One of the trickiest parts of planning weddings is deciding who to invite – or, perhaps more accurately, who not to invite. Many couples agonise over how to trim down an overly-long guest list to fit with their budget and/or the capacity of their chosen venue, with worries over hurting people’s feelings leading to unwanted stress, sleepless nights and even arguments.

The key thing to remember is that it is your wedding and you have the right to decide whatever you like. The purpose of the day is to celebrate the unique, special bond between you and your partner, not to try to please other people or spare their feelings. So don’t shy away from being a little ruthless if you need to be!

That said, fixing on your preferred or maximum number of guests is in itself no easy decision, before you even get onto the matter of who is in and who is out. Do you, for example, choose your venue based on your target number of guests or set your guest limit based on your venue?

There is no right or wrong way to go about it, but here are some things to consider when trying to decide on that magic number.

Agree on the type of wedding you and your partner want

The first and most fundamental factor that should help you decide how many guests you have at your wedding is what you and your partner would most like. If neither of you are keen on being the centre of attention of a large crowd and would prefer a smaller, more intimate celebration, then that should straight away tell you to keep your guest list to closest friends and family only. If, on the other hand, you have always dreamed of a huge party involving everybody you have both ever known… well, keep dreaming as big as you like.

Other priorities can also help you to fix the size of your guest list. If, for example, you have your heart set on a particular venue, then your wedding party will be naturally limited by its capacity.

Weigh up your budget

Perhaps the single biggest limiting factor most couples come across in deciding on how many people to invite is their budget. There’s a fairly straightforward process to follow here. First, after agreeing on the type of wedding you both want, draw up a combined list of everyone you would like to invite if money were no option. Count them up and, with this in mind, get some ballpark quotations for venues of a suitable size (or for your chosen venue) and for catering. If these estimations fall within your budget, happy days. If not, that’s the signal you will need to start trimming numbers back to a size you can afford.

Work together and be strategic

A common trap many couples fall into is both drawing up long lists of people they want at their weddings separately, which opens the door to unnecessary arguments when it comes to whittling the numbers down. It’s strongly recommended to start with a ‘couple’s list’ of people you agree you want to invite together. If this falls short of the total number of guest places you have agreed or budgeted for, then you can split the difference evenly between bride and groom.

Whatever size of guest list you settle on, it always helps to keep your options open with a wedding venue that is able to cater for celebrations of different sizes. At The Colony HQ, we can offer everything from contemporary indoor spaces capable of seating between 50 and 100 guests for formal wedding guests, to our outdoors lawns which boast enough room for a 250-capacity marquee.

Whatever your preference, get in touch with us today to discuss your options and to arrange a viewing.