Wedding Etiquette 101: Creating Your Wedding Guest List

You and your partner naturally want your loved ones present at your wedding to witness such an important milestone in your relationship. After all, the festivities wouldn’t be complete without them! But deciding who to invite can be trickier than you might think.

In fact, creating the guest list is one of the most challenging aspects faced when planning their wedding. Some couples are often surprised by how many people end up on their preliminary draft, and they soon realize that they’ll need to cut down their list. 

Such a task can be emotionally taxing and, in some cases, can even lead to tense arguments within the family and wedding party. But with enough preparation and the right approach, you can create a guest list that prioritizes your wedding experience while avoiding unnecessary drama and stress! 

Feeling lost about your guest list? Use these tips to ensure all of the important people in your lives are there on your big day.  

Determine a rough headcount before selecting the venue.

Choosing the setting for your nuptials is an exciting and meaningful step in the wedding planning process. Couples know how important it is to find the perfect location, so they’re often inclined to jump right to it. But looking at venue options without an estimated guest count can be a big mistake! 

Without a ballpark figure, you may end up choosing a wedding venue that isn’t large enough to accommodate all of your would-be guests. Before scheduling a tour with us, it is best to discuss the ideal size of your event with your partner, so you don’t have to limit your attendees or end up leaving out people who are special to you.

Develop the guest list with your partner.

An excellent way to build a rock-solid foundation for your marriage is to treat your wedding preparation as practice for your future lifelong partnership. That said, engaged couples should spend time curating their guest list together. 

While family members might pressure you into inviting certain people, the decision ultimately belongs to you and your partner. Don’t be afraid to respectfully disagree and stand your ground. It’s your wedding, after all! All that matters is that you two agree on who makes the final cut!

Keep your finances in mind.

From invitations and favors to floral arrangements and decor, weddings involve a lot of moving pieces that can add up to a considerable sum. Of course, the number of people you invite to your big day directly impacts your wedding expenses. Remember that you will be paying for everyone who will be at your event, so it’s crucial to prioritize those you simply can’t imagine getting married without and who you see being in your life forever.

Establish rules regarding plus-ones and children.

Your guests may have plus-ones or children they want to bring to your wedding, which can lead to your guest list growing out of control. It is best to lay down rules early to avoid potentially awkward moments and conflicts arising later on.

Sit down with your partner and decide whether you prefer to host an adults-only affair or if you’re fine inviting children to your wedding. You can specify this in the invitations, along with the number of seats reserved in a guest’s honor.

When it comes to granting plus-ones to your guest, you may consider a standard deciding factor: whether you know your guest’s date, how long they’ve known each other, or the nature of their relationship. The rules are completely up to you and your partner, so determine where to draw the line and stick to it.

Stay organized

An organized spreadsheet for your list is a must so you can keep track of all your guests. It’ll be extremely convenient to have everyone’s names, phone numbers, addresses, and other pertinent information in one accessible place.

You can also add columns to your spreadsheet to help you remember whether they have RSVPed, as well as any dietary restrictions or preferences and what gift they’ve given you. The latter is especially helpful when it’s time to send thank-you notes.

Your caterer and Los Willows coordinator will also benefit from this document, so make sure to forward them copies!

Now that you have some solid advice you can fall back on, it’s time to put all of this knowledge to good use. Don’t stress out too much about following these tips to the letter—just take whatever you or your partner find useful and what feels right for your event. At the end of the day, what’s important is that you have all of your favorite people celebrating both of you on your big day!

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