How to create a wedding guest list: a step-by-step guide (2023)

wedding guests

There's no sugarcoating it, the guest list can be one of the most difficult parts of the wedding planning process. Here are some ways to make it easy and really fun.

How to create a wedding guest list: a step-by-step guide (1)

Anna Chertoff

Discoverhow to make a wedding guest listit is one of your first tasks and one of the most stressful and time consuming. It involves talking to all parties, both the parents and your spouse-to-be, to discuss how many guests you can afford to invite, the capacity of your wedding venue, and how many people you want to celebrate on your wedding day.

While there are plenty of tips and guidelines for creating a wedding guest list, the most important thing to remember is to stay organized.WeddingWire Guest List Toolit can help you keep track of everyone's mailing addresses, RSVPs, and menu preferences. Having all the information in one place makes it easy to manage and export your invitation list to the stationery, calligrapher, caterer, and wedding planner. You can also manage guest lists for other pre- and post-wedding celebrations, like the rehearsal dinner and post-wedding brunch. Follow our guide below to learn how to create a wedding guest list.

what is your wedding style

When it comes to how to make a wedding guest list, think first.the wedding you imagine. Is it just intimacy with your nearest and dearest? Do you want to party all night with hundreds of friends and family? Are you planning a destination wedding where most of the guests will be traveling for your wedding? would you ratheran adults-only celebrationor are there many children to invite? Once you've decided on the type of wedding, start creating your guest list with the names of the people you want to have there.

Split the list.

Traditionally, people paying for the wedding will invite more friends and family, but with more couples andParents share the budgetBetween them, the division of the guest list into thirds is fair: the couple receives one third of the list for their friends and colleagues, while each set of parents receives one third for their family and friends. Be sure to tell your parents that they don't have to use all the seats they've been given. For example, if mom and dad don't need all 40 spots, the couple or in-laws can add to their list. What you want to avoid is having your parents invite people you've never heard of or never met just to fill out your worksheet column.

Prioritize and trim your list if necessary.

There will always be some people on your list who are "more important" than others. Your siblings and their spouses take precedence over your father's golf buddies. here is an example

  1. Close relatives (parents and siblings)
  2. Members of the wedding party (bridesmaids, best man, best man, best man, etc.)
  3. Close family (grandparents, aunts, uncles, first cousins)
  4. Close friends
  5. Extended family members (distant relatives such as great aunts and uncles, second cousins, etc.)
  6. Other friends, colleagues, etc.

Organize the list so you understand what the numbers really are and how much you can cut back without hurting a guest's or parent's feelings.

Once you have a rough head count, determine if the venue can accommodate everyone and if your wedding budget can accommodate those numbers. If the numbers don't add up, start cutting from the bottom until you can get it to work. Never invite more people than the venue can accommodate, and don't assume that certain people won't attend. They can surprise you.

You may have heard of a guest list prioritization method where a couple creates an A list, a B list, a C list (A list contains guests who are essential to invite, B list is less important , etc.) . The couple would send out a round of invites to the A-list guests first, and based on how many guests declined the invite, they would start inviting the B-list guests, and so on. We don't recommend this method - there's a good chance B-list guests will learn your status from other guests, which will lead to hurt egos and hurt feelings. Make a guest list – it can be a bit trickier and difficult cuts can be made, but it will benefit you in the long run.

Do the math.

When counting the numbers on the guest list, be sure to include your guests, children, and helpers, if they have any. Provide each person or family with a final tally column so you can be sure the numbers have been added correctly (specifyOnline Guest List Toolwill do this for you!). You need to make sure your numbers are correct for many reasons: catering (meals), venue (capacity/seating plan), stationery (requesting invitations), calligrapher (address), ordering favors,Transport, welcome bags, etc.

Set the rules.

When figuring out how to make a wedding guest list, there will always be a scenario where you don't know if someone can date or if you should invite your college roommate even though you haven't talked to everyone. more in years. After creating your guest list, you need to decide if you will invite singles or singles with a plus. Or if you allow the kids to join in the fun. Make a list of non-negotiable rules and follow them for everyone you want to invite. Here are some rules to keep in mind for your guest list:

  1. Aplus one is only invitedif someone is married, living with a partner, engaged or has been with their partner for at least six months. Make sure people know if they can bring a date by writing the name in the plus sign on the outer envelope of the invitation.
  2. Children are invited if they are the couple's niece, nephew, or godchild, or they may not wish to have children at the wedding. Establishing a general rule for children will make it easier than having to decide which children can come to the wedding and who has to call a babysitter.
  3. If you have a destination wedding, and you don't want children to attend the wedding, you should be aware that some parents may need to bring their children with them to the destination anyway. Parents will appreciate an offer to help them find a babysitting service to care for the children while they are at the wedding.
  4. If you haven't spoken to the person in over a year, don't feel obligated to invite them to your wedding, even if they invited you to their special day.
  5. Family members can add many numbers to their guest list. Decide where you want to draw the line, possibly between your own and your parents' first cousins, where you wouldn't invite second or third cousins.

Stick to the numbers.

Once you set the maximum number of guests you can invite to the wedding, don't change the guest list unless you remove people. Your wedding venue can't magically add tables if the space doesn't fit. The only way to add more people is if someone regrets it, decides not to invite someone after all, or chooses a larger venue.Make sure your parents are aware of this.that the guest list is closed and they can no longer invite anyone.

Find out where you separate the family.

Talk to your parents about how many distant relatives to add to your guest list. If you spend every vacation with all your aunts, uncles, and first cousins, they should probably be on the list, but wait for great aunts and uncles and second or third cousins ​​unless you're very close to them. Sometimes inviting someone over is better than causing a rift in the family.

For family members you're not inviting, you may want to email them a wedding announcement after the big day to share the news.

Should you invite colleagues?

Decide who to invite from the officeis one of the most frequently asked wedding etiquette questions when it comes to how to create a wedding guest list. The answer depends on your relationships outside of the office and the size of your team. For example, your line manager and her assistant may be the first employees you put on your guest list. You may also want to consider the coworkers you eat lunch with every day and hang out with after work or on the weekends.

If you're working in a small team, you should invite the team, but if you're working with more than a handful of people, don't feel obligated to invite everyone. Keep in mind that married and engaged employees have to be invited with their partners, which adds to the numbers.

It's also okay not to invite anyone from the office to your wedding. You will understand.

What if potential guests invite you?

Friendships change over time, so you shouldn't feel the need to send a couple a wedding invitation just because you danced at their wedding. If you're not as close as you used to be, it's okay to choose not to ask her out. However, if you're still friendly but planning a small wedding, it's okay not to put them on your guest list or A-list. Just let them know what you're planning for your wedding.

If you have mutual friends who will be attending your wedding, let them know that you won't be inviting anyone so they won't discuss your plans in front of them. Just because you don't invite someone doesn't mean you want to hurt their feelings or create an awkward moment.

What if they have already sent a gift?

In the weeks after your engagement, you may receive well-wishing cards and evenengagement gifts, regardless of whether you had an engagement party or not. If someone you didn't intend to invite to the wedding sends you an engagement gift, don't feel obligated to send them an invitation; It can be very difficult to figure out how to create a wedding guest list.

If it's a friend of a parent or grandparent, let them know there's no room on the guest list to invite that person and they can let you know the wedding will be an intimate affair if you ask.

If you received a wedding gift from someone not on the guest list, simply send them a thank you note for their well wishes. You don't have to add them to the guest list at the last minute.

you can uninvite someone

Sometimes friends fight, but that doesn't mean the friendship is over. If she's had a falling out with someone after sending a date reminder, you may want to reconsider inviting him as a guest at your wedding. Consider whether or not this fight is the end of your friendship. If not, send him or her an invite and he or she will know that you still want him or her in your life.

you can invite your ex

Some people stay close to their ex boyfriends and want to invite them or even their families to their wedding. Have a conversation with your future spouse about how you both feel about having that person or family at your wedding. If either of you feels uncomfortable, don't extend an invitation.

Avoid verbal invitations.

Sometimes it's hard not to mention the upcoming wedding in conversation, even with someone who isn't on your guest list. Saying in passing "You should come!" or "We'd love to have you!" it lets the person know that she is expecting an invitation. And if she doesn't respond, it could hurt her feelings or embarrass herself. It's okay not to invite everyone you know and interact with. If someone is happy for you, just say "thank you." You don't have to send them an invitation for their good wishes.

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