Creating your wedding guest list is not just about jotting down the names of your favorite people. It’s a strategic decision that significantly impacts the emotion & ambiance of your wedding!
Let’s explore why creating your guest list intentionally matters, delve into my unique perspective as a photographer, and understand how your guest list shapes the mood of your wedding day!
Wedding guests who are positive, supportive individuals, create a joyful ambiance. On the other hand, negative Nancy and critical guests might bring down everyone’s mood!
As your wedding photographer, a peaceful atmosphere allows you as a bride to relax and enjoy every single moment.
If guests are bringing up stressful situations, it doesn’t exactly allow for many opportunities to capture genuinely HAPPY moments.
Believe me when I tell you that stress, anxiety, and frustration are difficult to hide.
Laughter, shared joy, and the love between guests and you as a couple will create the most meaningful images.
This is why I always suggest that our brides have a go-to person on the wedding day, to whom all questions can be directed. Surround yourself with people who will make your wedding day about YOU as a couple, and prioritize your happiness above all else.
Having a wedding coordinator/ planner there to field everything that happens on your wedding day is always so very helpful!
This comfort translates into emotional photographs, as you’ll be able to be yourselves, become vulnerable, and create fun memories together!!
From getting ready together with a supportive group of girlfriends to shedding a few tears with your mom as she helps you into your dress, every moment of your wedding day should be filled with loving people who are there to make your day everything you’ve dreamed of it being!!
My goal as your wedding photographer is to capture not just the posed smiles but the unguarded expressions.
Moments of love, laughter, and (yes) even tears of joy.
These are the moments that make your wedding photos emotional and meaningful. These are the memories you’ll want to relive over and over again! We like happy tears!! 😉
Close family bonds, friendships, and individuals who’ve walked alongside you both through the journey to where you are now are highlighted in your wedding images.
A wedding day can often bring some discomfort from tense family relationships.
As your wedding photographer, I’ll always review with you who you’re closest to, and prioritize capturing photos with those individuals.
If you aren’t super close with your family members, don’t feel bad about being choosy on what moments you’d like to experience with them.
An invitation to your ceremony and reception is different than an invitation to your more intimate moments such as a first look and getting ready moments. Choose what is best for you.
As your wedding photographers, we act like a fly on the way, intentionally looking out for those special moments to capture them in a meaningful way.
I love surprising our couples with fun, sweet moments that they didn’t even get to witness on their wedding day, moments that they’ll get to relive forever in their wedding album!!
I can tell you some of my favorite moments are when no one else is looking.
Expressions on your loved ones face when they don’t even know someone is watching. It’s real, and these are priceless moments, intimate, and so sweet.
Let’s be real. No family is perfect.
There’s not a wedding day that goes by without something not going according to plan or off schedule.
However, I’d focus on ensuring you’re surrounded by people who truly care bout you as a couple, and nothing else will even matter on your wedding day! You’re making memories!!
Creating a harmonious environment allows the focus to remain on what’s important, you as a couple, and the new chapter you’re celebrating!!
From a photographer’s perspective, this peace is essential for capturing relaxed and candid moments, ensuring that every image reflects the joyous spirit of the day.
As a married photography team, we do everything in our power to soak up any stress that arises on a wedding day.
However, surrounding yourself with those who truly support you will go a long way to minimizing unwanted stress and drama!!
After all, you’re investing your time, resources, and money into creating a wedding day that truly celebrates your love. Having such guests will allow you, as the bride and groom to be present, joyful, and loved.
Deciding who you want to invite to your wedding is not easy, because your special day will be a very personal experience that you might not want everybody to take part in.
If you’re uncomfortable sharing conversations with an individual or haven’t seen them in years – perhaps they shouldn’t be invited to such an intimate experience.
If you wouldn’t want a photograph with a certain individual, chances are they shouldn’t be receiving an invite.
When you feel comfortable with the people that are surrounding you on your wedding day, your photos will reflect true joy and connection with your loved ones, not stress or frustration!!
I recommend beginning the discussion regarding any complicated family dynamics as a couple.
This helps ensure that you’re on the same page and can present a unified team to your family members.
Your decisions might not always be popular with your family, but stand firm and trust your gut. You’re allowed to make these decisions, after all, it’s YOUR wedding day!
If your parents are generously helping pay for your wedding, I would suggest having a conversation early on in the list-building process.
This chat should give them an agreed-upon guest count if you’re allowing them to invite guests as well.
Stipulations on who can be invited and other rules should be set out clearly and firmly so the process goes as smoothly as possible.
Most importantly, please don’t forget that you’ll be family forever.
Your relationship is for life, your wedding for one day.
You’re building these family bonds! It’s important to remember that keeping that relationship solid, peaceful, and respectful is key to a happy family dynamic moving forward!!
It’s easiest if you begin your guest list by writing down the names of the people that you simply can’t imagine getting married without them being present in that moment with you.
Start by sitting down with your fiance and asking yourselves, “If we decided that we were going to get married tomorrow morning, who would we call first?”
Some examples would be your parents, siblings, closest friends, your children. These are the people that you talk to every single day of your life. You have an intimate bond with them.
These are the guests that you really, really want to invite to your wedding.
They’re meaningful relationships to you, but if they couldn’t make it for some reason, you’d understand.
Some examples are your grandparents, your nieces and nephews, your closest aunt and uncle, and your wider circle of friends.
Guests that would show up in this category are those you’d like to have at your wedding. These almost might be guests that it would be difficult not to invite.
For instance, all of your aunts and uncles, cousins. Some others might be plus ones of guests, travel buddies, old friends you haven’t seen in a long while, and maybe your closest work pals.
The next list is really for the people that others get a choice of inviting. For instance, your parents if they’re helping pay for your wedding.
Parents often have friends, family members, or acquaintances that they’d enjoy having there even though you don’t have much of a connection with them.
As we talked about before, be sure to set clear boundaries and limit how many they can invite so this list doesn’t get out of hand.
There’s a list that I’d like to recommend you make.
These are the people who would make you sad on your wedding day.
If they will cause almost certain drama, stress, or tears by their presence, I recommend NOT inviting them.
Remember this is an intimate, personal day. It’s YOUR wedding day. You don’t need any “rain clouds” at your wedding, only sunshine and happiness!!
From a photographer’s perspective, a thoughtful guest list enhances the potential for capturing timeless, authentic, and emotionally rich photographs that tell the beautiful story of your celebration.
You want to feel connected to the people you see as you scroll through your gorgeous wedding gallery!!
As you create your dream wedding guest list together, do so with intention, never forgetting YOUR vision for your wedding day.
In doing so, your special day is certain to be filled with love, laughter, and cherished memories with those you hold most dear!
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I'm a Tampa wedding photographer, married to my best friend for 10 years, home-schooling mama, entrepreneur and devoted to inspiring confidence in YOU!!