When the Man and I first started talking about wedding plans, the guest list was a big concern. We want to keep things small, but still be able to invite our close friends and family. Since we are paying for everything ourselves (at least, that's how we're planning) we knew we couldn't afford to invite everyone we wanted... and certainly couldn't afford to invite everyone our parents wanted to either.
I emailed our folks right off the bat, back in November, asking who their "must haves" would be. After some discussion-- we agreed on a very tenative list... and already we're topping 80 people!
I expect our list will change a bit over the next few months (oh who am I kidding, we still have about a year and a half before the big day!) but it's nice to have a general idea of our "count." I started compiling addresses at Christmas when we sent out Christmas cards, and that prompted the creation of my master spreadsheet (more on that later).
I'm sure it will get more difficult keeping the guest list small... especially considering most people aren't even thinking about our wedding since it's so far out..but as we get closer to time and everything becomes more "real" we may have to practice the spiel I told Dear Mother to keep in mind when people ask if they're invited:
"I'm so glad you want to celebrate with us! Since we're having to keep the wedding small to fit our budget, maybe we can get together for dinner to celebrate when things calm down a bit?"
For other brides-to-be out there, how did you keep your guest list in check? How did you choose who "made the cut"?