A Guide to Wedding Guest Lists

Wedding Guest Lists 

Wedding guest lists are hard. Simple as that. It’s hard to know how many people to include, let alone which people they should be. Different families can also have certain expectations about the guest list which can create tension trying to balance between the people you have to invite and the people you want to invite.

So we’ve put together a little guide to help you work through the guest list process. There is no absolute right or wrong way to do a guest list, but this will help make the process easier for you.

1. Decide on a Rough Size for Your Wedding

Do you want a micro-wedding of less than 20 people, a medium sized wedding of between 50 and 80 or a bigger one? Make sure you take your budget and the style of wedding you want into account here. Will it be sit down or cocktail style? Having a rough idea of size will help you set goals and narrow things down

*Tip – It is recommended you have a rough idea of numbers before you look for your venue as it will help you narrow down the choices and give you a better idea of whether the venue will fit into your budget or not. Your venue can also give you a firm boundary for you to stick to, especially if you’re trying to have a smaller event. 

The Viewing Room

2. Write Down Everyone Who You Could Invite

Now, this isn’t “write down everyone you’ve ever met”. No, here you are writing down all your friends, family members, or colleagues you could possibly invite. All the people who could logically attend your wedding. This will provide you with an upper limit to work back from.

*Tip – do this by categorising people into groups like family, bridal party, Brides friends, Grooms friends, colleagues etc. 

3. Get Someone to Check it

Before you narrow it down it is best to get someone close to you guys to check it over. Often parents are great as this! You don’t want to get to the narrowing down stage and realise you’ve forgotten a few key relatives.

Tip – Know Your Family Expectations. Do your families have any expectations as to who is to be invited and who isn’t? Now, this doesn’t mean you have to invite everyone you’re expected to invite, but it is important to know which exclusions will cause offence or tension.

The Viewing Room

4. Narrow it down

Go through everyone on your wedding guest list and work out if you will really miss them if they’re not at your wedding. If you won’t miss them, is there a good reason for them being there? Don’t delete the names, move them to a separate list. You may still want to invite them the the ceremony.

*Tip – Do this a couple of times, even after you’ve reduced your guest list to your ideal size. Sometimes leaving it for a bit can help bring clarity to guests you were uncertain about. 

Tailrace Wedding Brooke Shane

5. Which Partners Do We Invite?

This is a tricky one. As a general rule, you should always invite the partners when they are engaged, married or live together. Otherwise invite on a case by case basis. You may want to consider the seriousness of the relationship and your own relationship with the person. It’s tricky because your day is about you and you want to be surrounded by the people you know and love most, and inviting partners can feel like you’re being forced to invite people you don’t know. Especially when you’ve already cut friends off the list.

When uncertain, as a rule, don’t invite plus-ones if it means leaving someone more important to you off the list. An exception to this may be if your friend doesn’t know anyone else at the wedding.

It really is a tricky one to navigate and the best way to go about it is on a case by case basis.

Hydrangea Day Dreams Tailrace Wedding Styling

6. Finalise Your Guest List

There comes a time where you just have to say, “Yup. This is it.” Make sure you are both happy with who is being invited and know that there will be some imbalance with the guest list. One of you is likely to have more guests than the other, and that is okay so long as you both have your most important friends and family members.

Tailrace centre viewing room Jewel Tones