When you’re planning a fancy event, before you can nail down any other serious plans, you need a sense of how many attendees you’re likely to have. Bloated guest lists are common, because people have a desire to share their happy occasion with as many friends and family as possible. Ultimately, though, you probably don’t want such a throng that your guests have difficulty socializing and you have a hard time seeing everyone. Here’s how to keep your list of guests to a manageable level.
Evaluate your Relationships
If you live near the guests, do you actually make time to see each other? If you don’t live near the guests, do they make time to see you when you’re in their neighborhood? If the answer to either of these questions is “No,” then these are probably not people that you need to have at your party, particularly if even costs are high. Learn to recognize when a relationship isn’t a close one, and save the seats for your dearer friends and family.
“Friends” or Just “Co-Workers?”
Most of us spend the bulk of our waking hours at work, and our co-workers become our most common and regular associations. Regardless of the event, wanting to invite the folks you spend all day with is only natural. Particularly if you’re a small business. But ask yourself in each case: Would I spend time with this person if not for the job? Would I still see this person if I left the job? You may find that—despite being together day-in and day-out—you don’t actually have so much in common with these folks after all. So unless there are political concerns, they don’t really merit an invite.
Most of your friends and family members will want to bring a guest of their own to a party. But you shouldn’t feel like you have to extend that option to everyone. You probably know who should receive a “plus one” invitation and who shouldn’t. If a guest has a long-term significant other that you know certainly extend a “plus one.” If, however, a guest is perennially unattached and will just use a “plus one” to bring their SO-of-the-month who nobody knows, don’t feel obliged to bloat your guest list beyond the initial invite. Nobody wants to see a stranger’s name in their guest book.
When it’s your party, you can unabashedly set the rules. Invite the people you want, and celebrate!