Writing your guest list and figuring out who to invite to your wedding can be one of the most daunting tasks of planning a wedding. And yet it is probably one of the first things you should do when you start planning too. You’ll need to know how many people you are going to invite to your wedding before deciding what type of wedding you will have. There are many factors that go into figuring out your guest list, so we’re here to help you figure it out.
Here are some things to think about before you start your list.
First, before you decide anything else, you should write a list of all the people you want at your wedding no matter what. These are your “Must Haves”. No matter what you decide with your wedding, you do not want to get married without them. This will be different for everyone. Some couples are happy just eloping in their own without anyone they know, and others can’t imagine getting married without their family and friends. That’s the first thing you should decide. Write a list of your Musts!
2. Would love to have
After you decide on your must haves, you can write your list of “would love to invite”. Now you can do this two ways...
Depending on what is more important to you, you can write this list first, and then go hunting for a venue that can host your entire guest list...or, you can find your perfect venue, and then you’ll know the number of guests you will be able to invite. B and I agreed early on, that the people at our wedding were the most important factor, so we decided to look for a venue based on our guest list, and not the other way around. There’s no right or wrong for this step. If you go the guests first route, write out all the people you would really love to have at your wedding.
If you decide to find your venue first, you’ll know the exact number you can invite, so now you can write your guest list from there.
3. Would be great
...if you have THE room/budget...
The next list you should write are your “what ifs”. What if your venue has the room, and what if you have a budget for more people. This is the list of people who you would still like to have at your wedding, but it’s not a deal breaker if you can’t invite them. Examples being co-workers, distant relatives, friends you’ve lost contact with, etc.
4. A-list and B-list
We think every wedding should have an “A-list” and a “B-list”. Now it sounds a little worse than it actually is. You’re not picking your favorite friends and then your next favorite friends….but, depending on the circumstances of your wedding, you probably can’t invite everyone you wish you could. Your “B-list” will be the list of guests you can invite later on, after you start getting RSVP’s back with any “can’t make it’s”.
-Everyone on your “Must Have” list
-Friends You Haven’t Heard from in a while
5. Tricky Guests
Most couples will probably have at least one tricky guest situation. These can be dramatic guests, divorced guests, guests one of you doesn’t get along with, etc. The thing to remember about your wedding guest list is…it’s your wedding, and you do NOT have to invite anyone who may threaten yours or your soon to be husband/wife’s night. If you have a distant family member who is known for making a scene at every family outing, don’t send an invite. If there is a person who you do not feel comfortable being there on your special day, they should not be a part of your guest list.
Divorced Guests or guests who have had a break-up with another guest, are a big part of “tricky guests”. This is where you can get into sticky situations. Every day, we read about a bride asking what to do with these types of situations. The thing is, each situation is going to be different, but here are some things to consider when making your decision.
-Set Boundaries or Rules if you need to.
It is your wedding. No one on your guest list should take any joy away from your most special day. If you have family members who are divorced, and don’t get along at all, but you still want them both at your wedding, you may have to sit down with each of them and discuss how you expect them to act at your wedding. If they don’t agree with putting their differences aside and being civil at your wedding, they don’t deserve to take part.
-Their drama is not your drama.
Just because two people have drama between themselves, does not mean you have to worry about it. Feel free to invite those guests, and don’t take any of the drama on yourself.
-Invite the people who will make your day complete.
If any of your tricky guests are on your Must Have or Would love to have list, invite them. They should all be adults during your celebration, and should not make you feel like you have to choose sides.
6. Who’s paying
Another important factor in setting your guest list, is who is paying for the wedding. If the bride’s parents are paying for the full wedding, they tend to get a little more room to invite who they want as well. If they have a couple friends or distant relatives who they want to invite, be sure to invite them and make your parents happy. If you are paying for the wedding on your own, you should have full rights to invite who you would like. Again, all situations are different, so make sure you’re inviting who you want, and if you have room, you can invite guests your parents would like there as well.
Factors that can influence your guest list
There are several factors that can influence who you can invite to your wedding including;
-Venue Size - Of course you’ll already have your “must have” list, so when you go to look for your venue, you will know the bare minimum number of guests you’ll want them to fit. After you choose your venue, you will know the full amount of guests you can add to your list. If you fall in love with a venue that has room for 50, and your “must have” and “would love to have” list is already at 40, you’ll know you can invite 10 more guests from your “would be great list”…before including your B-list if you should get any declines.
-Budget- Budget is another thing to consider. You can find a venue like ours, that can accommodate as many people as you’d like, but your budget may not match that number. Take into consideration how much your wedding budget it, and break it down per head to get an idea of how many you can invite.
-Parents- Again, depending on who is paying for the wedding, your parents may have a larger say of who they want included as well. Your parents have raised you from a baby, and will be so excited to share the joy in their child’s marriage with their friends, so if you have room and the budget, consider giving them a few extra invites.
-Location- Your wedding location might help determine your guest list as well….or at least the size of the guest list who will be able to show up. If you’re having a destination wedding far away, expect for several guests not being able to attend.
The main take aways about your guest list are to invite who you can’t get married without, and guests who will enhance your day, and not cause worry. You guest list should be a fun thing to figure out, rather than a daunting task worrying about drama. Remember it is your day, and you don’t have to take on any unnecessary drama. And don’t forget your budget. People will understand if you couldn’t invite all 1,000 of your Facebook friends. Enjoy this time of the planning process, and have fun with it!