Wedfuly’s Top 5 Tips for Creating a Hybrid Wedding Guest List

Blog, Wedding Advice

Help! I Don’t Know Where to Begin!

So, you’ve landed on the final decision of having a hybrid wedding. Congrats! You’ve made the initial challenging decision. But now you’re stuck wondering…how in the world do I go about creating this guest list? Who should I invite to the virtual wedding? And who should I invite to the in person wedding? Fear not–we’ve got you covered. We have watched hundreds of couples walk through this process and successfully pull off a hybrid wedding–while keeping their many relationships intact. In this post, we will teach you how to apply these basic etiquette rules to your guest list. When you’re finished, you can rest easy knowing that you made the right choices.

#1–Know the Numbers

First things, first let’s talk numbers. For some folks a small wedding would be 100 of their ‘closest’ friends, others might say it would be 10 people. The term ‘small wedding’ can be rather subjective. However, according to  this etiquette post by Martha Stewart, a small wedding is considered less than 50 people. This is what we call a hybrid or micro wedding. Additionally, a medium wedding is considered between 50-100 people and a large wedding is considered to be over 150 guests. The first thing for you & your fiance to consider are your families. If one (or both) of you come from big families, chances are your guest list will be on the higher side. If you both come from small families, you might be able to get away with a guest count of 15 people. However, we’ve seen both types of micro weddings are they are equally lovely.

Some couples decide to keep their wedding super small by inviting ALL of their guests virtually.
Other couples, like Marlin and Arlene, decide to invite a larger number of guests to their in person celebration.

#2–Decide Your Plan of Action for In Person Guests

The first step in all of this is to sit down with your partner and decide on a final head count. This should be a number that you are both comfortable with and will keep you within budget. **Keep in mind, the lower your guest count the better chance you will have to splurge on certain items/food that you want. Next, apply the  “all or nothing” rule –Martha Stewart’s etiquette blog says. This essentially means that if you invite one aunt on your side of the family, then you should invite the other. However, this doesn’t necessarily apply to both sides. You might be a lot closer to your family than your partner is. Now the tricky part–deciding how to split the guest list. In this blog post we cover this topic in detail. Essentially, invite your nearest + dearest. Make it clear from the get go that it is going to be a small wedding and people will understand. It is YOUR day! 

The first step in planning your hybrid wedding is to decide on a total head count for your in person celebration.

#3– Address Your Hybrid Wedding Invitations Like a Pro

When thinking through your hybrid wedding invitations, it is probably best to send out two different versions. One invitation will make it clear to your guests that they will attend virtually. The other will have more detailed information about the physical location of the wedding. Additionally, save the dates should also be clear about this as well. This way, your guests will be able to plan accordingly. When addressing the envelope of your invitations, Martha Stewart’s etiquette blog says that it is improper etiquette to put “adults only” on your invitations. Instead, the more gracious way is to only list the adult names on the envelope and that will get the point across. Lastly, this post will give you an in depth look at virtual wedding invitations and how to word them.

When creating invitations for your hybrid weddings, it is best to create 2 separate versions.

#4–Skip the B-List Invites

According to the general rule when planning for your total headcount is that 83% of people will accept and 17% will decline. This ratio will help you determine what your estimated guest count will be. In addition to that, Martha Stewart’s etiquette blog recommends skipping the B-list invites, as people will generally know that they are a second round invite. However, she shares that one exception is if you have a really large family and some can’t attend. In that case, guests will just be grateful they get the chance to celebrate with you. Finally, make it clear if guests are given a plus one. If they add another guest to the RSVP, you can simply give them a phone call and politely explain that you are trying to keep numbers down.

Emily and Eric decided to invite immediate family and 1 maid of honor + 1 best man to their hybrid wedding.

#5–Spend Quality Time With Your Virtual Guests at Your Hybrid Wedding

From the very beginning of your communication with your virtual guests, emphasize how important their participation is to you. Then, when planning the structure of your virtual wedding make sure it includes time for you to interact with your virtual guests. This could be through breakout rooms or various points of participation throughout the ceremony and reception. Additionally, encourage your guests to gather in groups and host “watch parties”. This really elevates the level of engagement and spirit of celebration. And last but not least, TRUST US when we say that your virtual guests are going to have an absolute blast at your hybrid wedding. 

Spending time with your virtual guests is KEY to a successful hybrid wedding.

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