Helpful Tips for Creating Your Guest List
By: Niagara Wedding Helper | March 2018
You and your partner are officially engaged and have started the wedding planning process. You have decided on your wedding date, created your budget and picked out your ceremony/reception locations. Now for what may be the hardest part of planning a wedding … creating your guest list. Unfortunately, the ability to invite everyone you know is rare which means that most people must cut off their guest list at some point. Although creating a guest list may not be the most exciting part of planning your wedding, considering these helpful tips below will make the process a little easier!
Creating a Maximum Number: The very first step to creating your guest list should be to decide on the maximum number of guest you can invite. By now, you and your partner should have determined the goals of your wedding and based your budget on these goals. Do you want your wedding to be small or large? Is your wedding budget more focused on the wedding details and décor, or the number of guests? Also, what is the maximum number of people that your ceremony and reception location(s) allow? Are you inviting everyone to both the ceremony and the reception … or just a select handful of guest to the ceremony and everyone to the reception?
Consider Your Parents: Like it or not, your Parents are most likely going to have a say when it comes to the guest list. Its best to have a discussion with both sets of Parents about the guest list and to come up with guidelines/rules to avoid any surprises. One way to keep it fair for everyone involved in creating the guest list is to divide the list up. There are multiple ways that you can do this, however, you should keep in mind that if the Parents are flipping the wedding bill, they should probably get a larger say in the list. Two suggestions are: 1) You and your partner get to create half of the list; one quarter goes to one set of Parents and one quarter goes to the other set of Parents. 2) You, your partner, and both sets of parents each get one quarter of the list.
Divide Guest List into Categories: Next, everyone involved in creating the overall guest list, should divide their percentage of the list into the following categories and write down everyone they can possibly think of inviting within those categories:
- Immediate family: This consists of the couple getting married, the Parents of the couple getting married, siblings and their kids (if kids are invited), Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and Cousins.
- Distant Family: This consists of 2nd or 3rd Aunts, Uncles and Cousins. Unless you are close to your distant family, it is not usually necessary to invite them.
- Close Friends: These are friends that you interact with on a regular basis or that are a significant part of your life.
- Professional Friends/Colleagues: These are people you have a professional work relationship with such as coworkers, bosses, close clients. A good rule to go by when creating this list is to invite all or none; or only invite the ones you are friends with outside of the work environment.
- Significant Relationships: These are significant people in your life that are not family or close friends.
- Plus One’s: A plus one is someone that your guest brings with them to your wedding. This is an area that you really need to be careful with because Plus Ones can add up fast. A good rule to go by is to only let a guest invite a plus one if they are married, engaged or are in a long- term relationship with someone.
- Children: When it comes to weddings, it is acceptable not to invite children. If you do choose not to invite children, however, its best to communicate this on the invitations to avoid any confusion. If you would like to invite children, but not necessarily the younger ones, you can always create a minimum age. This minimum age can be anywhere as young as 5+ or as old as 18+. Just make sure that if you do have a minimum age, you make this clear on the invitations. Also, its best to keep the rules the same for everyone with children (your sibling’s children being an exception).
Editing Your Guest List: Once you, your partner, and your parents/parent-in-laws have created their lists, consisting of everyone they can possibly think of inviting, it’s now time to edit them and begin making cuts. A good way to do this is to assign each person on the list a letter: “A” – These are the “Must Haves” or the people that you know you are for sure going to invite to your wedding. “B” – These are the additional people that you really want to invite to your wedding. “C” – These are the people that it would be nice to invite to your wedding if there is room on the guest list. Begin cutting your lists by starting with the “C” group and continue cutting until you reached your maximum number. Remember to add you and your partner to the Guest List (this will be important when creating the final number of people attending the wedding).
Finalizing the Guest List: Once everyone’s lists have been created and edited, it is now time for everyone to bring their guest lists together to create to final guest list based on your maximum number. Once this guest list is finalized, you can design and send out your invitations. This is usually done two to three months prior to the wedding date. Although it is not always advisable, some people like to create a “B-List”. The B-List is a list of people that you would like to invite if people from the original guest list are unable to attend the wedding. If you do choose to create a B-List, it is best to make sure your R.S.V.P. date for your first round of invitations is before your second round of invitations goes out (and that you confirm everyone’s R.S.V.P.’s from your original guest list prior to sending out a second round of invitations). It is also best to prevent it from looking obvious that people are on the B-List by sending out this second set of invitations at least 6 weeks prior to your wedding, with a separate R.S.V.P. date made specifically for them.