7 Essential Tips for Making your Guest List


You are probably at the point in your wedding planning process where your wedding date is decided and both your venue and photographer booked. Now it is time to find your dress, decide on your floral arrangements, do your cake tasting, figuring out your guest list…there are a ton of things you and your fiancé have to worry about when planning your wedding day.

This is something that most couples stress over because you don't want to leave anyone out! 

From close family and friends to distant relatives and co-workers, you want all the most important people in your life to attend your wedding. So how are you going to choose who you invite to your wedding without breaking the bank? How can you take your list of 350 people and narrow it down to 200.

Essentially you have to think about who is most important to you and your fiancé. In 10 years from now, when you look back at your wedding album you'll know who each and every person is who attended your wedding. If you do it right, it will go smoothly and no feelings will be hurt by the end of it all.

  1. Divvy up your guest list.

    If you one or both sets of your parents are contributing financially, allow them to get a portion of the guest list. However, things can get a little messy when you have more than just you and your fiancé planning the wedding. So make a set of ground rules when it comes to inviting people to your wedding. If your planning on inviting 200 people to your wedding, give each set of parents about 50 people to invite and then you and your fiancé take the rest.

  2. Make your ultimate guest list.

    Think of every person you would want to be there to celebrate with you. From old high school buddies to members of your Girl Scout troop to that 4th cousin you met at a family reunion 5 years ago and everyone in between. Take all financial and venue matters out of the situation and make the most epic guest list of all time. Later on you can take this list and narrow it down to more of a realistic guest list.

  3. Be realistic with the number of people on your guest list

    If you are realistic with the amount of people you have on your guest list and actually send invites to for your wedding, it will result in way less stress later on down the road. Make sure that your guest list is affordable and don’t go with the mentality of not everyone we invite will be able to make it, because although that will be true, eventually you will have more people invited than originally planned and it will cause more problems down the road.

  4. Have rules to inviting your guests

    The rules that you come up with should also apply when giving others liberty to add to the guest list, like your parents. This will keep the number of guests low and financial cost down.

    1. If neither of you have ever spoken to, met recently, or know of a person, don’t invite them to your wedding

    2. Try and not to invite kids (If you don’t want children at your wedding, it’s okay to have an adults only wedding)

    3. If you haven’t spoken to them in 2-3 years and they aren’t related to either of you, then don’t invite them

  5. Avoid last minute add-ons

    You are going to be talking about your wedding from the minute you say “Yes” until the day it happens. Try avoiding conversations or encounters with people who you don’t plan on inviting to your wedding. If you do run into those awkward situations about your wedding, prepare yourself for them by saying something along the lines of “Although we would love to invite everyone we know, with our budget and venue we aren’t able to.” This will steer the conversation in another direction and get them off the topic of your wedding.

  6. Include names on response cards

    I can only tell you how many times I have heard of people trying to sneak a plus 1, 2 or 5 onto their response card when you only intended on inviting that single person. A good way to avoid having those issues is having the person’s name written on the response card. This avoids extra people being added to your guest list and keeps anyone you don’t intend on inviting to your wedding off the guest.

  7. Make 2 guests lists

    If you are really having trouble getting your guest list down to a number that is financially manageable or a list that you are both comfortable with, then make an A-list and a B-list. The A-list should include the most important people invited to your wedding. Parents, aunts, uncles, bridal party, first cousins, best friends, etc. Then the B-list should include people who you are friends, distant family, work friends, friends of your parents, and your cousins new girlfriend or boyfriend, who you don’t think will be around at the time of your wedding. The B-List is people who you can “fill in” your guest list with.