Wedding Guest List – The “B” List

Making your wedding guest list?  What about a “B” List…

The idea of a “B” list is sort of a touchy subject in wedding planning. But the reality is that sometimes its a necessity if the wedding budget is tight or if there are space limitations at the venue where your wedding wedding reception will take place. [Image Credit: houseofpapier]

Its like this:  you have a total of 465 guests that you really want at your wedding when you include friends, family, family friends, parent’s friends, coworkers, neighbors, on both the bride and groom’s sides. BUT, your reception venue will only hold 400, max. You can’t squeeze more guests into your reception hall than the venue has told you it can hold – don’t even think it.

Doing that could instantly void your contract with your reception hall. This is serious business because generally a reception venue’s maximum capacity is based on fire code, and because of this they simply can not allow extra people on site, beyond their maximum limit; to do so could have serious legal consequences for them, including being shut down.

So if you were thinking, “Awwww, we’ll just invite extra people, and when they all show up, the reception hall manager will have to find a way to accommodate them; they’re not going to turn them away…”.   WRONG.

Extra guests above and beyond the venue’s capacity WILL, by law, be turned away, if the venue is operating on the up and up. You do not want this to be the way your wedding is remembered, trust us.

So that’s where the B list comes in.

Once you’ve created your wedding guest list, and cut it down to the number of guests you can accommodate, it’s a good idea to create a “back up” list or “B” list.

These are guests you’d like to have at the wedding but whom you don’t currently have room to accommodate.  Therefore, they can not invited in the first round of invitations.

You’ll want to put together this back up list so that you can accommodate as many people as possible at your wedding reception without “overbooking” your wedding venue and creating the very awkward and problematic situation where you don’t have room for everyone you have invited.

This isn’t technically a violation of wedding etiquette, its a better option of simply not trying to invite the extras at all. But that said, its also important to be very discrete about this.

Never let guests know you have two lists going. No one wants to think their on your “B” List.

Ideally, you should strive to select a wedding venue based on your overall guest list size, so that the venue will accommodate everybody you’d like to invite – repeat: everyone.   This is in keeping with proper wedding etiquette, good manners, and gracious hosting.

But, sometimes things happen, and for one reason or another coming up a little short of space at the reception venue can’t be avoided. All too often, one way or another, additional names keep creeping onto the guest list after the venue’s been secured. People have new significant others you were’t aware of. You didn’t realize old Aunt Beth from Milwaukee was actually still alive….  You get the idea.  It happens.

Typically, your back-up list will be about 10-15% of the size of your allowed guest list. So, if your wedding reception venue can accommodate 100 guests, the back up list or “B” list should have about 10-15 people on it. This is because, on average, 10 – 15% of the people you invite to your wedding will decline your invitation due to scheduling problems, etc.

Once you’ve made up your back up guest list or “B” list, rank the names of the list in order of priority. Remember that you must always invite the spouse, fiance or live-in partner of any guest you invite.

As people from the “A” list send their regrets, you can send out an invitation to the top person on your back up guest list immediately.

Once again, keep in mind that you want to avoid at all costs making it obvious that someone is on your back-up list. Discretion is the key to making a wedding guest list “B” list workable. Hurt feelings may result otherwise, and that’s to be avoided – no matter what. It’s absolutely doable – just remember: be discrete.

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