How to handle the guest list for your wedding

12th July 2017Weddings

It’s one of the hardest things you’ll encounter during the planning phase for your wedding: the guest list.

It starts off a relatively fun task; who are you going to invite? Imagine that room full of people you know and love, all celebrating your big day! How exciting!

Soon, however, realisation dawns – you’re going to have to make cuts; the catering budget will only stretch so far and that means you’re going to have to disappoint certain people.

Fear not, for we’ve got the ultimate, pocket-sized guide to handling the guest list for your wedding!


Divide and conquer

Wedding guest lists only get messy if you dive head first into them without a plan. And the best plan for a list of this kind is to start divvying it up before you write any names down.

Broadly speaking, you can categorise the people who will be there:

  • Close family
  • Close friends
  • Distant family
  • ‘Loose’ friendships
  • Work colleagues
  • Friends-of-friends

With that list in hand, you can start assigning names to each category – and it’s easier than you might think.

Do it together


Don’t undertake the guest list on your own. Whether you’re the bride or groom, you need significant input from your partner if you’re to get this right and avoid upsetting one another.

It’ll probably cause a few arguments, but that’s healthy – it’ll help you whittle the list down properly.

Be realistic

Keep that budget in mind. You’re not made of money and one shouldn’t forget that the day is about the couple getting married.

It’s up to you who makes the guest list, and that calls from some pretty robust thinking about the people you want to spend a significant amount of money on during the day in order to keep them fed and watered.

Set some rules for cuts


Some people aren’t going to receive an invite to the ceremony. Some won’t even receive an invite to the day at all.

Sucks, eh?

To make this process fair and structured, set some rules for cuts. Look at your categorised list and decide if the following can sway your decision:

  • When was the last time you spoke to the potential invitee?
  • Do you want young children to make up a significant portion of the guest list?
  • Does one of you have an intense dislike for someone in particular?
  • Are you inviting someone because you feel you should (i.e. you went to their wedding)?
  • Are you inviting someone out of guilt for a misdemeanour?

Go on – make those tough choices (the list will never decrease, otherwise).

Don’t let others wear you down


While the wedding list is something you should create collaboratively, you must avoid involving third parties – even if they’re extremely close to you.

There’s nothing worse than bowing to the whims of a parent or sibling who insists that Mr and Mrs X must attend your wedding. You’ll regret it – trust us.

Final thought


Remember – this is your list. You create it, which means you make the decisions and tough choices.

You’ll never keep everyone happy – it’s impossible – but if you use our tips above, you’ll end up with a wedding guest list that is fair, realistic and designed to create the best possible celebration come the big day.