Creating the Guest List

It’s your wedding day, the perfect time to celebrate your love and nuptials with your close family and friends! Making the guest list can be tricky if you aren’t sure how many people you want to invite, so it’s best to start with the people who you absolutely want at your wedding.


Before moving forward, you need to decide on a set number of guests you should invite. Really consider your budget, how big or small you want your wedding to be, venue size, and out-of-town and plus one guests. These things may vary based on how much money you allotted in your budget so keep them in mind when deciding how many people to invite. Also remember to include fixed and variable costs in your calculations. Entertainment and a DJ don’t matter when it comes to guest numbers, but catering and invites do.

If you make your list and realize you should cut down, the best solution is to ask yourself ‘Have I had dinner with this person(s) in at least three years?’ if you answered “no” you should reevaluate how important it is for them to be at your wedding. Then, create a must-invite, would-like-to-invite, and would-be-nice-to-invite list in order to help you visualize the people who absolutely must be at your wedding and those that might not fit.

But there is a person you do NOT invite and that is an Ex. Weddings signify a new, fresh relationship and having an ex at your wedding may cause problems with your spouse. People love to gossip as well, and it could also create talk among your guests that should not occur at a wedding. Not to mention, your spouse will be 100% relieved that you are fully moving on to begin your new, permanent relationship together.


Sometimes guests will want to invite a guest of their own to accompany them to your wedding and it’s up to you to decide if that’s okay. Plus-ones aren’t required unless that guest has been in a long term relationship or if they live with their guest. But if someone asks you, don’t be afraid to say no! Just be polite and let them know that you don’t have the budget or reception space for extra guests.

What about out-of-town guests? First and foremost, make sure they feel welcome. Plan in advance where they will stay, whether it is at a hotel or family member’s house. If there will be many guests needing hospitality arrangements, set up a few rooms in two different hotels.  Don’t forget to book in advance and see if they have reduced group rates. Also, don’t forget to coordinate their transportation to the wedding.


To save money, trim your guest list – every person counts. Also, provide a final guest list as close to the event as possible in case there are cancellations and do not go over your original guest number. You set it for a reason – stick with it! Some weddings are adult-only for cost purposes.


Here’ a quick list of Do’s and Don’ts for Guests list planning”


  • Do set policies of who will be invited and stick with them
  • Do set limits according to your budget
  • Do always under commit by 2 or 3 as people cancel last minute
  • Do know that around 10-15% of invited guests will not attend
  • Do divide the guest list in half, so each of you invite an equal amount of guests
  • Do divide the guest list in half, so each of you invite an equal amount of guests


  • Don’t let your parents or family be pushy about the guest list
  • Don’t feel like you owe everyone a plus one
  • Don’t invite guests that you don’t really want at your wedding just because you feel obligated

Happy planning!