Ask anyone who has ever attended or organized a South East Asian wedding and they will tell you what an important almost focal role numbers play when it comes to the guests invited to a wedding. Too few and the word is out that you were penny pinching, too many and the relative snigger that you are being a show off. What does one have to do in a situation like this? Well, practically speaking the number of guests invited to your wedding function is directly proportional to two things. The kind of ceremony you want (big or small, loud or discreet, private or public) and your budget.
So before you task yourself with that mammoth challenge of making a wedding guest list where inevitably someone like your distant cousin's maasi's daughter will be forgotten and the next door neighbor Sharma ji's daughter in-law would take it for granted to bring in her parents, it is best to decide and voice out to your guests the kind of function you are planning to have.
Once you have zeroed in the location it is also important to gauge how many guests can the place comfortably accommodate. It is not rare for people who hold more than two wedding functions to distribute their guests depending on different occasions. The closest of the lot get to be invited for everything from mehendi to cocktails but it is not necessary to expect the ones coming from out of own to arrive a week in advance to be part of all the ceremonies. Its best to call them up and say that while smaller ceremonies begin a week in advance, you value their time and would appreciate if they can make to the bigger functions at least.
Be upfront to tell your guests that the reception or the cocktail night is a gathering of just a few relatives if you want to keep it low key. However in case you have only two or one function to mark the occasion do not feel compelled to invite the entire village and their relatives. The best way to begin is to draft a close group of list starting from family, relatives, friends, colleagues, neighbours and acquaintances. After you have this list ready decide who are people you haven't seen in more than two years. Unless they are close ones staying abroad, if you haven't bothered to meet the ones in the same city in two years there seems scarcely any reason to invite them. However in this age of social media it can be polite thing to announce once you have tied the knot on your social media platform and seek blessings. No body will hold it against you for a lack of invitation.
Another important thing to consider before drawing a huge list is whether you can manage to pay attention to all the invitees. Having a small gathering where each guest feels welcomed and important is better than having a large party where the guest almost feels lost and overwhelmed.