Perfecting your guest list

Who’s coming?

Your wedding guest list is the most important document you will ever make during the wedding planning process. Why? Because the size of your guest list affects almost everything: the size of your venue, the atmosphere, your budget, the time of year to have your wedding (and possibly even who you will and won’t end up speaking to five years from now). Once you know the number of people you are likely to be hosting, you can get on with planning your big day properly.

Here are some simple tips on how to draft, refine and sign off your guest list with minimum hassle:

I Love Lists

What’s your number?

It sounds awful, but allocating a price tag to your guests’ heads really helps. Of course you want to invite everyone – it’s your big day and you want to share it with as many people as possible – but can you really afford to? Come up with your perfect number based on your budget and size requirements. Now, start making your list. Tally up the headcount as you go, and, with your budget in mind, you and your fiancé should be able to match your perfect number…or at least get close to it. You never know – you might end up with fewer names than you thought.

Making the cut

Sadly, you’re going to need to be ruthless. Some people who you would have loved to have been there for the whole thing but you’re not quite as close to might need to be cut from your list. Equally, don’t feel obliged to invite your friend’s brand new partner who you don’t know at all. If they’re a real friend they’ll understand that you don’t have unlimited pockets. Or, consider having evening guests – that way your guests still get to share part of the day with you but at a smaller cost.

Family v. friends

Some couples value family above all else. Some want all their friends present. Unfortunately (unless you have an unlimited budget) you can’t usually have all of both. Split your guests into five groups (your family, your friends, your fiancé’s family, your fiancé’s friends, your mutual friends) and divide the allocation equally between them. Of course, if one of you has more family and friends than the other, then you can ‘borrow’ from another group.
Wedding List

Kidfest or adult affair?

Noisy children at weddings can be troublesome – but they don’t have to be. You can set a rule about age (no children below 5, for example), or only invite children of close family to the ceremony and not the reception, perhaps. Of course, you can invite lots and lots of children if giggles and fun is what you’re going for!

Do it for you

In the past, it was common that the bride’s parents invited all their friends, while the couple missed out on inviting friends their own age. Luckily, those days are (mostly over). It’s great to invite your parents’ friends if you have room, but if it means inviting Mabel and George who last saw you when you were terrorising their back garden, naked, you might want to reconsider. After all, you want to enjoy your day with people you at least recognise.

Don’t wait

Get stared now! What are you waiting for? Your guests might not expect to receive an invitation until 6 weeks prior to the wedding date, but they’ll at least need a ‘save the date’ in their diary. Nail your list now, and the real planning can start.

Wedding Poster Guest Book from Love vs. Design.
‘I Love Lists’ image by Jess Indeedy.

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