The guest list for a wedding can be a point of contention. I just had a couple cancel their summer wedding because what was to be a small intimate wedding with 20 people exploded to over 200. Family members told others, invited others and it just wasn’t what they wanted. People were very direct with them, that they expected to come and join their day. I feel bad for them that they had to postpone their plans and yet happy they stood up for themselves.
Budget will often dictate how many people you invite to your wedding. If you have your heart set on a small intimate wedding, the guest list needs to be small and intimate as well.
If parents are contributing to the cost, they will want to have a say in who attends of their friends.
If you have already chosen a venue, that too will determine the number of guests attending.
You can sometimes stretch a budget by changing the time of day of your wedding, whether there is a elegant luncheon, classy cocktails or formal dinner.
There are options like excluding: children or children under a certain age, co-workers, distant relatives and reciprocal invites. It is not unusual to have an ‘A’ list and a ‘B’ list. Normally about 25% of invitees on the ‘A’ list will not be able to attend. Keep this list quiet as to not offend guests.
A few things to remember. Always invite a guest/family members significant other. If you have friends that are not in a committed relationship it is acceptable to exclude ‘and guest’ from their invitations.
In spite of possible family arguments, invite step-parents if your parents are there, and both parents if they are divorced (even if they don’t get along). It is up to them to behave as adults and decide if they want to attend or not!
Deciding on how big or intimate your wedding is, is a personal matter.