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What You Need To Know When Making Your Wedding Guest List

Making a guest list for your wedding can look like a daunting task at first glance, but with careful planning and a little effort, setting up your wedding guest list will help you and your partner envision how your wedding will appear (and get you excited for the possibilities at your wedding ceremony and reception)!

We’ll go over the basics and a few essential tips, so the two of you will look like total pro’s at organizing your wedding! Just remember if there ends up being a lot to juggle when planning your wedding, having a professional wedding planner to fall back on can definitely alleviate a lot of tension. (It’s why we’re in business 😄)

Step 1: Determine Your Capacity

One of the first things to figure out is how many people you are able to physically have present at your wedding venue. It’s never a good look to invite more people than are able to be seated comfortably, so get a fixed number from the venue and start forming your guest list based on the venue’s capacity. Another important factor for your guest list is the budget. The amount of wedding guests at the wedding itself will heavily impact how much is spent on the event itself, so be sure you can limit the number of guests on a budget you can afford.

Once you set your guest limit, avoid going over it!

Step 2: Setting Up The Guest List

You will need to know the names and addresses of everyone you will be wanting to invite, and it’s crucial you divide your tentative guest list based on seating and/or association. (It would make for an awkward reception for grandma to be seated next to a friend that has nothing in common with her) It’s likely you’ll be having a conversation with all parties involved in planning your wedding, as planning the guest list spots available takes up a significant part of shaping the wedding itself.

Refrain from inviting people who are one or more of the following:

  • People by groups (that means including “college friends” or “coworkers,” as you may end up having to cut people off the list before it's finalized)

  • Neighbors (unless you have a personal relationship with them)

  • Unruly friends and family

  • Plus-ones you have not personally met (this includes friends of family)

One general rule of thumb is to refrain inviting people whom you haven’t spoken to within the last year, except for very important must-have guests.

Step 3: Prioritize and Trim Down

You will almost always have some people that will be more important than others at your wedding, so it’s a good idea to organize your current list with the most important people to least important. Once you do that, if you need to cut down on guests, you will be able to minimize the list without feeling like you’re cutting out crucial friends and family.

This is also where you should set some rules and figure out if you want to make the wedding adults only, limit the plus-ones to priority people, or rule out anyone who may not reliably appear at the wedding.

As mentioned earlier, it’s more important to have a small group of closely known and trusted guests who will arrive at your wedding than too many “associates” and “friend-of-friends” for the venue to handle.

Step 4: Collecting the Names and Addresses

There are plenty of wedding planner apps to help you collect and manage the wedding guest list information. Make sure you have your guest list names and addresses correctly added so you can easily pull up their information when mailing time comes around.

Avoid making last minute additions as well as verbal invites. Be sure you do the math once you have the guest list prepared so you will have an estimate on how much your guests will cost for the wedding. If any of this work looks like too much, you can always go to...

Step 5: Getting Professional Assistance

There’s plenty of ways a wedding planner can help you go through the step-by-step process of getting your wedding guest list properly managed. From sorting out the contact details, to having a budget planned, and even providing help with the sending of wedding invitations, a wedding planner can add a lot of value to your wedding while cutting down stress and hours of work.

Ready to move on to the next wedding planning step? Check out how to send out your wedding invitations!

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