Weddings 101: What to Keep in Mind When Creating A Guest List

June 17, 2020

After the final vestiges of the engagement bliss wears off, it is time to make arrangements and plans for your wedding.

Most couples tend to jump in right away by looking for suppliers immediately. However, if there is anything soon-to-be-wed couples should know, it is the importance of creating a guest list first. While many save this task for later, your guest list is actually pivotal to your wedding planning. Apart from helping you determine how big or small your event will be, it often dictates the kind of suppliers you should book. It might not be that clear to you now, but your wedding day’s guest list can end up having a domino effect on every other aspect of your wedding. More importantly, it helps you determine your projected all over expenses.

In this regard, you need to ensure that you invite everyone that is near and dear to you without going over your agreed wedding budget. To many couples, this balancing act can be a little confusing and at times, difficult to do. There is always that dilemma of having way too many names on your guest list and finding yourself having to pare it down. Determining who to invite and who gets excluded can often make couples feel guilty, but if you are working on a budget, it is impossible not to cut it back down. However, you need to do this in a way that does not hurt anyone’s feelings or make you feel guilty. Here is how you do it:

1.) Go big (Just make sure to make cuts and edits later)


Your initial draft does not have to be your final guest list count. The truth is, you will probably have to make innumerable drafts before you come up with your final list of who you want to be there on your big day. 

While you have your primary list, make a second list a will–a B list, if you may–for anyone who did not make the list and got cut in the initial list. In this way, you can always immediately include them should some of the guests in your first list decline or if your first list suddenly has room for more guests.

2.) Opt to have an adults only reception


 Children can be cute and fun, but they can also mean an additional expense for you. If you do not feel like having little ones at your wedding (except for those that are part of your entourage) that is totally acceptable. However, be sure to make it clear that you wish to have an adults-only party in your invitation. Make it sound as gentle as possible. One way to do it is to indicate the number of seats reserved for the family. 

However, if you do want children to attend such as your nieces and nephews, bear in mind that you can hire a babysitter to watch them during the reception (who incidentally, would make sure that they can attend the ceremony) .

3.) Be firm but fair when it comes to dates


There is no doubt that some of your guests would want to bring plus ones which can end up getting pretty knotty and tricky for you. To make it simpler, offer a plus one to anyone who is married, engaged, living together or in a long-term and committed relationship if possible. Alternatively, you may also invite only the couples who you personally know. 

Incidentally, it would be a nice gesture to offer your wedding party plus ones as they have been likely by your side since the start of the wedding planning process. Do not fret though, as some people are likely to decline the plus one for whatever reason. In this regard, you do not have to worry about your guest list ballooning from plus ones alone.

4.) Keep the venue in mind


Regardless of whether you have already made the initial deposit or are still in the process of making a decision for your reception venue, be sure to have an idea of how many people are going to realistically fit in it. If you have your heart set on an intimate setup such as a little farmhouse wedding or a cozy church reception, having a guest list of over 200 guests is unrealistic and would not work well in your favor. 

With this in mind, make sure that the venue you choose is suitable for the kind of guest list you have in mind. Take note that just because your venue can seat 200 people max does not mean you have to fill it to maximum capacity. If you wish your wedding guests to be comfortable, you need to have enough room for them as well.

5.) Do not feel guilty


Creating wedding guest lists can quickly spiral out of control–especially if you are just naming people you know from the top of your head. It can end up very long and very quick and you could end up with an incredibly lengthy guest list if you include everyone you have ever known in your life– may that be a friend from primary school or a long lost friend. If your budget permits, feel free but sometimes that does not really quite work to your favor. 

Whenever you feel unsure if someone should make the final guest list, just think of how close you are to the person. Apart from that, determine whether you are likely to see this very same person in the next twelve months.

Bear in mind that your wedding is your big day. It is about your union to your partner, so you get to have the final say about who gets to go and who does not. While most of us have friends who hold a particularly special place in the past, they may not be part of our present lives. Your wedding is about celebrating with the people who are closest to your heart and who you know would form part of your future as well.