Weddings in Australia are expensive with the average couple now spending around $37,000 on their big day. A large chunk of this cost comes down to your Venue Hire and Catering which is heavily influenced by your guest count. Through researching Sydney Wedding venues for my own special day I found that the average per head cost of Wedding venues in Sydney sits around $160. I don’t know about you, but to me this was a lot of money to be spending per guest however it did pose as an opportunity. If I could cut my Wedding Guest List down by just 20, I could be saving myself $3,000 from my Wedding Budget. Enough money to pay for my Photographer or Videographer. So now you’re asking well that sounds good, but how do I cut people from my guest list? Well it’s not easy but with a few clear rules it can make some hard decisions appear very straightforward.
Rule #1: NO KIDS!
Depending on who you ask this may be controversial but it is certainly very common. This is not only an easy way to cut down on the guest list but it also allows your guests to enjoy the night more because they can leave their kids at home. Remember you can always invite children to the ceremony while still having your Reception be an adults only occasion.
Rule #2: Set a level on family!
When it comes to Wedding guest list, nothing screams drama more than family! Knowing which family members to invite and which to leave out is a massive struggle for all engaged couples including myself. However, one thing that helped me to make some tough calls was setting a level of family that I would (and wouldn’t) invite. For instance, I said that I would stick to First Cousins and obviously their parents (my Aunts/Uncles). This meant that I would invite all my First Cousins but no Second Cousins. For your Wedding it could be that you are only having Immediate Family (Siblings & Parents). Whatever level you decide, you must stick to it. Nothing causes drama more than inviting one Aunt and not another. That said, it’s easier not to invite one of your cousins when you’re not inviting any of them.
Rule #3: When did you last catch up?
This is a super important question to be asking yourself. Far to often we get trapped in thinking that we have to invite someone just because they meant something to us at an earlier stage in our life. Perhaps you went to high school together or they are an old family friend who was pivotal in your childhood. At some point though you have to ask, if I haven’t seen them in X years, are we really that close. For myself, I set a rule that if I hadn’t seen them in more than 3 years then I couldn’t invite them. A pretty fair rule I would say. Of course there are exceptions, especially with lockdowns and other restrictions keeping you from seeing people over the last couple of years, but as a blanket rule I would say that’s a pretty good one.
Rule #4: Has your fiancé met them?
Something that can’t be overstated. If you have never introduced a friend or family member to your now Fiancé, are they really close enough to be invited to your Wedding? Weddings shouldn’t be a big party for all of your high-school friends, it should be a celebration of the love you share with your partner so consider only inviting people who have played a role in both of your lives. Of course there may be genuine reasons why your partner hasn’t met someone yet but make sure you ask yourself why.
Rule #5: No Plus Ones!
First things first, I’m not completely against plus ones. As someone who is celebrating my love with a Wedding, it would be wrong of me to tell all my friends/family that they can’t bring their partners along too. Weddings are a lovely occasion and attending a Wedding with your significant other is always a very special thing. What I do have an issue with however is letting guests bring a plus one who is not their partner. For me personally, I only gave plus ones to people who I knew were in a serious relationship. I didn’t need to have met them before but if it’s not Facebook official then I’m not paying for them to come to my Wedding.
Cutting down your Wedding guest list not only saves you money but it also increases the quality of your day! Having a smaller guest list allows you to get around and say hello to everyone on your Wedding day which makes it so much more meaningful. Smaller numbers could also open you up to more unique Wedding Venues that have lower capacity limits. The reasons for smaller numbers truly are endless. Using these five rules above I was able to cut my Wedding guest list down from over 100 to just 80 people which allowed me to enjoy the day so much more with an intimate group of close friends and family. I hope these steps can help you to do the same.