My clients know how important I feel the guest list is to the party planning process. When booking my planning services, clients know that I require the first draft of a guest list in order to start the planning process.
Recently, I had a couple come to me with their entire wedding completely planned. I assumed they wanted day-of services seeing that the planning was finished. I quickly learned that they made a cardinal mistake when planning a wedding (or any party for that matter): They waited until the end to finalize the guest list.
Planning on inviting between 120-140 people, they booked a beautiful, expensive reception hall, picked out the most gorgeous stationary, and even ordered expensive Waterford crystal favors (they were a close-out bargain that they didn’t want to lose- and if needed, could not order more). Everything fit perfectly into their budget.
Then, they put their guest list on paper- the initial draft came out to a whopping 440 people! Even after every cut possible, the list was still at 220. The reception hall could only hold 140 people.
In the end, 228 people were invited, and 184 responded that they were attending. After a lot of emergency planning, a new reception venue was located, and the Waterford was sold on e-bay to make way for a less expensive favor. In the end, some deposits were lost and the budget grew by 30%.
All of the this could have been avoided if the bride and groom created the first draft of their guest list in the beginning stages of planning.
(Thanks to Tom and Katie for letting me share their story. They hope that everyone learns from their costly mistake).