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8 quick tips to help you build your wedding guest list.

Speak to each other

Before writing down any names on your guest list make sure you have spent some time together to have a in depth discussion about what you both want for your wedding. Do you want an intimate group of people? Do you want everyone you know? Do you want to make it adult only? Make sure you work out exactly what you both want from your wedding and if necessary make those compromises so that you can both get what you want.

Family First

If you families are participating the financials and planning of the wedding it can be seen as polite to allow them invite some guests to the wedding. As a rule I would suggest that the couple has 50% of the guest list and the final 50% is split 25% each between each set of parents. So if you were to have 200 guests that’s 100 for the bride and groom and 50 each to the parents. Of course you don’t have to do this but if you are happy to let your parents invite some guests I’m sure they would be delighted!

A list or B list

When starting to get the guest list together. I would suggest making two lists. An A list an a B List. You’re a list would include all your VIPs and must have guests for the wedding. Ideally this wouldn’t be the full capacity but this should include all the guests that are no braniers to be invited to the wedding. The B list should then be guests that it would be nice to have there so any work colleagues, second cousins, friends and family you don’t see that often but would like to be there. Then when you send out your invites to the A list if anyone says they are unable to attend you can invite someone from the B list (order of importance) However make sure you sent out your A list invites early as you don’t want B list guests getting an invite the week before the wedding. Ideally you want any B list invites to be out 10 weeks before the wedding.

Make rules and stick to them

This can make your life a little bit easier when creating your guest list but you need to make sure that you both stick to the rules otherwise there is no point! For an example I have included some of the most popular rules below as a starting point

  • If neither of you have spoken to them, met them or heard their name before, don’t invite them!

  • Want to make your wedding adults only. Don’t include children’s names on the invites and mention it is adults only in your information.

  • If neither of you have spoken to someone in three years or more and they are not a relative, do not invite.

  • Anyone on the list out of guilt of leaving them off because they invited you to their wedding or are friends with lots of people who are invited, don’t invite them.

  • Would you happily buy them a 3 course meal or spend as much as your per head cost on them in any other occasion? No, don’t invite them.

Consider your venue and budget

Your venue and budget are going to be your biggest restraints when it comes to the guest list. You can only have as many guests as your budget and venue allows. So only invite this many people! It sounds silly but in my years working for a venue this happened ALL THE TIME! If your venue can only hold 100 for a ceremony don’t invite 110 because that means people will be standing around the room or at the back because their isn’t a seat for them and it wont look good I photos. Or worse they wont even be allowed in the room (depending on the venue)

Also don’t invite those extra 10 people if you cant afford it! 10 guests isn’t just another 10 bodies in the room, its another 10 meals, 10 drinks, 10 place cars, 10 favours, and a whole new table with decorations and flowers. Is it worth the extra stress, hassle and money?

Reception only

If you are really struggling and there is a group of people you really want to be at the wedding but cant fit them in, invite them to the reception! That’s way they are only missing the day part of the wedding and can be there to enjoy the evening with you. This would probably work best for work colleagues especially if you are having a weekday wedding s that doesn’t meant rh whole office is taking the day off for your wedding and can come along a celebrate with you in the evening. Don’t underestimate the reception invitation!


2 tips in one here!!

First up, include the invited guests names on the RSVP’s whether they are printed or handwritten by yourselves. This will then (hopefully!) eliminate any guests sneaking in a plus one or additional guests on their RSVP by writing other names on the card. Sounds crazy but I’ve seen it many times!

Second make sure you have a clear and detailed way of recording your RSVP’s. I personally love a spreadsheet so I can see the guest names, when their invite went out, if their RSVP has been received and if they are able to attend or not. You will be chasing RSVP’s down to the last minute so I would make sure you have a clear record of who has responded so you aren’t chasing the wrong people.

Bonus tip: If unfortunately, you do get guests who are trying to get other people invited that don’t match your rules and you don’t really want to attend. Respond to them politely by stating "Of course we'd love to invite everyone, but unfortunately, with the venue space and our budget, we aren't able to." Then take the conversation in a totally different direction!


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