For many, creating a guest list is one of the most difficult aspects of wedding planning. Throw A and B wedding guest lists in there, and you’ve got a recipe for confusion and potential etiquette concerns. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
In a perfect world, you would have the means to invite every single person you care about to your wedding. Unfortunately, budgeting constraints mean that, in reality, it probably isn’t an option. Enter A and B lists. These can be the perfect way to ensure as many of your loved ones attend as possible! Your A-list will include your immediate family and close friends (i.e. anyone you can’t imagine NOT being there). Conversely, your B-list will include those you’d love to invite but may not be able to accommodate due to a limited budget or venue space. So, if any guests on your A-list decline attendance, you can send out another round of invitations to your first-choice B-listers.
Of course, with all of the swapping and keeping track of who’s RSVP’d and how, these lists can get a bit confusing! That’s why I want to share these six tips for smoothly and tactfully handling your A and B wedding guest lists. You’ll be an expert invitation wrangler in no time!
At the very start of the planning process, create a guest list that includes every person you’d like to invite to your wedding. Then, divide it into two according to the categories outlined above. Your B-list guests should be organized in order of importance. That way, those who were close to making the A-list will be the first to receive an invitation when one of your A-listers declines. For example, if 5 people from your A-list reply with regrets, then you can head straight to your B-list and invite the first 5 people off the top.
This is absolutely crucial if you want your B-listers to be able to attend. Send your first round of invitations to your A-listers about 10-12 weeks ahead of the big day. Then, at eight weeks to go, tally up your guest count. Pay attention to the number of declines and send invitations to a corresponding amount of people on your B-list. Note that you should order RSVP cards with two different reply-by dates in order to give your B-listers enough time to respond.
You already know that you should print two different sets of RSVP cards. But when should your A-listers provide a response vs. your B-listers? I recommend setting a response date for your A-listers no later than eight weeks prior to your wedding day (the same week you’ll mail out invitations to your B-listers). This will provide everyone on that list with four weeks to receive your invitation, think through any necessary travel arrangements, and respond. The response date for your B-listers, then, should fall 3-4 weeks before your wedding to give them the same amount of time. And you’ll still have a sufficient window to provide a final headcount to your caterer.
Out of courtesy, your out-of-town guests should receive early invites due to travel considerations. And this will be of benefit to you! Once any out-of-town A-listers decline attendance, you’ll have even more time to fill their spots with folks from your B-list.
This is another means of being courteous to your guests. As we’ve all witnessed and experienced, people who know each other tend to flock together at large events such as weddings. So, the last thing you want to do is cause hurt feelings when one of your college buddies realizes they were on the B-list while everyone else in your group of friends made the A-list. To avoid this, be careful to place ‘groups’ on the same list, whether A or B.
Unfortunately, stragglers are almost a given when it comes to collecting RSVPs for ANY event, not just weddings. But, it’s important not to allow these people to interfere with sending out your B-list invitations in a timely manner. Immediately after your cutoff date, make a phone call to your guests who haven’t responded. Sometimes, a lack of response just means that an invitation or RSVP card got lost in the mail. If after a second call you’ve still received no response, leave a message. Indicate that if you don’t hear from them by a certain date, you will mark them as a ‘no’ and miss seeing them.
And there you have it! A and B wedding guest lists don’t have to be a headache as long as you get organized early and stick to a timeline. Just diving into the planning process and need someone to design one-of-a-kind stationery for your special day? I’m your gal! I would love the opportunity to talk you through the custom and semi-custom suites on offer at Turnage and Watts. Inquire today!