Wedding Guest List 101: Tips for Making Your Guest List

It’s no secret that making a wedding guest list is one of the toughest parts of wedding planning. Unfortunately, this is not something you can really pay a wedding planner to do. Couples have to take the time to think of everyone they would like to invite as well as manage expectations with parents who would also like to invite their own list.

Planning & Design: Your Inspired Event // Photography: Krizel Photography // Florals: Simply Flowers // Lighting: Light Up The Walls // Rentals: Expo Party Rentals 

Need help navigating the task of creating your wedding guest list? We’re here to help and are sharing our favorite tips for making your wedding guest list!

Do a Brain dump

Before you start overthinking who you can and can’t invite, grab some coffee or wine and have you and your partner do a brain dump of every person you would like to invite. Create a virtual document to share with your wedding planner. This also makes it easy to edit later! The list can be old elementary school friends, neighbors, the nice old lady you met at the grocery store that one time. Don’t hold back on this list! Once each person has written their list, eliminate duplicates. 

Set expectations for parents

Ah yes, I’m here to tell you that your parents on your partner’s parents might have their own list. Set the expectations early on with them about how many people (if any) they can invite. At the end of the day, even if they are financially contributing to the wedding, it’s your day and you should have the final say in the guest list. 

It’s important to note that the more guests attend, the higher the cost of the wedding. If parents are helping finance the wedding, then you could consider allowing the guest list to grow a little bit. Again, this is completely up to you but set those expectations early on in your planning process!

Bride with mother and father at wedding in California
Design + Production: @yourinspiredevent // Makeup: @kristennicolemakeup @beautybyhailee // Photography: @kelliannephoto // Venue: @historicsevensycamores

Will you allow kids?

This is an important question because not only can it greatly affect your guest count but it will also change some components of your wedding. For example, will you need to provide a sitter? Will you offer a kids meal? Is it okay if the music has swearing in it? There’s no right or wrong answer here but it’s something you need to discuss with your partner and then clearly communicate this to your guests.

Make the cut

Once you’ve figured out the ultimate wedding guest list, it’s time to make some cuts. Take your time going name by name and ask yourselves a few questions:

  • Do you know who this person is?
  • Have you talked/seen this person in the last couple years?
  • Are you inviting this person because you feel bad/guilty?

Keep your budget and venue capacity in mind as you’re making these cuts as well. A great way to stick to a smaller guest count is to have your wedding at a venue that has a strict max guest count you must abide by. There’s no arguing that rule!

Like I said earlier, the wedding guest list is going to be one of the hardest tasks you and your partner will have to tackle in the wedding planning process. Once it’s done, it should be smooth sailing from there on! If you need extra guidance on this, feel free to reach out to us and we would love to help you navigate this wedding planning process.

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