Deciding who to invite to your wedding is often when of the most challenging and debated parts of planning a wedding. Office politics, family dynamics and budgets can create some stressful moments. Often when building a guest list, brides and grooms divide their prospective guests into “A” and “B” lists.
A Listers. The A list is comprised of guests that you can not imagine not having at your wedding. These people are your closest family and friends. The B list is full of the guests that you would love to have (or someone insists) if space and budget weren’t factors.
Typically, wedding invitations are mailed 8 weeks prior to the event, with an RSVP requested 4 weeks in advance. This timeline allows you to contact guests who have not responded and send out B list invitations as necessary. On average 80% of your A list guests will attend your wedding. Of the invitations you mail, 90% are likely to respond, meaning you will need to contact the remaining 10%. (For more on wedding invitations, click here.)
RSVPs. If the guest who did not RSVP is a close friend or family member, it is acceptable for the bride or groom to contact them directly to let them know how important it is to have them be part of the day. Don’t assume that they are not attending; it is possible the invitation or RSVP card was lost in the mail. If the guest is a more distant relation or a friend of the parents, it is more appropriate for them to contact the guest.
If the guest is a very distant relative, old friend, or someone you did not expect to attend, it is safer to assume that they do not plan on attending.
Once you have a fairly accurate head count from the A list guests, you may be able to invite additional B list guests if budget allows (or you need to reach your guaranteed minimum). Review your head count – is it favoring your side of guests or your fiances? Is the person paying the bill interested (or expecting) more of their guests to be invited? Before inviting the next round of guests, have those conversations to avoid hurt feelings.
Inviting the B List. As most people know the timeline for wedding invitations and correspondence, it’s likely that your B list guests will realize they are such, particularly when they have a short RSVP window. You may want to follow up the invitation with a phone call letting them know you had more room than expected and would like them to join you.
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