The other day I had a phone meeting with one of "my" 2013 brides. I could hear the stress in her voice. The source? The guest list. It was too big for her venue and her budget. But she couldn't stomach The Cuts. Can you relate?
After sputtering about how I was sure it would be ok, I actually remembered something useful for dealing with your huge guest list. She seemed relieved with our plan. I was so proud of us for being phone geniuses that I decided to brag about our awesome wisdom on tackling the dreaded Guest List Cuts.
Instead of "cutting" people, we decided to tackle it from the other side. If you'd like to try it yourself, grab a bunch of different colors of highlighters or markers that won't make your list disappear. Go get your big, intimidating guest list. Maybe also grab a glass of wine.
Step 1: Grab your first marker. Highlight those people on your list who absolutely, positively MUST come to your wedding or you'll cry and cry for days.
Step 2: Grab another highlighter color. Include anyone who wasn't included in step 1, but will definitely be invited to the wedding. If your families are contributing to your wedding (and guest list), this category is for you.
Step 3: Grab another color. The next category are the people you guys would really, really like to have at your wedding.
Keep this up until everyone on your guest list has a color/category.
Your venue and your budget "should" definitely allow for everyone highlighted in at least the first two colors you picked (preferably more). I know that this doesn't change the reality of your situation. It just (hopefully) makes it easier to address.
One final thought - as you receive RSVPs from people who are unable to attend, it's OK to invite some of those (preferably local) people you couldn't quite squeeze in on the first round.