- speak to all your guests, and B- get to ENJOY your wedding.
You could end up getting stuck in a receiving line greeting the 200 people you invited (including your dad’s coworkers and your third cousin who you’ve only seen five times in your life) rather than holding hands with your grandparents, dancing with your bridesmaids to Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off” or lovingly smooshing cake in your new hubby’s face.
How to cut your guest list
First of all, you should each make your lists of “must-haves.” Who are the people who absolutely must be there and it would be devastating not to have them at your wedding?
Hint: You could stop your list at this point and have a truly intimate wedding!
Of course, there are plenty of people you may feel obligated to invite. You may even make a list completely of people you feel like you *should* invite. All your extended family members. Your college friends. High school/childhood friends. Your coworkers. Anyone who invited you their own wedding. Your parents’ friends or coworkers. The entire congregation of your childhood church.
Can you see how this can quickly get out of hand? This is why it’s crucial to cut your guest list to only those important VIPs.
If you end up with an epically long list that is seriously cost-prohibitive due to your wedding budget (which you have obviously already set since you’re following our advice, right?) then you can use the following questions to start trimming down the list:
1. Have not of us met this person?
2. Will this person be a part of the next chapter in our lives?
3. (If a relative) Have I seen or spoken to this relative the last three years?
4. (if a plus one) Is the couple married, engaged or living together?
5. Am I just inviting this person out of obligation or do I actually want them there?
Other Tricks for Trimming Your Guest List
1. Have a kid-free wedding
Ask your friends and family to leave the kiddos at home, and it’ll definitely reduce the total number of people at your wedding.
2. Limit Plus-Ones
Limit the plus ones to only those people who are in a serious relationship (6 months or more). You could get even more serious and opt for only plus ones if they are living together, engaged, or married.
3. Who’s paying?
If you and your fiancé are paying for the entire wedding yourselves, you truly get to make all the shots. That means you can feel free to not invite your parents’ friends/coworkers and the like. *Especially* if you’ve never met them!
4. The One Year Rule.
If you haven’t seen or spoken to a friend in over a year, feel free to leave them off your list. No matter how close you once were in the past, chances are if you’ve not had contact in the last year then that isn’t likely to change after the big day.
Small is the new big. Embrace the smaller wedding. And if you just can’t cut the guest list, fear not! We’ve got tons of other tips to help you cut costs in other areas.