I recently did a poll on our Instagram Stories asking what you all thought was the most challenging part of wedding planning. There were two major answers: budget and guest list. We’ll tackle all of the budget tips in another post for another day, but today I wanted to talk about making a guest list.
Making a guest list is one of the most challenging parts of wedding planning. Don’t be shocked if you disagree with your fiance or family for who should be invited and who shouldn’t. Before you begin to narrow down your guest list, there’s a few categories to think through.
Do you want an intimate wedding, or do you want a lot of people there? How many people can your venue hold? How many people can you afford to feed at the reception? There’s a lot of things that influence your guest count, but you should make a realistic estimate for your ideal number of people in attendance before coming up with your list.
It’s a common rule of thumb that only 80-90% of those invited actually attend your wedding, so if your max guest count count is 150 people, you could safely invite 165 people. If you’re not a math person, here’s a formula to help:
# of people you want to come x 1.1 = maximum # of invitations you can send
Remember what I said in the beginning: don’t be shocked if you disagree with your fiance or family for who should be invited and who shouldn’t. If you each think though your list of non-negotiable’s, it will help if you have to narrow down your list later. Some of your non-negotiable people might include:
There’s a lot of great resources to develop your guest list, but I recommend using a shared Google Sheet to organize your list. It’s free, accessible on any device, and will last beyond your wedding. That way, you don’t have to ask for addresses again in a few years when you want to send out a Christmas Card or party invitation. It’s also an easy way to share guest information with family and friends who might be in charge of your Bridal Shower or Rehearsal Dinner.
Here’s how I organized mine:
If your ideal guest count and your current guest list don’t align, you’re not alone. People add up SO quickly! You might be in the position where you can invite everyone, but chances are, there’s people that need to cut from your list. Here’s some questions to ask yourself as you simplify your guest list.
Have you spoken to them in the last 6 months?
Would you be upset if you didn’t get invited to their wedding?
Can you imagine your day without them?
Will they make your wedding day more fun or more stressful?
Will it upset anyone in your immediate family if you don’t invite them?
Are they part of your past or your future?
Gather addresses and send your Save The Date. There’s no proper formula on when to send invitations, but couples usually send a Save The Date about 6-8 months before their wedding and then follow up with Formal Invitations 6-8 weeks before the wedding.
Making a guest list is one of the less fun parts of planning a wedding, but it’s so worth it. Getting all of your favorite people together for the best day of your life — it’s incredible.