The “Right” To Be At Your Wedding

September 10, 2023
caroline & luke's winter destination wedding at emily moon, plettenberg bay
south african elopement on robberg nature reserve. sharyn hodges photography

Cutting The Guest List

Helping you make the difficult but necessary cuts

When you envision your wedding day, you probably picture a joyous celebration surrounded by loved ones. However, deciding who gets a coveted spot on your guest list can be one of the trickiest aspects of wedding planning.

Let’s explore the delicate balance of extending invitations to your wedding and the concept of the “right” to be there.

Bridal Appointment Tips


Timeline: From Yes to getting dressed

Most bridal boutiques won’t have your dress ready to take home with you on the day of your appointment. You are most likely going to get a new dress made to order. This will usually take anything between four and eight months. Also don’t forget you will have at least 2 – 3 fittings before you have your final dress.

If your timeline is shorter than the above mention period, take a deep breathe and DO NOT STRESS. Lots of boutiques will have something on “the rack” that will most likely need a few alternations. 

To ease your nerves, ensure that you dress will be in time, phone the boutiques ahead of time to see if your dress will fit in your wedding timeline before you make an appointment.


The Budget

This isn’t set a budget and then blow it. This is really set the budget and stick to it. Wedding dresses vary so drastically in prices you could spend a couple of thousands to a couple of hundred thousands. Be firm!

If you have someone who is buying the dress for you, have this conversation with them beforehand so you both on the same page and of course to avoid disappointment. There is no bigger disappointment than finding your dream dress and then seeing that its out of the budget. It is soul crushing.

Setting the budget means that the sales consultant at the bridal boutiques will only show you those dresses within your budget.

On a PS note about budget, not forget to think about accessories like veils, jewellery, shoes and hair accessories. Be mindful that some alterations could be added. Make sure when you purchase your dress that you are aware of ANY additional cost surprises.


Research: Designers and Bridal Boutiques

My goodness this could be one of those dark rabbit holes. There are thousands of designers and bridal boutiques. Doing some easy research will help narrow down the search for the dream dress.

I would suggest searching on social media, find some photographers pages, look at the dresses, the photographer usually tag all the vendors in their posts. 

Most bridal boutiques won’t have all their dresses online but they will stock the designers. Find your preferred designers and then narrow the search to those boutiques.


Create your Mood Board

The best part! Creating your wedding dress mood board! Pinterest is easiest the easies for this, upload all the dresses you are drawn too. As you go along, the more you add the more you will see a pattern emerge of the fabrics and silhouettes that keep recurring. 


The Entourage  

Just like your wedding guest list, deciding who comes with you during your bridal appointments can really make or break this should be fun and exciting experience.

I can’t stress this enough…..bring people who’s opinions you value the MOST!

The saying too many cooks in the kitchen could not be any truer for choosing your dress. The opinions of too many people could become stressful and confusing!

Think quality over quantity. Two to four people is more than enough. 


Avoid fake tans and heavy makeup

It’s only natural that you would want to feel absolutely SMASHING and GLAMOROUS when trying on wedding dresses, please bear in mind that fake tans and heavy makeup could be easily transferred onto the dress. Lets be kind to the dress and the future brides who want to try on the samples. 

If you feel better tanned, make sure you tanning day is a few days before your appointment so that it has time to settle. And with the make up, remember, a little goes a long way.

If you know more a less how you would like your hair to be done on the day, try and get your hair to resemble that style. It doesn’t need to be done by a professional but you could for example, if you know your hair is an “undo” throw your hair in ponytail. This with give you a realistic idea of how you will look on your wedding day in that dress. Also you can tick off buying hair accessories too.


Smash a burger before you bridal appointment!

If you anything like me, HANGRY is not a good look on me. Wedding dress shopping can be draining and most likely will be the entire day! And lets face it, there is nothing worse than shopping on an empty stomach!

So make sure you schedule a lovely lunch with your entourage and pack those snacks. You have an epic day to get through!


Lastly, be opened minded.

So you have done all the research, stalked wedding photographers pages, found designers, set your budget and created your mood board. You got this!

But there is that annoying but again, be opened minded! Try something that you might not think you would like. Sometimes, just sometimes you land up with something you didn’t expect. But the only way you will know is if you try.

Your body confidence is going to need a boost during this time, wedding dress shopping could be stressful. So give yourself extra extra love during this time.

The “Right” To Be At Your Wedding


1 – Prioritizing Family

2 – Honouring Friendships

3 – Workplace Invitations

4 – Plus-Ones

5 – Childhood Friends and College Buddies

6 – Destination Wedding Considerations

7 – Intimate vs. Grand Celebrations

8 – Communication is Key


Who Has The "Right" To Be At Your Wedding...

1. Prioritizing Family

Family plays a significant role in weddings, and it’s often expected that close family members will attend. While it’s true that immediate family typically gets an automatic invitation, there might still be distant relatives and extended family members to consider. In such cases, it’s essential to prioritize those with whom you have a meaningful connection.

2. Honouring Friendships

Your friends are a significant part of your life, and many of them have likely supported you throughout your relationship. When considering your guest list, think about the friends who have played a crucial role in your journey as a couple. You may also want to include those who have been a constant presence in your life.

3. Workplace Invitations

The decision to invite colleagues or professional acquaintances depends on the relationship you have with them. If you have developed close friendships at work and spend time together outside of the office, it might be appropriate to invite them. However, if your workplace is strictly professional, you can opt to keep your wedding guest list personal.

4. Plus-Ones

Navigating plus-one invitations can be tricky. While some guests may have established relationships, others might be single or dating casually. Consider your budget, the size of your wedding, and your comfort level when deciding whether to offer plus-ones. Etiquette-wise, it’s acceptable to invite established couples or couples you know well.

5. Childhood Friends and College Buddies

Old friends from various stages of life can add a special touch to your wedding. Think about the people who have known you for the longest and have been a part of your journey. These friends often become cherished guests at your wedding.

6. Destination Wedding Considerations

For destination weddings, it’s crucial to be understanding of guests’ limitations, such as travel expenses and time commitments. While you may want to invite everyone, it’s essential to recognize that not everyone may be able to attend due to these constraints.

7. Intimate vs. Grand Celebrations

Consider the size and style of your wedding. If you’re planning a small, intimate gathering, you may need to be more selective with your guest list. Conversely, larger weddings may allow for more extended guest lists.

8. Communication is Key

If you’re concerned about guest expectations or potential misunderstandings, open communication is essential. Talk to close friends and family members about your plans and decisions. This transparency can help prevent hurt feelings and manage expectations.

In Conclusion

The “right” to be at your wedding is a complex and nuanced concept. Ultimately, your wedding guest list should reflect your unique journey as a couple and your vision for your special day. Remember that your wedding is about celebrating your love and commitment, surrounded by those who truly matter to you. While it’s impossible to please everyone, prioritizing those with whom you have a genuine connection will ensure that your wedding day is filled with the warmth and love of those who truly care about your happiness.

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