Indian wedding is a mega event which focuses on innumerable traditional, religious and cultural practices involving not only the couple but also expected to mobilize both the families, distant relatives, friends and even neighbors as participants. The rituals start 2-3 days before the wedding and continue until the reception. Each event like engagement, sangeet, mehendi, wedding, and reception, to name the main ones, are by themselves an occasion of mass celebration involving lavish food, music, and dance. Exhilarating as these events might be, they are a financial drain on the host, be it the couple or their parents.

It is therefore sensible to strictly stick to a budget keeping a buffer of about 20% for unforeseen expenditures.

If the budget has to work then it would be necessary to draw a line on the invites for the various functions. Keep in mind that everyone does not need to attend all the functions but people who attend the ceremonies will be attending the reception. Here are a few points you could refer while planning the guest list for a wedding:

If yours is a destination wedding, where all events are scheduled at a selected venue, then it would not be possible to select a few guests for some functions and a larger number for the reception. You just have to have a specific number of guests at the location that would be with you for all the events.

To chalk out the guest list one has to keep in mind that is paying for the event. If the couple is paying then they would like to keep the immediate family and some of their close friends. If the parents are paying then they may have extended family members and friends along with a few business associates as well. In this case, you may have to invite everyone to everything and send out one invitation that would have all the details.

For now destination weddings, you should get a different page of invites for different ceremonies. All guests would get the invitation for the reception but selected ones get an invitation for engagement/ Mehendi / sangeet etc. All cards should have RSVP separately attached. Those invited for reception get one card while those invited for the functions get the other invitations as well. Make sure that the wordings of the reception card are framed such that the guests know that the couple is already married.

Making a selective guest list is by itself a Herculean task and involves many sentimental issues within the family. It would be best for you to do your own homework on the guest list before involving others. You have a choice of either working with your partner or only your parents depending on your comfortability. It would be best to start with your immediate family members and then move to the extended family. Follow the thumb rule that if one uncle or aunt gets invited then all do. Then move to first cousins and to second cousins.

If it’s a small family then this would work well but for a large family, you may have to cut off after first cousins. Similarly, start the friend's list with those who simply have to be at the wedding and then move to those who can be considered. Children are generally not included where formal relations are there eg business associates, neighbors but for family, it is assumed, that they are all going to be present with their parents in an Indian wedding.

For friends who had invited you to their wedding recently and which you probably attended, you may have to return the favor by inviting the couple. However, you could safely omit those who invited you a long time ago and with whom you lost contact for quite some time. For friends who are engaged or maybe in a relationship of which you are aware you should give a plus one invitation.

Wedding venues in Delhi NCR are customized to Indian weddings where guests can swell up to 5000 or more. It’s ultimately up to the host and his budget to decide on the number of guests for the reception. The other functions could be organized in separate halls of the same venue or you could think of some smaller location like the party hall in south Delhi, which can accommodate a hundred or more. This may be ideal for close-knit family and friends getting together for Mehendi or engagement ceremony.

Certainly, wedding events would lose their fun and luster without the presence of family and friends! With a little management on the guest list, one can ensure that you get the company and blessings of all friends and family without hurting the sentiments of anyone and at the same time stay within the budget.

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