5 tips to prevent your wedding guest list from getting out of hand

Wedding guest list

You just got engaged and you’re ready to start the wedding planning. You and your fiancé have talked budget and how many people you want to invite. Your guest list is off to a good start when you start second guessing whom you should invite. Do you invite that distant aunt twice removed? Do you invite that friend you were really close to in high school but you haven’t spoken to in four years? And your mum just rang, she wants to invite all the people she’s ever talked to. Who do you cut? Should you rethink the size of your wedding? Don’t worry, we’ll help with those questions and offer some tips to help you decide who should be invited to your special day. 

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1. Ceremony vs. Reception

On your wedding day, the ceremony is truly the most important part. You say “I Do” and you commit yourself to each other for the rest of your lives. The reception is the party and celebration after you’ve made those vows. Is it ok to invite people to the reception and not the ceremony? The answer is Yes! Many couples decide they only want a small handful of people to witness the vow exchange. Keeping it small and intimate is definitely ok.  

Note: While it’s ok to invite people only to the reception, it is considered very rude to invite people only to the ceremony!

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2. Ask yourself some questions

Sometimes the easiest way to narrow down your guest list is by asking some simple questions:

When was the last time I saw this person?

If you haven’t seen them (or talked on the phone) for over a year they can be cut from the list.

Did/Would I attend their wedding?

If you were invited to their wedding (or you think you’d be invited in the future) it is customary to also invite them to your wedding. You were important to them when they were making their list and as such you should respect them and do the same.

Can you imagine your big day without them?

This one is easy. If you can’t imagine your day without them, they should definitely be on the list. They are obviously important to you and should be there to celebrate your day.

Is it someone your parents want there?

This is where it gets a little tricky. Make sure you set rules and guidelines with your parents. If they can only invite 10 people then it’s up to them to create their own list and decide who is more important to them.

Will it create family drama if they are not at the wedding?

As a rule of thumb, if it’s going to create drama not inviting someone then, for your own peace-of-mind, you should add him or her to your list. Weddings are stressful to begin with, you don’t want to add more.

Co-workers: Have you spent time together outside of work? Would you still keep in touch if we weren’t working together?

If you don’t have a strong connection with them they should be cut from your list. Plus, do you really want your boss to see you doing shots up at the bar?

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3. Proper Etiquette

Wedding etiquette is a touchy subject for some people. Especially the couples that decide to go an untraditional route. However, it’s still important to keep some things in mind. Such as, if one aunt is invited to your wedding then all aunts (and uncles) should be invited. Also, the people who were invited to your wedding shower or those who received a save the date, should be invited to the wedding.

You don’t want to create a “B” list. This is when you’ve received more “no’s” than you were anticipating and you’re considering sending invites to those people you had to cut. Trust us, they’ll know they weren’t on your “A” list and it’ll cause drama.

4. Consider the Reception Venue

This is very important! If your reception venue will only hold 300 people max, do not invite 500 and hope 200 will say no. Roughly 10-20 percent of your guest list will decline.

You also want to consider how the venue will be set up if you reach capacity with 300 people. Will you have to move tables? Will the bar be away from the dance floor? Will people be uncomfortable sitting 10 to a table instead of 8? Make sure to keep everything in perspective.

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5. Stand Your Ground

This is your wedding. Ultimately, you and your fiancé decide how it goes and who is invited. You’ve made your decisions and people will have to live with them. If you don’t want kids invited then make that clear when talking to family. Address your invitations to just those that are invited.

You’ll want to stand your ground and stay strong when planning your wedding. If you make an exception for one person you’ll have problems if you don’t do it for everyone.


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