Coming up with a wedding guest list can be a minefield. Both you and your partner will have numerous people from friendships over the years, workplaces, sports teams, university or school days, let alone your respective family members! It’s easy to think you need to invite everyone and anyone who you’ve ever known or been friendly with. Before you go thinking you’re going to wind up with a guest list of 250 people, have a read over our tips to create your guest list.
Photo credit: Mandy Caldwell Photography
1. Go big!
Make a list of literally everyone who you would consider inviting. Make a handwritten list, a spreadsheet, whatever works for you. We’re talking those who you would invite if someone else was paying and you didn’t have to worry about sticking to a budget. Start with your families and close friends. Add in school friends, work mates, don’t forget partners. Add in children at this point too, add the whole lot. This list becomes your master list, and now the trimming can begin!
2. There is a hierarchy…
We all know it, there are certain people who it is super important to have at your wedding. You’ll know the ones, the guests who their presence will truly make your day. The ones you can’t imagine not being there when you get married. Call them whatever you want to: the A-list, the non-negotiables, the must-haves. You will know who these ones are without even having to put them on a list. But those ones get highlighted, and you know, no matter what – they are firmly on the list, no questions asked.
While we are on the topic of hierarchies, you may be wondering if you should have a “back up” list in case people originally invited can’t make it? In our opinion, this can be problematic. People generally figure out they are on the back up list and it can be upsetting. Proceed if you like but do so with caution and care.
3. Create a rule around partners
No doubt many in your circle of friends are at different stages of their relationships. You and your partner need to consider if your friends have a new partner, will they be invited? If you are trying to keep your numbers down, it can be helpful to have an agreed guideline on partners. For example, if they have been together for longer than 6 months, partners get an invite. It’s entirely up to you, but a guideline from the beginning can be a life saver if a tricky situation happens to arise during your wedding planning.
4. Kids or no kids?
There are many options here and it’s hugely personal! If you want kids at your wedding – go for it! Depending on the ages and the number of kids you have in your family/circle of friends, it may not be an issue for you. You may feel comfortable leaving it up to your guests to decide. Or you may decide to take a consistent approach and say no kids at all. Another option is to only have kids that are part of your families. No matter which option you choose, just be clear – most parents won’t mind not bringing their kids to a wedding and will look forward to a night off!
5. Need to get that guest list down?
Sometimes it can be difficult to try and navigate who doesn’t get an invite. In years to come you want to be able to look back on your wedding and know you invited the right people! Especially as it’s likely you are paying a decent amount of money for these people to attend in the first place.
Feeling obligated to invite people is not a good reason to send an invite. Remember, your wedding is a celebration of you and your partner, those who are lucky enough to be invited should be important people in your lives. MIA family members, friends who you haven’t heard from in years, work colleagues who you only chat to on your lunch break and neighbours don’t have to make the final cut. It can feel harsh, but at some point, you need to draw the line and people are generally understanding.
The same goes for anyone on your guest list you’re inviting just because they invited you to their own wedding years ago. Unless you are still good friends, you do not need to feel obligated.
6. Time to consult the budget
By now, you should have a good idea on guest numbers. When you look at the number of guests, how does it leave you feeling? Excited and happy to have such an amazing group of people to invite? Or maybe you are feeling a bit full of dread at how fast they have added up… Can you afford to invite all the people on your list and still have the wedding you want to have? If your answer is yes, woohoo! You’ve got it sorted. If you still feel like it’s not working – go back over the above points. Where can you make adjustments? Sometimes you do have to be ruthless and make some cuts here and there.
Don’t forget, some people may not be able to make it to your wedding so you may not end up with the full numbers on your list. It’s not a great idea to rely on that however, so you should be prepared for and ok with the possibility of everyone coming.
Want to chat more? We’d love to hear from you! Drop us a comment below. Download our wedding information here.