Oh the guest list, the root of all evil. JUST KIDDING but really I understand that it can be a stressor. Actually, the other day my fiancé told me that our guest list is “keeping him up at night.” I had no idea it was this big of a worry to him and I realized this is probably more of a stressor than I realized.

Your guest list can impact a lot of other details because how many people you invite means you need more invitations, more meals, potentially more security, a smaller or bigger venue, more centerpieces, etc. It’s important to at least draft your guest list early on in your engagement so you can have a better idea of what you need to budget for food, alcohol, and invitations. The more people you invite, the more money you are going to spend and possibly may need to upgrade your venue if it doesn’t hold all of your guests. So before I give you a heart attack from all the stress, here is 8 easy tips and things to consider when creating your guest list.

  1. Family

Your family is most likely going to be the bulk of your guest list. Stat by listing your immediate family: parents, grandparents, siblings and their children (unless you are planning a no kids wedding) Consider inviting your aunts, uncles and cousins that you’re close to. Make sure to gather a list of your fiancés immediate family members as well.

2. FRiends

Think of your childhood friends that you are still close to, friends from college and any other friends you speak to on a regular basis. If you are having a hard time deciding who to invite, the best advice I have been told is to make a list of who you think you will still be in touch with in 5 years. If you know you will still be in each others life 5 years from now, then definitely invite them!

3. Co-workers

Chances are if you have worked for the company for a while, you have created some friendships. If you have worked for the company for a while, you may want to consider inviting co-workers and even your boss. If it is a small company and your guest list allows, consider inviting the whole office. If you work for a large company and its hard to decide, consider the people in your department that you interact with every day. Another good rule is to think “do I hang out with this person outside or work?” Also, think about how often you talk to them outside of work hours and about non-related work topics. If you remain in touch after work hours whether by spending time together or texting, this is probably a friend you would want to consider inviting.

4. Plus-Ones

It’s safe to say that you should allow plus-ones for any guest who is married, even if you’re not close to their spouse. If you’re friend is engaged or in a long-term relationship (I say longer than 1 year) you should definitely allow a plus-one. For single guests, consider who else will be at the wedding, will there be other people there (other than you and your spouse) that they know and can mingle with. If your single friend doesn’t know anyone at the wedding other than you, you should allow them to bring a plus-one so that they’re not alone during the festivities. With plus-ones, just think would I want to go without my boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife? Probably not, so allow your guests a plus-one.

5. B List

Once you have created your guest list, if you see that your count is over what you budgeted for or more than your venue allows, you can create a “B List.” Basically, all of your must have, non-negotiable guests will be on the A-List. This list would include your immediate family and your closest friends. As you start to have people on your list that you realize you may not be as close to anymore or your mom made you invite your 4th cousin that you haven’t seen since you were 8 years old, you can move them to the “B List.”

All of the guests on your A-List will receive a “Save The Date” 6-8 months before your wedding date. When it comes time for invitations, you will send your A-List invitations 10 weeks before the wedding (remember they already know the date and general location, so they will know if they can or can’t attend). As you start to receive “no” for RSVPs, you will now have more room on your guest list and can invite those on your B-List (Send these invites 6-8 weeks before the wedding).

6. Children guests

It is important to note if you are allowing children at the wedding, as this may change whether or not your adult guests are able to attend. If your guest list has less than 10 children, consider inviting them. If you notice your list starts to have a lot of children, as this is adding to your guest count by 30 or even 40 people, you may want to consider a kids free wedding.

If you do decide to have a kids free wedding, make sure to let your guests know early on. It is best to note this on the Save The Dates, so parents can make arrangements in advance for a babysitter. You can also make sure to mention this to them in person when you’re talking about the wedding. Make sure to let them know, your guest count is strict due to budget or venue limitations so they can understand why you ask for no children.

7. Create Boundaries

A great thing to do while starting your guest list, is sit with your fiancé and create boundaries. Make sure you follow these rules when writing all your guests names down. Here are some ideas for boundaries that can help your guest list and also to make sure that cutting guests is fair for all parties.

  1. If neither of you have ever met this person or heard them name before
  2. If you haven’t talked to this friend in more than 2 years
  3. If you don’t hang out with them outside of work or class
  4. If you invited anyone because you feel guilty (they invited you to their wedding, they keep asking you how wedding planning is going, etc.)

8. Include Names

When you are sending an invite, make sure to write out the names of who is invited. It would be really awkward if you invited your friend from college and she didn’t bring her boyfriend because she thought he wasn’t invite or even more awkward, if she did bring her boyfriend when he actually wasn’t invited. This will also help with your RSVP numbers. If 5 people assume they’re allowed plus ones but you only accounted for 5 people, this will be a problem for your seating arrangements, catering plates, etc. Make it as simple as possible for everyone involved. 🙂

Are there any other advice or tricks that helped you with your guest list? Tell me in the comments below!


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