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Three Steps to Creating Your Wedding Guest List

in Getting Started
Bride and groom are showered with rose petals from their guests following the wedding ceremony.

Choosing a guest list for your wedding is one of those projects that can easily spiral out of control (as you can well imagine!) and we recommend starting on your list as soon as possible in the wedding planning process. This will not only help cross one important item off the list, but will help with all of your subsequent tasks such as booking a reception venue that’s just the right size for your guest count.

So what’s the remedy for making this process any easier?

Before adding even one family member or friend to your list, lay down some ground rules to be followed by you and your fiancé (and anyone else who is helping you plan your wedding.) For example, one common rule is to invite only those guests whom you both know (eliminate anyone who knows one of you but not the other.)

After establishing some rules and before going any further, it’s also a good idea to discuss your wishes with your parents, so that there are no hurt feelings or misunderstandings later on.

TIP: Consider using an Excel or Google Docs spreadsheet, or purchasing wedding software or an app to help keep the guest list project manageable. Every time you make a revision, just print out a new (clean!) list to work from. When you’re ready to send out invitations and start receiving RSVPs back in the mail, having everything on the computer makes keeping track of addresses and number of guests attending a piece of cake.

Okay, you’re ready to start!

  1. First draft an initial list of guests who you must have there (closest family members, etc.)
  2. Next, create a second list of guests who you both think should be invited, and then take a count of the number of guests that you have so far. If you’re like most couples and are working with any kind of budget, you’ll probably find that the total guest count at this point is not very doable. Don’t worry, we’ll start trimming it down in step three.
  3. Finally, go back through your second list and put an asterisk next to anyone who you’d like to have there, but only if there’s enough space.

Now you should be getting closer to your anticipated guest count, but if you’re still not there, don’t worry! You still have several months before ordering the invitations. :)