Wedding Advice Wednesday: Deciding Your Guest List

Wedding Advice Wednesday: Deciding Your Guest List

Once the excitement from getting engaged fades, the planning begins; more specifically, working on your wedding guest list.  We have some advice that will help you avoid any drama while also giving you tips on how to come up with your perfect wedding guest list!

Guest List Tips

1. Parents & In-Laws
First things first, should parents and in-laws get a say in the guest list? We asked real brides for their opinion:

 “I think it’s important to ask for their opinion and listen to them but at the end of the day you and your soon to be husband need to make those final decisions.”

“Yes, because they’re family and might be helping pay for those expenses.”

“Yes and no. It’s not their wedding, it’s yours. Also, it is a proud moment for your parents that they might want to share with a few people you may not have on your list. Let your parents look over your list after you create it to see if there’s anyone they just have to have that isn’t on there BUT set limits or they’ll just keep adding!”

When it comes to your parents and in-laws, its important to make things clear early on; take the time to sit and talk about who’s important to them but also set some boundaries. Urgency is key because you don’t want them to start making phone calls inviting friends and family before you even talk. It may be helpful to give each set of parents a predetermined number of invites and stick to it. This is a nice compromise that will allow you to invite the most people without raising your budget or having to find a larger venue.

2. Budget and Venue
These are the main factors that play into deciding the guest list! Each guest adds to the number of plates to prepare, favors, chair rentals and how much cake you’ll need. If you compose a guest list that’s a larger number than your venue’s capacity, you’ll be holding your breath every time you get an RSVP.

3. Wedding Style
Are you having a big bash or an intimate elopement? Is your wedding local or destination? Are you going to be having a casual buffet or a multi-course seated dinner? Kids allowed or an adult’s-only wedding? All of these factors will also play into the numbers of guests you can invite.

4. Make an A-list and a B-list
We’ll keep this a secret, no worries! Having a divided guest list is how you’ll be able to, again, invite the most people. We suggest the A-List is made up of must-have invites, such as:
-Immediate family
-Close friends
-People you can’t imagine not being there

The B-List should also be people you still really want there, but you can more easily cut them if needed, such as:
-Distant Relatives
-Friends you haven’t seen in a while

*Extra Advice: Send out A-list invites 10 weeks before your wedding then send out B-list invites 6-8 weeks this way if someone from the A-list can’t attend you have time to invite someone from the B-list

5. Trimming Your List
Just like sticking to the boundaries you set for the parents and in-laws, there are a few ways to help you trim back your own list if need be:
– If neither of you have spoken to or met them before, or haven’t heard their name, don’t invite them.
– If neither of you have spoken to them in 2 years or more and they’re not related, don’t invite them.
– If there’s anyone who’s on the list because you feel guilty about leaving them off, don’t invite them.
Of course you can make rules more specific or change them to cater to your list; it is just a good idea to have rules otherwise you’ll be at war in your head and end up more stressed. 

6. Plus, One?
Decide early on if you’re going to offer the “plus guest” option or not. Whether or not you decide to allow it, make sure you state it on the invitation either way. If you’re unsure and down the road there’s room in the budget or more space than you thought, allow the plus guest option to present itself.

7. Stay Organized
Use your guest list for more than just a head count; use it to also:
-keep addresses
-track RSVPs
-track gifts you receive
-know who’s invited to the rehearsal dinner

It is a lot to think about, but by staying organized and setting boundaries early on you should be able to sail through this task without too much stress. Good luck!

Photo by Emily Crall Photography


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