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How To Create Your Ideal Wedding Guest List


Written by  Kyle Mcmanus. 

Kyle is an experienced writer of more than 12 years from the UK, writing about various topics.

Your wedding day is fast approaching, and you are gradually checking off essentials on your to-do list. You have your wedding rings, your caterer, and your venue organized.

But some tasks are easier to complete than others — and finalizing your guest list is one of them.

Why? Because creating a wedding guest list is almost always difficult. No matter how big your venue is, it is unlikely you will be able to invite everybody you know and like to your big day. And even if you could, having potentially hundreds of guests to supply with food and drink will test anyone’s budget.

Ultimately, there are some people who definitely need to be present to help you mark one of the most important days of your life. But there are others who may be, well, less deserving of an invitation.

How do you decide who to invite and who not to? How do you handle those people you simply cannot justify inviting? And what about inviting certain guests who may not get along with one another?
These are some of the factors you will need to consider when creating your wedding guest list. To help make it all easier for you, we have put together eight straightforward tips below.


Start big, start generous



The first step in creating your wedding guest list is to write down the name of every single person you would like to invite if money and seating were of no object. The goal here is to include as many people as you possibly can at the earliest stage, which should reduce your risk of forgetting someone you really want to invite.

Such as? That witty, kind friend you have not seen in years but know would be a great person to celebrate your wedding with.

Work with whatever method will suit you best — a notebook, a Google Doc, even a spreadsheet — to keep a clear record of possible invitees.

Depending on how many people you have known over the years, this step could be long and (frankly) exhausting. However, when you have a prospective wedding guest list containing members of your immediate family, former colleagues, school friends, college friends, and everyone else you would consider inviting, you can start narrowing it down.


Be clear about who gets to invite whom


You might have many more friends than your partner, or vice versa. You may have accumulated a wide circle of former colleagues you talk to often, and your partner has not. And one of you could have more family members than the other, for any number of reasons.

Whatever your circumstances, it is vital that you and your partner decide on a fair ratio of guests. For example, you may choose a balanced 50/50 split if you both have an equal number of invitees in mind. But you may be willing to go for a 70/30 split if you know your partner has more people they genuinely want to put on the wedding guest list.

This part of the process may require compromise in some cases, but it is important to discuss the split with your partner if you feel concerned about it being unbalanced. That will help you create a wedding guest list that represents both of you on your special day, as personally precious as your wedding rings.


Create a list of essentials



One of the toughest parts of creating your wedding guest list is deciding who you cannot overlook. These are the people who have to be at your wedding for the entire day — the ones who matter most to you.

You may not have the same ‘essentials’ as many other couples planning their wedding, and that is fine. Your VIP table may include your mother, your favorite aunt and uncle, and a grandfather. Or it could be a few of your best friends and your partner's parents. Or it might be any other combination of people who truly matter to you and your partner. There is no right or wrong way to put together your VIP table.

When you have your essential guests finalized, take those names off the initial version of your list and invite them as soon as possible.


Create clear rules for uninvited relatives


While it can be difficult, you need to decide whether you are willing to invite some family members and not others.

Your partner may have cousins that they care about a great deal, while you have not seen yours in decades. And you might be close to your aunt and uncle, while your partner only sees theirs during holidays.

How would your partner’s aunt and uncle feel if word got back to them that yours were invited to the wedding but they were not? Would that create friction among your partner’s family, and would the aunt and uncle feel insulted?

You both need to decide whether you can face that level of complication surrounding your wedding, or if it is best to set a wider ‘all-or-nothing’ policy instead.

For example, tell uninvited relatives that your limited budget and space allow for immediate family only. That ensures that cousins, aunts and uncles, or grandparents on both sides know they are not invited due to practical reasons, rather a personal dislike.

Make sure you can commit to whatever decision you make on this topic: create a rule and stick to it.


Kids or no kids?



You and your partner may love the idea of having children present during your nuptials, possibly even carrying your wedding rings down the aisle. On the other hand, you might prefer the prospect of a child-free wedding day instead.

Wherever you stand, you and your partner need to think about this carefully. Yes, you may love your nieces and nephews or best friends’ kids, but you must be honest about the effect their attendance will have on your wedding.

It may be difficult to tell invitees that their children are not invited too, but remember: this is one of the most important days of your life. You both deserve to feel that it is tailored to you, just like your wedding rings.

You may welcome guests to bring children over 15 years of age, for example, or state on your invites that you have planned for adults only. Just make sure that everyone with kids knows about it before they arrive at the venue.


Be aware of potential conflicts


Sad though it may be, some people on your wedding guest list may dislike each other. That could be down to past arguments or simple personality clashes. Whatever the cause, bear these conflicts in mind when finalizing your list.

Do you like those people enough to invite them to your wedding, or would you still have a wonderful day without them in attendance? If so, strike them off the list. If not, think carefully about seating plans — keep them as far apart as possible from the start.

Additionally, you may not need to invite them for the whole day. An hour or two in the evening may suffice.


Remember that some guests may decline your invitation


It is easy to believe that everyone wants to watch you and your partner exchange wedding rings, but some people you invite may not. On the other hand, an invitee could be unable to go even though they would like to.

You may feel disappointed if someone you really want to attend says no, but try not to take it personally. They may be unable to travel to the venue, or take the time away from work, or afford to pay for their own drinks. Simply thank them for getting back to you and carry on with your planning.

Fortunately, rejected invitations create space for other guests that you left off the final version of your wedding guest list. People you reluctantly struck off the list may get to be there with you after all.


Be brave with plus-ones


Your best friend has a new boyfriend you have never met and wants to bring him?

If you feel unhappy with the idea of providing a stranger with food and drink on your big day, create a rule with your partner: only plus-ones you both know and like are invited. That can be difficult, but your friends and relatives should appreciate the costs and planning involved in a wedding. You can only put so many people on your wedding guest list, after all.

However, you could compromise: invite the plus-ones along for the evening reception only, so they still get to be part of the day at little or no cost to you.




Creating your ideal wedding guest list and inviting the right people can be challenging for couples. But approach it together, as a team, and consider one another’s feelings carefully, just as you would when searching for the perfect venue or wedding rings.

Your guests should embellish your day, not become the focal point. Determine which people will help you both feel special on your wedding day, and be clear about the decisions you make.


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