Creating Your Guest List

Compiling your guest list will probably be one of the first things you do when it comes to wedding planning. It will affect how you allocate your budget and be one of the major things that dictates what venue you go for. For a lot of couples, it will be an easy enough process but, for others, family/friends politics and parental demands mean it can be a little more awkward and stressful. For those couples, eloping can appear more and more appealing with each name mentioned. In this post, we’re sharing our top tips of how to tackle your guest list and hopefully ease the process up for you.

Our first, and most important, tip is to start your list with the names of the people neither of you can imagine your day without and who will most definitely be invited. There are most likely going to be immediate family and your closest friends. Once these are noted down, it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty….

Parental Requests

If your parents are contributing, it’s only fair for you to ask them if there’s anyone they would like to invite. Listen to who they want and then see if you can accommodate these into your list. Within reason, of course. If its a case of you having to take people you really want there yourself off the list to fit your parents guests in then be up front and ask if there’s a compromise.

If they aren’t contributing and you can’t allocate any numbers for them to invite, communicate this clearly from the onset to avoid any doubt.

Extended Families

Everyone’s family dynamics can differ dramatically. For one half of the couple, extended family may be just as important as immediate family whilst, for the other half, extended family members may be people they barely keep in touch with. We wouldn’t worry too much about one half having more people than the other so don’t let this play a factor in these cases. Not everyone will know every single guest in attendance and who are they to the couple getting hitched and, to be frank, does it really matter?

For some people, friends may have much more importance in their life than their cousin twice removed or anyone else with a family connection and that’s okay. Ultimately, it’s up to you both. Don’t invite people just because you feel like you have to but, to help keep the stress levels down during the planning stages, we would advise you manage expectations with early talks and, hopefully, in doing so you’ll avoid any major disagreements.


As we’ve said upthread, sometimes friends are more important than family members and are included in your A-List. Your guest list should compromise of people who mean something to you at this point in time and you don’t have to feel guilty about that. Don’t invite people out of obligation with thoughts of what the relationship once was.

Plus Ones

Giving plus ones to everyone can increase the number of people significantly. Generally, anyone who’s married, engaged or in a long term relationship should have their partner included (chances are you’d have already counted them). In regards to a general ‘plus one’, anyone who is invited who doesn’t know anyone else attending should be given the option to bring someone along.


This is where the guest lists can get really awkward. Decide your policy on this at the beginning of your planning and stay firm throughout. Are you having family kids only? No kids at all? All kids welcome?

There’s no doubt that having children attending the day will change the dynamics but do what’s right for you both. There’s nothing wrong with having all the children you know attending but there’s also nothing wrong at all with deciding to have a child-free day as long as you have no expectations of your guests who do have kids. Not everyone can easily get childcare and childcare may not even be an option, especially when new-borns are considered. It can be even more difficult for families with kids when the wedding involves an overnight stay or is taking place on a weekday. So, just bear in mind that some people may have to turn you down in these cases and don’t take it personally.

Evening Guests

Evening Invites can be a great compromise for groups such as work colleagues. Just be understanding that, if your venue involves a fair bit of travel or is taking place on a weekday, people may not make it.

Other tips to consider

Don’t invite over the venue capacity. Yes, you are more than likely going to get some declines but it’s not worth the stress hoping a certain number will say no. Invite the right amount your venue can hold and then deal with inviting anyone from the reserved list once the With Regrets have come through.

Confirm with your venue if they have a minimum amount of guests required as well as a maximum.

Don’t verbally invite or send out Save the Dates to people who definitely aren’t getting an invite or who you aren’t sure about inviting.

Be clear who’s invited on the invites to avoid any confusion. Use names on the invites or on the envelopes so there’s no doubt who is included.

Don’t forget to count yourselves. You both count in the number of guests for the venue and caterers!

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