A wedding trend we can all get behind: Minimalist Guest Lists


Like anyone in the wedding industry, I love a good trend. They give us just enough guidance to keep our creativity flowing, with an equal outpouring of freedom so we can find our own way through the noise.

So let me present to you a trend I invented all on my own: the minimalist guest list. Minimalism, guest lists, reducing guest lists, are all things I cannot take credit for. But at the end of the year I’m expecting the Wedding Grammys to give me the medal for mashing them all together into the burrito of an idea they are.

Here’s how you can employ this trend for your own benefit. Firstly, you have to admit that your guest list is choc-a-bloc full of awesome individuals, who, in their own right should be at every party, but there’s two reasons why not all of them should be at yours: money and vibe.

I could easily make this post all about the pure dollar amounts involved in peo- ple making their way onto guests lists. There’s that solid “cost per head” fee that the calculator loves and those laser-etched, gold-plated, angel-delivered, wedding invitations that are available today only for $400 per couple.

But money isn’t everything, so I’m going to spend the rest of this column trying to convince you to invite as few people as possible to your pre-marriage party.

Many believe that minimalism is about sacrificing and throwing things out. But that’s only a side effect. Minimalism is about having more of what you do need, exactly what life requires, and a peace about not having everything else. It’s about a fulfilling and stress-free life. Another lovely side effect is that you usually buy less stuff.

So in transposing this Instagram-perfect trend over to your guest list, let me of- fer some suggestions.

  • Not one single human deserves a seat at your wedding. Even if they invited you to theirs, or if they have a place on your family tree, or if they were in your MySpace top 8. No-one deserves it. It’s an honour to be your friend and a greater honour to be invited to celebrate life and all of it’s blessings.
  • No-one “should” be there. There’s no secret number of people required to celebrate a marriage, and in my personal opinion, once you start get- ting over 50 you’ll be able to chat to less and less of them.
  • Everyone on that list should be a need, not a want. Everyone you are inviting should be a blessing to you, they should fill up your cup, put a smile on your face, and generally make your life better. They are that awesome that you need them to be at your wedding. If they sent a “sorry, can’t make it” text on the day would you be genuinely sad?
  • Does everyone coming to the event add to it. Are they more likely to cheer the ceremony on instead of Instagram it? When they call you does your face light up or do you screen the call?
  • If you were out to dinner with the guest, and the dinner cost the same as the wedding catering, would you happily pay it for the opportunity to spend your evening with them?
  • Decluttering helps you breathe in your own home. Are these people clutter in your life and at your wedding? Or do they serve a purpose in your life?

One final measure of “should we or shouldn’t we?” is the phone test.

Pick up your phone, unless you’re reading this on it right now, then read the rest of this sentence and do this: scroll through your recent and missed calls, your text message history, Messenger, Instagram, and Snapchat notifications. Who are those people? I’m sure this list of people is missing a few important humans you don’t talk to every day, but the people who are already celebrating you and your life are the kind of people you want at your wedding, not the second-cousin you’ll offend even though you don’t have them on Facebook.

I hope your minimalist guest list gives you room to breathe on your day, space to dance, and a focus on what matters. You might have a more intimate celebration that didn’t keep up with the Jones’ but I’ll bet it meant something to you and your marriage started off on a better foot.

Carly Tia


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