How To Plan Your Wedding’s Guest List

The wedding planning is well underway! Now that you’re in the thick of it, one of the most important items to check off is who to invite. It may sound easy on the surface, but wedding invitations can be one of the biggest headaches in the planning process. Does your weird Uncle Kevin get an invite, even though you haven’t seen him in nine years? How about Betty from the office, the one who ate your lunch?

You no longer need to worry about wedding invites, though. Here are a few surefire ways to clip the list and only invite those who matter to you.

Setting a Budget 

When you’re planning the invites, chances are you already have a budget in mind . You don’t need to spend more than you can afford to appease everyone. After speaking with caterers and getting price points, you’ll have an idea of how much each plate costs. Plus, your wedding favors, seating, and drinks need to be considered as well. Remember costs when picking the right people.

Come Up With a System 

Before you start making cuts, write down everyone you’d want to invite. Even if you have several hundred guests listed, that doesn’t mean they all make the final cut. When deciding who to keep, there are a few questions you should ask:

  • Have you spoken to them in the last few years?
  • Are you under an “obligation” to invite them?
  • Do you want to have kids at the wedding?
  • When was the last time you saw that one family member?
  • Do friends with partners you’ve never met before get a plus-one?
  • Are you inviting everyone from the office or no one?

Once you answer all the tough questions, you can then start assigning numbers or letters to each guest. Some people opt for using a letter system (yeses get A’s, maybes get B’s, etc.), others use numbers, separate documents, or color-coded tabs. Whatever you pick, having the visuals in front of you will help you nix certain people.

You’re Under No Obligations 

A large issue people have is with their parents and in-laws. Unfortunately, if they’re helping with costs, they may feel they have the right to invite people. But, never lose sight of your role: it’s your day, so you’re the boss. Don’t let your mother-in-law invite her book club or your father invite his poker buddies. But, if you need to avoid the drama, a traditional rule of thumb is to let each set of parents get a quarter of the guest list. So, if you want to let them invite some people, they’ll have a small window.

That said, depending on who you cut (no kids, no plus-ones, no distant relatives, etc.), there will be some difficult conversations. However, there are some workarounds and respectful ways to break the news. If you experience some pushback from people, don’t cater to them. If you do it for them, chances are you’ll have to do it for everyone.

Remember, if someone doesn’t understand your budget or they don’t respect your decisions, they’re not really friends. It’s your wedding, so don’t bring anyone you don’t want to. Not to mention, do you really want to share your special day with people you don’t know or even like?

Additional Tips

There are some other things to keep in mind as well. First, try not to include last-minute additions. Remember, if they didn’t make your first list, chances are they’re not as close to you as you think. It also saves you the headache of having to accommodate more people when you’re down to the wire.

Also, when you send out RSVP cards, include the names of each guest you want to attend. It’s not unheard of for people to try and cram several names on their cards… even if you didn’t invite them. So, avoid the hassle by only including names that were on the actual guest list.

Plotting your wedding guest list won’t be easy, but it doesn’t have to be a nuisance either. Color-code everything, really think about your contacts, and stick to your budget!