The Ins & Outs of Creating a Guest List

Creating a guest list is one of the first steps in the wedding planning process….the number of people at your wedding will determine basically every aspect of planning from table & chair rentals, food & beverage, cake size, etc., and it can definitely add up. Ultimately, your venue and budget will decide your final numbers, but where do you even begin when deciding who makes it on the list?!

We are here to make it simple for you, breaking it down step by step to help you narrow it down.

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Start big

Don’t worry about the number, the budget, capacity, any of it. Sit down and list everyone you can see attending your wedding. You should have a list, your partner should have a list, as well as your parents and future in laws, covering all of the bases. You don’t want to leave anyone out, and feel the pressure of adding on later.

Establish the Essentials

Time to divide and conquer. Break this longgg list into categories, such as immediate family, distant family, close friends, professional friends, and significant relationships that could be anyone from a childhood friend that you lost contact with or those you hold a significant meaning to.

Time to Trim

Now it’s time to consider the two most important factors when establishing a guest list: venue capacity & budget. The location you choose can only hold a maximum amount of people, and you can only host as many as you can afford.

Here are some ways to trim down your guest list:

  • Take off those you have not spoken to in 3 years & they’re not related to you or your fiancé

  • Discuss a child-free wedding

  • No plus ones for your single guests

  • Eliminate those you added out of guilt (maybe you went to their wedding, or they know a lot of your close friends)

Make an A-List & B-List

The A-List: The people you absolutely MUST have at your wedding. The people on this list are the ones you cannot spend your wedding day without. However, the amount of people on this list may exceed the max amount your venue and budget can hold. That’s when the B-List comes into play.

The B-List: The people who didn’t quite make the cut, but you would still enjoy having at your wedding. This list should be about 10-15% of the size of the A-List (ex. if your venue can only hold 100, then your B-List should be 10-15 people). However, no one likes to be considered “second-best” or invited as an afterthought, so it is extremely important to be discrete.

How to Have a Successful B-List:

  • Keep friends who know each other on the same list - the last thing you want are friends talking about how excited they are about receiving your invitation if only half of them got one.

  • Change the RSVP date: it would be pretty obvious to someone if they receive an invite with only one week to RSVP that they were not in the original guest list.

  • Send out Save the Dates earlier to those who would have to travel to your wedding because that will eliminate some that can’t make it sooner, making it easier to move more B-Listers to the A-List.

  • Order extra invitations: it will save you more money to order more invites in one shipment than in smaller batches, and you will be able to send out B-List invites quicker.


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