The question has been popped. The jitters are down and now reality sets in with two simple questions: “Have you picked a date yet?” and “Who is coming?”
Just like when you invite people to be your bridesmaids, you want to make sure you pick your guests wisely. Many websites give tips on how to do so. Haven’t talked to them in 10 years? They may not be on the list. Are there old grievances? You might not want them on your wedding day. There may be some familial or even cultural obligations, but that just means you can have a frank talk with all those involved and try to come to a compromise.
FAJO continues its wedding series as we give a few tips on how to pick your wedding guests, and how to give them the information they need to plan their attendance. Looking for other tips? Check out other articles in our series, including how to pick your wedding flowers or steps to take when picking your wedding dress.
Lists will become your new best friend
Before sending out your invitations, make sure to have all the information you need from your guests. This can include: first and last name, addresses (if sending out physical invites), email addresses and more. Not only will this help you tally the number of people in attendance, but it will also assist in tracking all information as it comes in—something you will need as the wedding date approaches.
Paper or paperless—pick one or both
Some people like to send invitations. Some people like no fuss emails (which can then automatically tally attendees, allergies and meals in an online list). Whatever your preference, you don’t have to pick one or the other, you can pick both. You can even check with your guests if they have a preference.
Save the dates—not just something from the past
People are busy. Why not help your invitees plan ahead? Typically save the dates are sent 6 to 8 months from the wedding date. Me? We sent it out almost 12 months out. With a lot of family and friends outside the city, we wanted to give them as much time as possible to plan their trip.
Wedding websites—help your guests get as much information as possible
Try to put yourself in your guests’ shoes. What information are they going to need? What are they going to want to know? There is a number of wedding websites that offer free platforms to create your site. The templates are easy to fill and can feature information from accommodation options, the venue and even transportation. You can also add information as details are confirmed from the day you send out the invitations to the wedding day itself.
Invitations—the main source of information
Your invitation is the go to place for information for your guests. Some keep them on bookshelves or on the fridge. This is the quick reference guide and should include: start time, end time, location and attire. Other nice add-ons include information on the bar (is it cash or open) and more. If you are going with a printed card, make sure to include an RSVP with a spot for guests, meal choices, allergies and even song choices. Having a pre-stamped envelope is classy touch too.
Follow up emails—not just for those meeting notes
If you are sending your invitation in advance, you may not have all the information ready to go. During my wedding, we sent two follow up emails with information on final details like shuttle pick-up and dro-off, parking (and links to directions), as well as a few friendly reminders about the timings. You may not need it, but this is an option.
Just remember, don’t fret too much over the small details at the outset. If there is something you have missed, you can always add the information on your website or in the follow-up emails. Some details take time, and you won’t know until closer to the date.
Good luck with the planning!
Katherine Ellis got married in April 2017.