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Charlotte Balbier’s wedding diary: getting the guest list right

How do you decide who makes the list for the most important day of your life? Wedding dress designer (and bride-to-be) Charlotte Balbier offers advice

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Photography by 3objectives. Styled by Claire Smith.

Although time is flying by, Teddy and I are thankfully beginning to tick things off our wedding to-do list. But one rather BIG thing we still have to do is the guest list. And it’s one very important task all brides have to face. I must admit it’s somewhat daunting to say the least. Where do we start? And of course more importantly, where do we finish? We simply can’t put it off any longer.

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In an ideal world it would be so lovely to have all your close friends, family and work colleagues at your wedding but with budget in place and venue’s capacity to bear in mind, it’s not always realistic. So the inevitable happens and you have no choice but to be practical and pick and choose who you invite and who you don’t.

Teddy and I debated how we were going to make these tough choices. Do you go with tradition and split the guest list equally between the bride and groom or do you take the modern approach and split it in a way that suits you as a couple, even if that means one of you ends up with more guests than the other? And what about your parents’ friends? I know a lot of my brides find this the most tricky guest list conundrum to navigate. There is also the question of do you split the list in to day and night guests? Do you include children and what about plus ones?

So Teddy and I decided there would be no sitting on the fence. We’d be honest with ourselves and each other and won’t invite people because we feel we have to. I made a few rules when making my list (and when ‘supervising’ Teddy’s list – he has so many friends, I feel like Billy No Mates!) and we started to draft our list.

First off was a compromise when it came to day and evening guests. I have always said strictly no night guests – I wanted people to be there to enjoy the whole day of celebrations. But we realised we simply can’t fit everyone in all day. That made the plus-one do or don’t debate simple. Don’t I say! Who wants a complete stranger at your wedding? Not me thank you! The same applies to extended family and long lost relatives. Only invite the ones who either you or your parents want there. There’s nothing worse than a family feud or an atmosphere at a wedding between rellies who are long lost for a reason.

The next big choice was to say strictly no children. As much as I love babies and little ones, I want our day to be an adult only affair. We have made an exception for our gorgeous little flowergirls, Georgia and Liv, but their grandparents will whisk them away before the wedding breakfast. This was actually their parents’ idea and not ours as they want the day and night to themselves!

The last factor in deciding our guest list was how many invites to hand over to our parents. The more we plan the wedding the more I realise I am a traditional kind of bride and for me it was never an option not to invite all my parents’ and grandparents’ friends as well as my own. Having people at the wedding who have known Teddy and I all of our lives is not only important to us, but also to our parents and I really do believe your wedding is as much your parents’ day as it is yours. I see it as their last chance to ‘show you off’ so to speak and it’s such a proud and emotional day for them. So of course they want all of their family and friends there to share it.

So now the tricky business of deciding who makes the list is done and dusted, I can get started with the exciting job of choosing stationery. I can’t wait to share my plans with you next time.

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Much love, Charlotte xx