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Planning The Guest List
Out Of Town Guests
The Seating Arrangements
The Bridal Party

Other Related Areas Of Interest

The Receiving Line
Flowers For Special Wedding Guests
The Reception
Getting All The Work Done



The Guest List

The first thing which can be accepted as a given is the fact that the number of guests that are invited will not be the number of guests who will respond in the affirmative and, subsequently, attend.

If more than two hundred guests are invited, it can be assumed between twenty-five and twenty-eight percent will be unable to attend. If less than two hundred people are invited, the percentage usually drops to between fifteen and twenty percent who will not attend. 

Some "special circumstances" that can be used to further hone the guest list are: 

1) Take distances into consideration. The greater the number of out-of-town guests and the further people need to travel long distances, the greater the number of "no's."
2) Past family history is an important consideration. Some families boast 100% attendance records at family functions, so a family's track record is important to take into consideration. 
3) The expenses that guests will incur if they attend the wedding should be a part of the equation. Even if the reception isn't far away, it may be out of the way and difficult to reach by public transportation. Or, the time of day may require guests to come and stay the night before or the night after the wedding. Out of pocket expenses when not provided by the couple will influence some guests to decline the invitation. 

Another way to calculate for guests:
Take the number of invitations being mailed, double the invitation count, then take 65 percent and use that as the estimated head count.

To be really on the safe side, make sure that the venue can, if push comes to shove, accommodate all the guests who are being invited! 

organizing your guest list. Have the bride and groom's parents print or neatly type their guest lists. Include zip codes and complete formal names. Prepare a separate list of people to whom you are sending announcements. You may use this list to keep track of gifts received (shower, engagement, wedding), and responses (whether or not guests will attend the shower, engagement party, wedding). Also use the list to keep track of when gifts were received and the date on which you sent your thank you note(s). 

Working out the guest list and still having every one of the participants still speaking to one another when it's done, is one of the most difficult element of wedding planning. Unfortunately the process often leads to heated arguments and hard feelings. There always seem to be more people to invite than budget or space allow. Culling the list is often a difficult, tedious task. One of the rules of thumb guidelines that may work for you is to begin by determining the maximum number of guests you can afford and/or the number the location will accommodate (whichever is less), then divide the list in half and let each family work together to come up with a final list. 

The "A List," "B List" technique often helps the process. Send your "A List" invitations out ten weeks before the wedding and include a "short" RSVP date (six weeks before the wedding).

Begin with a master list These are some of the categories which are typical: bride's family, bride's friends, groom's family, groom's friends, bride's work colleagues and/or friends, groom's work colleagues and/or friends, singles', children. Add other categories as necessary. This master list will give you an idea of the maximum number of guests you may wish to invite.

Once you have reduced the master list to a number with which you are comfortable, invitations can be written.

et tables of eight, assuming that your caterer is putting ten at each table, or tables of ten, if your caterer is putting twelve at each table. Using that system, you allow yourself a one couple leeway (or two singles) at each table. 

The process starts to get difficult when you have a guest who just doesn't fit into a pre-defined category. The trick is to put such guests at tables with people who may be compatible at least on some level, such as age, similar occupations, and "not-coupled" guests. It is certainly acceptable to mix friends and relatives at a table if they have other things in common. The key is always to arrange people in the best way you know that will create an atmosphere in which they are likely to enjoy themselves.

Once the table arrangement is set, it's time to write out place cards using first and last names rather than titles.. Of course, it's really important for the table name or number to appear prominently and not to be "buried" behind a floral centerpiece or set behind candles.

In addition to or in place of floral decorations, it has become increasingly popular for party favors to double as place cards.


Out Of Town Guests

A fairly simple and pleasant project is the creation of a "Guide for Out-of-Town Guests." The more complete the guide, the more comfortable your guests will be and less the numbers of questions you and your family will need to field at the last-minute. 

The concept of the Guide is to make your guests feel comfortable in what may be new surroundings. It will show them that you are particularly pleased that they have made the effort to come from afar to share in your celebration. The more questions that the guide answers, the better resource it will be. Here is some of the information that should be included: 

1. An itinerary and schedule of events, listing dates, days and times

2. Travel suggestions including what modes of transportation are available and which are most convenient to the locations of your events (e.g., airports/airlines, rail/trains, buses, etc.)

3. Directions from modes of available travel to a variety of suggested hotels. Include maps, with all directions, if you can. Check, on-line as an excellent resource. List car rental locations and public/private transportation.

4. A list of suggested hotels/motels, with from-to price ranges

5. Special deals and package rates at different hotels and/or motels which you have arranged (e.g., group rates), including closure for booking dates

6. Information about hotel and/or motel reservations (e.g., contact person, name under which Rooms are being held)

7. The location of and directions to the rehearsal dinner (include dress "code," if you wish)

8. The location of and directions to the bridal luncheon (with optional suggestions of attire)

9. The location of and directions to the place where the ceremony will be held (with optional suggestions of attire) 

10. The location of and directions to the place where the reception will be held (with optional suggestions of attire) 

11. Directions to the home of the bride and groom or other location where the "day after" brunch or breakfast will be held

12. Contact information to family or friends (including who, for what and phone numbers), in the event of problems

13. Sites to see and things to do in your "hometown," with associated times and directions . . . if you're creating a web site, links to places of interest will be most helpful

14. Information about weather conditions at the time of year your event is planned