How to Make the Perfect Guest List for Any Size Wedding

shutterstock_424926490Creating the wedding guest list is a key early hurdle to planning your ceremony and reception. Until you decide how many people and which people you want to invite to the wedding you can’t decide on other crucial things like location, venue, food, wedding party size, table and chair rentals, quantities for wedding favors, etc. It’s also important to have at least a rough estimate on the number of guests that will be at the event so you can get more accurate prices from any vendors you want to work with and so the wedding planner can better prepare. Since most people don’t have exorbitant wedding budgets you can’t just invite everyone. If you and your fiance have large families or large friend groups it can be overwhelming deciding who gets a wedding invitation and who does not. While there are no easy answers, this blog will offer helpful guidance on how to make a guest list perfect for any size wedding.

It can be difficult to remember all the people you know off the top of your head so don’t feel bad about consulting your contacts list in your phone, your Facebook friends list, yearbooks, etc. to jog your memory and get some names down.

It’s important to keep the type of wedding you want to have in mind before you start making the guest list. Do you want it to be an adults only party style reception or do you plan on inviting children? Do you want people to bring a date to the wedding? Be sure to account for that in your numbers and to make that clear on the invitation. If you plan on having a destination wedding, invite guests who you know well enough to ask to travel on your behalf.

Finally, before creating the guest list is to understand that not everyone you invite to the wedding may not be able to attend. If you have to make cuts to the guest list and then people you’ve invited RSVP no, it’s okay to send people who did not make the original list an invite. But as part of wedding guest list etiquette, do so in a timely manner so that they don’t get a late invite to the wedding and think they were second choice.

You can find a wedding guest list template online, but we think a simple strategy to create your wedding guest list is to split it in to three categories: Have To Be There, Really Want to Be There, and Want to Be There.

If you and your fiance have large families or large friend groups it can be overwhelming deciding who gets a wedding invitation and who does not.

The Perfect Guest List

Have to Be There

A great first step is for both brides and grooms to write down a list of people in their lives that are absolutely essential to invite to the wedding. This will typically include both sets of parents, immediate family, and  close friends. Be absolutely certain that each of these people is accounted for on the guest list and any estimations. Don’t focus on limiting the number of people on this list. If you feel like they have to be at your wedding, have them on this list.

Really Want to Be There

This list is for people you really want at your wedding but wouldn’t be upset if they couldn’t make it. This can include distant family members, best friends from high school and college, people who invited you to their wedding, etc. This list will typically be longer than the Have to Be There list and you should be willing to cut some of these people from the invite list if it ends up being required.

Want to Be There

The want to be there list is people you would invite to the wedding if you had the space/budget for everyone you like to be able to come. If you don’t, this list will be where the most people end up not receiving an invitation. Want To Be There will tend to include co-workers, friends you’ve stayed in touch with on social media but may not have seen for a while, and other wedding guests you’d love to see on your big day but would not be heartbroken if they could not attend.

Stay tuned to Signature Tents and Events blog for more helpful tips and wedding inspiration!

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