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From the Experts, Wedding Planning Tips

How to Narrow Down the Wedding Guest List (Part 1)

This week, our QC Event School tutor, Heather Vickery, provides us with tips on narrowing down the guest list and saving money. Heather is the Owner and Event Director of Greatest Expectations Special Events and Weddings, one of Chicago’s most celebrated event planning and design firms.

Every client has a budget. Whether that budget is $10,000 or $500,000, it is still a budget, and in nearly all cases, there are times where you have to “cut back” to make that budget work. One of a planner’s most important jobs is helping clients think of creative ways to trim the fat and still have the wedding or event of their dreams.

In many cases, the most effective way to reduce costs and stay on track with the budget is to fine-tune the guest list. Some tips you can share with your clients include:

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One thing I do not suggest to couples is creating an A and B guest list. This requires so much additional work! You are required to have extra invitations (but you never really know how many extra you will need) and two sets of response cards with different response dates. When people receive their invitations really close to the wedding date, they know they are on the B list and that can lead to a lot of hurt feelings. It’s best to avoid this option altogether.

To help your couples truly visualize their guest list, I suggest they use a free tool like the ones offered by WeddingWire. This is a great way to keep everything together, sort responses, and then start the tedious process of placing guests at specific tables. It even helps couples track gifts and thank you notes!

If your clients are not able to cut the guest list down but still need to find creative ways to stay within a budget, try suggesting these creative ceremony and reception ideas:

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Stay tuned for Part 2 of Heather’s tips on narrowing down the guest list – and learn her other cost-saving tips!

Find out which areas to spend and where to save with your wedding budget!

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