How to Organise Your Wedding Guest List

Easily one of the toughest parts of any wedding to do list is figuring out the guest list. There is unfortunately no way of avoiding disappointing some people who miss out on invites unless money is a non-issue. Even if this is the case your desired venue may have its own limitations. So to help make organising your wedding guest list more bearable we’ve put together this comprehensive guide with tips that will point you in the right direction.

wedding guests with bride and groom

Knowing your wedding vision is the first step in creating your guest list. Are you dreaming of an intimate affair with a select few or are you keen for a lavish bash with all of your friends and family. Whatever the case may be it is ideal to have a rough idea in mind for when you start writing up your wedding guest list.

The next step in the process is to find a venue, once you have found your ideal wedding location you will then be given numbers by the venue on what they can accommodate for a wedding reception.

The third step and third most important factor in beginning to draw up your guest list is your wedding budget. Be realistic in what is feasible for you and your fiancé. This may mean prioritising what is more important for you both; an extravagant venue or more family and friends in attendance.

brides wedding planning checklist

Emotions can and most likely will get the better of you at some stage when creating your guest list, especially once you begin culling. It is easy to feel guilty about choosing not to invite certain people but what you have to remember is that this is your day and it should be shared with who you choose. Yes, it may rub some people up the wrong way but it is up to you to consider whether that possible reaction is worth the risk.

When considering who to invite – determine how involved that person is in your life and whether you can’t imagine the day without them there. If it’s a friend of a friend, work colleague or a distant second cousin perhaps they are better left off the list. It can be difficult ranking the role each person plays in your life but it will help you to keep everything on track.

wedding guest with bride and groom at reception

A wise decision is to create an initial dream guest list including absolutely everyone you would love to invite. Then divide this list into two categories. The first being definitely invited/have to be there and the second with people you’d like there but may not fit within your budget or the venues capacity. Remember people from the secondary list can always be invited once you begin receiving declined responses.

Consider whether you will be inviting children and make sure you have one rule which applies to everyone. Typically if you are having an adult’s only reception the only exceptions that get made are for the children of immediate family. Making exceptions for other children can cause a stir among guests who wish to also bring their children.

wedding guests toasting newlyweds at adult only reception

A fool proof plan when organising your guest list is to offer both families the same number of invites regardless of who is paying for what or how much each side is contributing. This admittedly can be difficult however if you have a strict policy from the start which is fair to both parties there is no room for complaints. One manoeuvre for navigating the issue of your parents wanting to invite more guests is to inform both sets of parents that if they want to invite anymore wedding guests beyond the set number allocated to them then they will have to pay for those people themselves.

Alternatively if your venue has a strict policy on the number of guests for their space, this can be used as your defence to any requests for extra guests. To limit the number of guests your parents wish to invite reason with them that this is a celebration for those closely involved in your lives and that you want equality across the board. So that both families are represented fairly on the day.

bride and groom with happy parents at wedding

Plus Ones are another common obstacle faced by couples when creating their guest lists similar to your stance on children at the wedding you must make one rule which applies to all. If you’re working to a tight number or hosting a wedding on a tight budget only allow for plus ones where you actually know the partner.

It’s a great idea to trust your gut instincts when unsure of whether or not to invite someone. For people you are unsure of it is important to ask yourself whether or not they will be involved in your life beyond the wedding. If you’ve lost contact with someone but hope to reconnect leaving them off the wedding guest list could leave you with feelings of regret if down the track you do begin socialising again.

wedding guests mingling at reception

Inviting work colleagues poses a difficult conundrum for many. Generally speaking with etiquette in mind you can get away with not inviting any or all of your co-workers if you work for a large organisation. If your workplace or department is relatively small and they have all been involved in discussions of your wedding things can get a little messier. Picking and choosing who you invite can get awkward, so instead it is best to invite none or all of them.

You also have to think ahead and think who your guests will mingle with and where you will seat them. In a happy world all your wedding guests would blissfully mingle but this isn’t always likely, it’s only natural for guests to stick to who they know.

There can be many scenarios and obstacles that make planning your wedding guest list difficult; hopefully this article will have made it easier for you to decide who is invited to your big day.

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