Published July 3rd, 2012

Graphic by Jen Pepper

As a wedding photographer, I’ve seen all sizes of weddings – from the super-small and intimate to ones so massive you wonder how one couple could know so many people. For our wedding at French’s Point later this month, Silas and I knew we wanted to keep our guest list on the small side. We feel like the more people you cram into your wedding, the less time you can spend with any one person, and it was really important to us to hang out with people we are close to rather than distant friends and relatives. Also, we’re from a couple of hours drive away in New Hampshire and some of our guests come from even further, so we asked around and potential guests that told us their family or work commitments wouldn’t allow them to come were taken off of the draft guest list right off the bat.

Early in the planning process, my fiancé and I made a list of who absolutely has to be there. These are the people we felt we couldn’t live without. The way we conceived of it was, who would we notice was missing, if we looked around the reception? Once we did that list we had just about the right amount of people – our goal was 75 invited, and that’s pretty much what we hit. I trimmed a few more people on my side than Silas because his family is larger than mine and his parents had asked that all of their siblings – Silas’s aunts and uncles – be in attendance.

The biggest challenge was deciding whether to allow kids at the wedding. I personally didn’t want kids there, because as a photographer I’ve worked a lot of weddings where the kids are running around terrorizing people and the baby starts to cry during the ceremony. Ugh. But having exclusively adults got tricky pretty fast because over this past year a few of our close friend have had babies. Plus, Silas’s nieces and nephews range from six to 15 years old. I decided I didn’t want to exclude those close friends and family because they have children, or because they are children themselves. In the end, I think this was the right decision for the close family and friend gathering that we want.

My advice is, when considering your guest list, try and be flexible with the details as long as you make sure all the important people are present. The most critical thing is to figure out who you want to spend that day with.  In the end, Silas and I hit our final target exactly – 65 RSVP’d guests – and I’m so looking forward to seeing every single one of them.

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