This tricky process just got a whole lot easier.
meaghan and david seating chart

Whittling down your guest list can be stressful. You don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, of course, nor do you want to regret who was—or wasn't—with you on your wedding day. But, "while trimming the guest list can be uncomfortable, I have never met a couple who said, 'Gosh, we wish we had invited more people to our wedding,'" Gretchen Culver, owner and creative director of Rocket Science Events in Minneapolis, says, and recommends you "cut the guest list to the people you really care about. Many couples are afraid they are going to offend or hurt someone's feelings, but in reality, your cousin first-removed—the one that you haven't talked to since your bat mitzvah—is probably not dying to get invited to your wedding. Often would-be wedding guests are relieved to have not made the cut."

If you're still struggling to make those cuts, however, here are three questions you can ask yourself that will help keep things in perspective—and limit your list to loved ones only.

Do we really have the budget to invite this guest?

Sometimes, who makes the final guest-list cut is simply a matter of math: "Take your total wedding budget number and divide it by your approximate guest count," instructs Culver, which will give you a per-person price. "Then ask yourself: Do you like the guest enough to spend that much money on them? Your answer will put them on the list or not." After all, Culver points out, "you have finite resources when planning your wedding and you want to make the most of every dollar." (And don't let yourself feel guilty about the answer, either!)

Are we friends in real life?

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. "In these days of constant online connection, your pool of potential guests may feel enormous," commiserates Culver. But that doesn't mean your Instagram BFF gets an automatic invitation. "This is a very basic question I tell couples to ask themselves about every guest that goes on the list: Have we talked in the last year?" says Culver. "And by talked, I don't mean liking their social media posts." If you haven't called, met up, or sent an email to them, "don't send them a wedding invitation," she says.

Would I invite this person if we didn't work together?

It can be tempting to invite your co-workers to your wedding. "Office politics are no joke—and the thought of slighting someone you have to see every day doesn't seem like a wise idea," admits Culver. "That said, this is your wedding and don't invite your co-workers out of obligation." Instead of issuing invitations to all your co-workers, "Ask yourself: Would I hang out or stay in touch with this person if I got a new job?" suggests Culver. If the answer is no, consider cutting that person. Then, "a good work around to inviting all your co-workers to your wedding is to have an office shower or happy hour to celebrate," she says.


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