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Wedding Guest List: Simple Ways to Narrow it Down

If you’re newly engaged, it might seem early to start putting together a wedding guest list, but any good wedding planning timeline will tell you to at least start thinking about it. Perhaps you and your fiancé both have huge families? Maybe your wedding budget doesn’t allow for extended family? There are so many different factors that come into play, so finding ways to determine who’s invited (that are fair and won’t be offensive) is crucial! Thankfully, we’ve gathered some of the best tips and tricks to help simplify your list. Need ideas on how to narrow it down? Keep reading!

6 Tips for a Wedding Guest List

6 Tips for a Wedding Guest List

You’ll want to start by jotting down the names of everyone you feel should be invited. You can do this as a couple or each create separate lists, but once you have everyone compiled, it’s time to start skimming!

  1. Consider your venue. Keep in mind that every venue holds a different number of guests. If you plan to have 150 people, but the venue you want only holds 100, that’s going to be a bit of a problem. This is why it’s important to have a good idea of how many will be in attendance before falling too hard for a venue that just isn’t practical.
  2. Divide your guests into categories. It’s kind of like being in high school again. But rather than having cliques like the jocks, cheerleaders, and drama kids, these are cliques you’ll actually want to hang out with. Divide them by: immediate family, bridal party, close relatives, extended family, family friends, friends, acquaintances, co-workers, and kids. See if you’re able to remove an entire category from your guest list.
  3. Don’t feel pressured by parents or future in-laws. As much as dad may want you to invite his work BFF that you’ve never met, let alone heard of, it’s 100% okay to say no! Same goes for in-laws. As hard as it may be to stand up to your future mother-in-law, if her guest list is becoming detrimental to your wedding budget, it’s okay to speak up. Ultimately, it’s your day, so if you don’t want them there, don’t invite them!
  4. Consider the 2 year rule. Sometimes determining who should be invited is just a matter of whether you regularly speak to this person. If you haven’t seen or spoken to someone in the past 2 years, don’t be afraid to cross them off the list. Chances are, they’ll totally understand.
  5. Decide on a rule for plus ones. For the most part, plus ones are completely acceptable for anyone married, engaged, or in a serious relationship. Decide on a rule for plus ones and make no exceptions! That way, when your frat boy cousin asks to bring his “girlfriend” that he met at some house party last weekend, you can firmly say, “sorry, bro, that’s the rule!”
  6. An all or nothing rule for coworkers. You spend more time with these people than you probably do your fiancé, so you definitely don’t want to be on their bad side. That being said, when it comes to your work team, we strongly suggest the all or nothing rule so you aren’t showing any favoritism. However, if you have a really great friend that you hang out with socially outside of work, by all means, invite him/her! If anyone throws a hissy fit about it, just explain your “outside of work” relationship and they’ll definitely understand.

6 simple ways to narrow down your guest list!

Creating your final wedding guest list.

Keep in mind, your list doesn’t have to be final, and is definitely something to re-visit after a couple months of engagement. If you aren’t sure when to start planning it all out, refer to our wedding planning timeline for guidelines. The initial breakdown of the guest list should occur within a month of the engagement, and the finalized list should be done about 10 months before the actual wedding date.

Did you use a special trick to narrow down your guests? In the comments below, let us know what you did to trim down your list. We’d love to know!

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Leave a comment

Hannah Mayer
June 29, 2020 19:53

Thank you for this! It’s so hard to know whom to invite and whom not to!

May 29, 2020 13:09

Very helpful, thank you!

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