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Keeping the guest list under control More than a few brides-to-be have gone to war over their guest lists. (Do you have to invite all of your coworkers? Must you give friends a plus one? Can you add "no kids" to your invite? Uninvited friends who already received a save-the-date? When you're facing a tight budget (as most brides are), there needs to be a cut-off.

Keeping the guest count under control is a challenge for every bride. If you worked in a much larger office or had been tight-lipped about your plans, you could get away with just inviting your boss (or in a big company, just your department). But think about it: How would you feel if your co-workers had been talking about a party for a year—and then didn't invite you? Same holds true here. Because you've been chatting up your wedding, and because you're part of such a small staff, you've got to invite the whole crew. Five people isn't that many in the whole scheme of things. One way you can keep a lid on the number is to only invite escorts for single guests who are in longterm relationships.

You're expected to invite the spouses, fiancés, live-in partners, and serious beaus of your guests, but anyone less committed can fly solo. Just make sure that what you think of as "less committed" mirrors the sentiment of the guest that falls into that gray area, to avoid offending someone who's fallen headover-heels in the last three weeks. Ask a trusted friend if you aren't positive about someone's dating status. Rest assured that at least one or two of your single pals will call and ask about bringing a tag-along. If they do, tell them that you simply can't accommodate any extra guests. If they refuse to come without a date, then so be it. Invite someone else who might turn out to be a better friend in the long run. A wedding isn't a book-club meeting. There's sure to be one disappointment that day: a friend whose babysitter cancels or a relative who has a travelrelated snafu. Your guest may decide it would be better not to disturb you on the morning of your wedding. (This is why there are florists and liquor stores that will bundle something lovely to give with the bad news.) If the guest still sends a gift—as is proper—your thank-you note could include a line about how you were racked with worry that something terrible had happened. This will make you feel better (and perhaps teach the guest a lesson). If you are so hurt you can't stop thinking about the slight, let the guest know it, but not in anger, nor while intoxicated. Take the high road! Get two things for the price of one: Your florist can design breakaway centerpieces, so each guest can take home a tiny bouquet of flowers or a pretty plant. And some of the most guest-pleasing favors—a sweet little bag of candy, tiny packets of flower seeds—are also some of the least expensive. Lastly, some brides opt for making a donation to their favorite charity, and print up cards that read: "In lieu of a favor, a donation has been made to the ASPCA." You'll help out a good cause with the money spent, and your guests will be touched by your generous spirit.

Keeping the guest list under control  
Keeping the guest list under control