The Ultimate Wedding Guest List Guide
Writing (and editing) your wedding guest list is one of the most important parts of your wedding planning to get sorted early. The size of your guest list directly relates to your wedding budget and venue, and it’s likely to turn into a balancing act between inviting everyone you want to be there and being able to afford the catering and venue costs.
Remember to be flexible – some wedding guests may be unable to attend last-minute, or you might think of extra people. Be prepared to change your wedding guest list right up to the day! Feeling nervous about writing your wedding guest list? Here’s our ultimate guide to deciding who to invite (and who to cut…).
Starting your wedding guest list
Although it may feel like a mammoth task, the best way to start a wedding guest list is simply to write down everyone you might want to invite. Ignore the budget and potential venue capacity for now, and simply get everyone on to one massive list. Don’t forget to speak to your parents to check which family members they expect to be invited, and whether they have any friends they’d like to make the guest list.
Who (not) to invite to your wedding
It can be easy to choose which of your closest friends you want to invite as wedding guests, but it can be a minefield when deciding on inviting partners to weddings. They immediately double the numbers, and it can mean that you have to cut down on people you actually want to invite.
Another tricky area is inviting children to weddings. This not only quickly expands your wedding guest list, but also means that you’ll have to provide some sort of entertainment for them, which can put pressure on a tight wedding budget! Every couple will have trouble with some difficult wedding guests, whether it is arguments in the family or old school disputes, so be sure to get this sorted early to avoid wedding planning stress.
Cutting the guest list
Once you have a rough number for your guest list, you may find that you need to cut down to either fit everyone in your venue or to stay within your wedding budget. This can be the hardest part of writing the guest list, but sticking to some rules can help you cull quickly. Consistent rules such as both parties having met the guest, or having seen them within the last two years, are great to creating cut-off points if you’re struggling to edit your guest list.
Managing your wedding guest list
So the guest list is finally done and you have your final head count – hurrah! We recommend using a guest list manager shared between you to easily track who’s coming to the day and evening, and to tick off RSVPs as they arrive. This way you’ll be able to easily organise your guests. The Guides for Brides Wedding Planner comes with a free Guest List Manager that keeps all your guests in one place. You can keep notes, include contact information (great for chasing those RSVPs) and make a note of dietary requirements. You can also download your guest list as a spreadsheet to send to your caterer and venue.
Creating the seating plan
Once you have chosen your wedding guests and have finalised the wedding guest list, it is time to start planning your wedding seating plans. This can be quite time-consuming so put enough time aside to make sure you are happy with it. Difficult wedding guests can make seating plans tricky but at the end of the day, they are not sitting down for that long. Remember to also do your top table seating plans, as that is where the most important people sit!
Travel and accommodation for your wedding guests
Some of your wedding guests may have to travel a long distance to your wedding, so they will have to make travel and accommodation plans as soon as they receive your invitation. Giving guests information about recommended accommodation is really useful for your friends and family who might not know the area. If your wedding is in a remote area it is also necessary to provide taxi information so guests can return to their accommodation after a good party!
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