Organize the Guest List for Your Wedding

One of the most important parts of your wedding planning process is organizing your wedding guest list. This list will determine the size of your venues and how much certain aspects of your wedding will cost, such as food and beverage or transportation. The following is a sample of wedding guest checklist items that will help you to organize your wedding guest list.

Your Wedding Budget & Guestlist Are Related

Understanding your wedding budget will help you determine your wedding guest list because you will know how many people you can afford to invite. Naturally, the larger your budget, the more guests you will be able to invite. Your wedding budget may also include contributions from family members or friends. It is important to determine whether they will expect to have a say in the final guest list because of that contribution. For instance, if the father of the bride is paying for the whole wedding, it would make sense that he would have a say in the maximum number of guests to invite. In some cases, contributors may also expect to have a say in the individual guest list. It is important to sort out those details with your family before you begin creating your wedding guest list.

And Need To Finalize Wedding Guest List Before Choosing A Venue

It can be tempting to visit wedding venues when you’re still in the early stages of your wedding planning. However, this can lead to heartbreak when you discover the “perfect place” but it can’t accommodate all of the must-invites on your wedding guest list. You don’t need to have the final number in place when you start looking for venues, but you should have a rough estimate. A wedding with 50 guests has different needs than a wedding with 500 people. Once you know the size of your wedding guest list, your wedding planner can help you find a venue to meet your specific needs.

So Start By Mapping Out Your “Must-Have” Invites

Your must-invites are those individual family and friends that you must invite to the wedding. This will be different for everyone, but it’s essential to map this out early because it will give you an idea of how many additional guests you can invite within your wedding budget range. Common people on the must-invite wedding guest list are immediate family, grandparents, aunts and uncles, first cousins, and close friends.

Than Add Your Nice-To-Have Guest List

Your wedding guest wish list is made up of everyone you would like to include in your wedding. By ranking your wish list in order of importance, you will be able to make easy adjustments by removing guests towards the bottom if you are over budget—or adding those people close to the top if you have surplus funds. Your wish list also acts as a sort of “reserve” list. If people higher up on your list RSVP that they can’t attend, it opens up space for others to attend instead.

Consider If You Are Allowing Guests To Plus-One

Once you have your wedding guestlist compiled, it’s time to consider which guests will want to bring a date with them. It’s important to decide on your “plus-one” policy early on in your planning. Some couples choose to extend a plus-one invite only to established couples. Others allow a plus-one for each unmarried guest, to ensure they have someone they know there. Keep in mind that if you have a lot of single friends, the addition of a “plus-one” can significantly add to your overall budget.

And Let’s Not Forget Inviting (Or Not Inviting) Children

Depending on the size of your extended family and the style and mood of wedding you prefer, deciding whether or not to invite children to your wedding is an important consideration. From crying babies during the ceremony to tantrums and outbursts during the reception, there are risks and potential downsides to inviting small children to your special day. On the other hand, the youth, wonder, and exuberance of children can bring added good cheer to your event. If you decide to invite children, consider setting an age minimum (such as 5 years old). You may encounter pressure from guests who have children, but don’t feel guilty about sticking to your plan and your wedding guest list.

To help with your guest list planning, we have created a wedding guest list template. Click here to download.

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