The stress-free way of preparing the guest list for your wedding

The first hurdle for many couples is preparing the invite list. We’ve compiled a list of tips to help you prepare your guest list.  With a little bit of foresight and diplomacy there is no reason why this task needs to be stressful:

  • Budget: The biggest consideration is always going to be your budget and how many guests it allows. There is no point in overextending yourselves and spending more than you can afford.
  • Style: Do you want a big wedding or a small intimate wedding? Discuss your expectations of the day with each other, and with your family – it’s also a big day for them. You may all have quite different expectations about what the day will be like and it always helps to understand everyone’s expectations at the outset.
  • Venue: If you have already decided on your venue then this could very well dictate the number of guests you can invite. Alternatively your guest list may dictate your choice of venue.
  • Contributions: Anyone contributing to the costs of the wedding (such as your parents) should be included in any discussions about guest numbers and the proposed guest list right from the start. Get everyone to prepare a list independently and then compare them. It’s harder to make suggestions when you are presented with a list which looks like a fait accompli.
  • Categories: Split your guests into different categories: Immediate family, extended family, family friends, friends and then colleagues. If you need to trim numbers then work from the bottom up. It may be easier to cut groups of people, rather than individuals.
  • The past and the future: Think about whether you have corresponded with, spoken to, or seen a particular person in the last six or twelve months. While you may see some people every day (such as work colleagues) think about whether you expect to be hanging out with them in one year, five years’ or ten years’ time.
  • Plus-ones: Think about whether you need to invite partners. A good rule is that if you’ve met someone’s partner and they have been on the scene for a while then you probably need to invite them. If things are relatively new, and you’ve never met them then you can probably get away with not inviting them.
  • Saying no: If someone assumes they are invited, asks you if they can bring a guest, or assumes that they can, politely explain to them that budget constraints have meant that you have not been able to invite a number of family and friends that you would like to. Most people understand that being invited to a wedding is a privilege and will respect your decisions.
  • Kids: Will you invite them to the ceremony and the reception, or just the ceremony, or will you have a no kids rule? Whatever you decide, make sure you include something in the invitation to make it clear up front what your expectations are.


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