How to Create a Guest List for your Wedding 101

Because I chat so frequently with couples planning their wedding, I often hear lots of feedback about their process, and what is deemed as the “easy part” and what is classified as “hard.” One of the things that I hear most that is hardest is nailing down a definite guest list. After all, many things play into creating a wedding guest list such as family, budget, location, and lots of etceteras more. I’m here today with some tips and tricks on how to make a guest list for your wedding, to hopefully help and inspire you to tackle it without a headache, fights with in-laws, or a stomach ulcer.

Use the following tips to help avoid issues:


Know Your Max

Your maximum number is usually determined by your venue. As your venue for this number, and know that this is a hard line that you have to keep at or below.

Add A Quarter To Your Max

Realistically, you know that not everyone is going to be able to attend in person. A good rule of thumb is to invite a quarter more, and expect the no cards to come flowing in. If your max is 100 people, inviting 125 is typically considered safe, especially if you have a lot of friends and family that live out of the area and won’t be able to travel in for the event.

Start With Immediate Family

What family members are mandatory and absolutely must come? Start there and build on that.

Now Build On That List

As a couple, sit down and make a list of friends and family that you absolutely want to invite to your wedding. A good tip I once heard is that if you haven’t spoken to the person in the past year (Facebook doesn’t count, unless they live abroad or have special circumstances) they are probably good to cut from your list.

Ask Your Parents For Their List

Each of you get with your parents and ask them for their specific list of friends and/or family that they request an invitation be sent to. This is typically the part that creating guest lists starts to implode, so if you are working with a tight number or are already close to your max, make sure to communicate that with them, as well as anyone that may overlap and already be listed in your original columns.

Have Them Make Three Tiers

Have them make a “must come” list, and then a list that says, “I want them to come” and finally the list of “these people will expect an invitation.” Take however many spots you have left, and fill them in from these tiers.

Have Expectations

Know that not everyone will be attending. You’ll have to be patient, have an open mind, and an open channel of communication from all ends. You may also have to compromise.

Having these tips in mind, I challenge you to go into your guest list with an open heart and an open mind, and try to keep it lighthearted and fun. Planning a wedding can be stressful, but I know you can do it, and I’m always a phone call away and am happy to be your personal cheerleader, whenever you’d like!