Wedding Parties, Guest Lists & How to Say No to your Mother

This post is all about how to deal with the non-material side of your wedding planning.  Afterall, the more people you have in your wedding party and the more people you invite – the more expensive it will be.



If you plan it right, adding multiple bridesmaids and groomsmen may not increase your costs on paper.  But consider how much your time is worth and how much extra work is added for flower girls, ring bearers and 12 maids and groomsmen.  I am NOT saying your friends and family aren’t worth it.  I’m just saying you need to be practical about how much you’re spending on phone calls, wardrobe coordination, rehearsal, etc, etc.  Now, if you come from a large family or really do have 12 best friends, then of course, it’s appropriate to include them all if that’s what you want.  I’m not here to tell you to cut your sister from the team because you’re afraid of raising costs.  Just think about who is truly important in your life and choose accordingly.

Marianne Taylor Photography


My husband and I were working at the same company when we became engaged.  A large company.  Which he had been working at for 15+ years.  So when we started thinking about what kind of wedding we wanted, the subject of who to invite from work was a big one.  We start two lists:

  • A List:  Immediate family, very close friends (40-50 people)
  • B List:  Work friends/colleagues (90+ people)

The choice became very clear when we thought about venue costs and catering (the largest items that are affected by your guest count).  If we just invited the A List, catering would be $2,000.  If we added on the B List, it would jump to $5,800.  Since we were trying to stay under a $10,000 budget, the choice became very clear.  A small wedding it was.  And we don’t regret our choice at all.  We were actually able to say hello and spend time with every single person who attended.

If you really want that List B to celebrate with you, opt for a low-key gathering at your house after the fact.  Have a “celebrate our 1 week anniversary with us!” party or a “we’ve been married 1 month, hooray!” shindig.  It’s a nice way to include friends who couldn’t make the actual ceremony.

SkyeArt by Amy Giacomelli


First off, you can insert anyone into the “mother” category here.  But in my experience as an invitation designer,  it tends to be dear-ole-mom who is most excited and therefore most involved.  My mom was truly amazing – lent a hand when asked, but didn’t try to tell me how to do everything.  But since you all can’t have my mom (she’s mine – back off), here are some helpful hints:

  • LISTEN & BE PATIENT.  Your mom may want input and wether you want it or not, give her a chance and hear her out.  If you hate her ideas, try phrases like “Thanks mom, that’s so cool that you want to be involved – I’ll definitely let you know when I need some help” or “I agree, summer is a great time for a wedding – but I was thinking autumn might be more of our style.”
  • REMEMBER SHE’S EXCITED TOO.  OMG, her little girl is getting marrrrrrried!!!!  Remember that your mom (hopefully) is really excited too.  She’s probably been waiting to plan this event since you were six.  Again, but nice and hear her out.  But don’t feel like you have to give in to every idea or suggestion.
  • GET MOM INVOLVED.  You know how to get her off of the “I can’t believe your not getting married in white!?!” rant?  Give her something else to focus on.  Perhaps get a little sneaky and give her something you yourself don’t want to do (taking RSVP’s is a good one or following up with family who haven’t replied yet).
  • ASK HER OPINION.  Even if you don’t end up taking it, it’s such an easy way to get her involved and make her feel like part of the process.
  • JUST BECAUSE SHE’S PAYING…  Don’t let her hold that over you.  I hear countless brides tell me they really want one thing, but mother is paying so we have to do what she wants.  It always breaks my heart a little.  Compromise is a great word.  So is telling your mom the truth about what is going to make you happy on your wedding day.

STAY TUNED TOMORROW :: How to Host a Fabulous Reception without Breaking the Bank


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