The Guest List - 6 Essential Tips

Updated: Jan 29, 2019

Is the thought of making your guest list stressing you out? Here are some tips to help ease the process!

1. Plan It Out There are two things you should think about at the very beginning of your wedding planning:

  • How much do you think you’ll be able to spend on the wedding, and

  • How many people do you realistically think you will have attending?

Of course, that’s hard to commit to so early in the planning process, but it is really important to gauge these figures, as they will shape your decisions.


2. What Kind of Wedding Do You Want? Think about what is important to you and what experience you want to create. Do you want as many people as you can sharing your day with you? Or, do you want to emphasise quality over quantity and make sure your guests have a memorable experience? Either of those or anything in between is absolutely okay. But – when you add budget into the mix, you may find that you must find a compromise.


3. Compile Your Initial Guest List Write down everybody that you would love to have at your wedding. Absolutely everyone – assume there were no restrictions whatsoever. When you are done and you have a base number, compare this to your initial thoughts about the realistic number of guests, your budget, and the experience you want to create. If your dream guest list falls within your expectations – fantastic! If not, like most people may find, then we need to move on to the next step and re-evaluate.


4. Re-evaluate Now, this is where it can become a little difficult. The best way to approach cutting people off your guests list is to separate them into categories and assess them. Here are some common categories:

  • Direct family (including aunties, uncles, first cousins and grandparents)

  • Extended family

  • Family friends

  • Parent’s guests

  • Close friends

  • Friends

  • Work colleagues

  • Partners of friends/colleagues etc

Next, ask yourselves some questions about the people in each category:

  • How often do I speak to them?

  • When is the last time I saw them?

  • What is the reason I haven’t seen or spoken to someone in a while?

  • Would I spend time with them outside of work/sport/hobby?

  • Would my parents be upset if I didn’t invite them? (And are my parents contributing money towards the wedding?)

  • Do I like them?

  • Do I want to invite plus-one’s? (And will I be comfortable inviting someone who has only been around for less than 1 year? Or someone my partner has never met?)

  • Do I want kids at my wedding?

  • Are they only on the list because I feel guilty about leaving them off?


5. The Cut

From here, you should be in a position to make some cuts. If any of your answers to the above questions were “no” or similar, then cut them from your list. Keep going until you have a list that falls within your realistic expectations.


6. The Delivery

A polite and subtle way to clarify who is and isn't invited to the wedding is to include specific printed names on invitations and response cards. This normally clears up any confusion about a child or plus-one being invited. In saying that, you may still get a few that add an extra name in anyway - don't take the 'miscommunication' personally, just politely explain the situation.


The last hurdle to jump over is the awkward moment when you are in conversation with an acquaintance/colleague/family friend who didn’t quite make the cut and they assume they’re invited to the big day. Some people can feel super uncomfortable telling someone they are not actually on the guest list – but honestly, don’t stress about these scenarios. The best policy here is to be sincere and honest (where appropriate!). If you’re stuck for a reason, try one of these:

  • Unfortunately, you can only afford to keep the guests list quite small

  • Your venue has a strict guest limit

  • You’ve decided to have an adult-only evening

Remember, it is your day – you don’t have to have people that you don’t want attending. Do what makes you and your partner happy!


#guests #guestlist #weddingtips #weddingadvice #weddinghelp

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