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A Complete Guide to Making Your Wedding Guest List

Making a guest list is arguably one of the most daunting wedding tasks. How do you narrow it down? Do you invite that great aunt on your dad’s side of the family that you see only a few times a year? Do you invite your entire group of work colleagues? Do you and your fiancé(e) have large families or a ton of friends to consider? All of these variables can be overwhelming, but rest assured, we have tips on how to decide who to invite and keep the guest list from spiraling out of control.


So who doesn’t need to be included?

  • Family members and friends that you haven’t seen or talked to in several years. 
  • People who invited you to their wedding several years ago. You don’t have to reciprocate the invite if you are not close with those people.
  • Plus-ones who you've never met. Plus-ones are tricky. You want the person you invited to have a date, but if you are trying to keep your day small and intimate, you can tell your guests with plus-ones that it has to be a long-term partner and not a random they met a day ago on Tinder.
  • Children of friends and family. No-kid-weddings allow the head count to remain lower and gives parents an opportunity to party (they will thank you for this).

Now where do I start?

First of all, tally the total number of people you have budgeted for and that the venue can accommodate comfortably. After that, you can start adding names. Start with immediate family and close friends and then move outward. If you are keeping your wedding to a minimum, you can eliminate people like neighbours, work friends, parents' friends and anyone you haven’t spoken to in several years. People will understand if you are trying to keep things small and intimate.

Don't forget to take into account friend and family members' spouses because the number can quickly climb.

Set a hard deadline

Unfortunately, if you don’t hear back from your guests then you have to count them out. Your caterer needs to know and so do you. A lot of vendors rely on the guest head count and you don’t have the time to hound people for their RSVP’s.

Stick to your guns

It goes without saying that family and friends will have opinions on who did and didn't make the cut. It can be tempting to give in and invite those you otherwise wouldn't, to try and avoid any further drama, but stick to your guns and do what's right for you and your partner. After all, it's your wedding day. If you have family members who are paying for parts of the wedding day and therefore feel like they are entitled, open communication is always best. Prior to the guest list being made, have a conversation about expectations from everyone during the wedding planning process. Boundaries are very important and communication is essential.