Besides your budget, the guest list is probably the biggest deciding factor in what your wedding will be. It will also most likely be one of your biggest headaches.  From uninvited plus ones to your parents inviting everyone they’ve ever met, the odds are you are going to run into some kind of drama. Here are some ways to deal with common issues.

Kids:   Personally, taking my kid to a wedding is pretty far down on my list of things that sound fun (I would say on par with going to the dentist), but not all parents agree. As a matter of fact, some will get downright insulted if you don’t include their children. The thing is, it’s your wedding. You don’t want kids there, don’t invite them. People will get over it….or make a huge deal about it and possibly bring them anyways. A good way to combat this is to offer babysitting services during the reception.  You can usually find a family friend to watch some kids at a hotel for a cheaper price (which you can cover or not, you are doing them a favor just by setting it up so don’t feel pressure), and that way anyone who can’t find a sitter has another option besides ruining your wedding. (Joke. I promise if a stray kid ends up at your wedding, you probably won’t even realize they are there.)

Plus ones: It’s always nice to give everyone a guest…until you can’t invite your best friend from work because there’s a chance your cousin Bobby might meet someone in the next two months. You really don’t have to invite every person with a guest if it means having to leave off other people you care about. A good rule of thumb is to give one to anyone who is in a serious relationship, has to travel or won’t know many people.  If anyone makes a fuss, tell them you had to consider room capacity and are waiting for the final count before determining guests. And then ignore their phone calls.

Parent’s List: Parents looooove to show off at their kids weddings, they’ll invite their secretary from tihree jobs ago if you don’t put your foot down. It’s important to sit down with them (separately) at the very beginning and establish exactly how the guest list will be split up. While finances are something to be taken into consideration, you should still keep it somewhat fair between both sides.  Don’t allow one side to eclipse the other just because they are paying, although you can also offer to let the non-paying side cover their own friends if it’s not in your budget.  My best advice is if money and space aren’t an issue, let them invite whoever they want (within reason). It will keep them happy, not to mention their friends are pretty likely to give you a good gift.

 The most important thing with the guest list is picking your battles. If someone is adament about bringing someone and it’s not *that* big of a deal, let them. It’s not worth losing sleep (or a friend) over, nor the odds that you’re having so much fun you’ll never notice…
And keep reminding yourself…it’s a party, your party!