Creating a wedding guest list is probably the most challenging part of any couples wedding planning. Being able to invite everybody you know is a rare luxury, the majority of us will have to set a number and stick to it. Let’s face it; your budget and choice of venue will determine the number of guests you can invite.
The average UK wedding has around 120 guests; this means the majority of wedding couples will need to compile a list. You might like to keep it old school and handwrite it, or there are loads of free wedding list templates online.
1.Dividing the List
Back in the day, it was the bride’s family who were responsible for the cost of the wedding so they were also in charge of the wedding list. It’s more common today for both sets of parents to contribute to the wedding. Although whether or not both sets of parents are contributing to the cost of the wedding you will still need to have a family meeting to discuss the allocation of guests. It’s traditional for the couple to have 50% of the list and each set of parents to have 25% each.
2.Make a Dream List
Write down every person you can think of that you would love to be at your wedding. From distant cousins to funny work friends, it’s about creating a definitive list at this point. Don’t think about your budget or numbers, just go mad. You will trim this list down later when you make A & B lists.
3.Keep To The Numbers!
In reality most couple’s wedding guest list number will be mostly determined by the budget and capacity of the reception. It’s best to keep your guest list number on the conservative side, as you can add to the list (if you need to) as you receive your RSVP’s. A common myth is that 10 or 20% of your invites will turn you down, so you should over-invite. This can be a dangerous game to play unless your venue and budget are flexible. Imagine the stress of opening each RSVP as you reach your max number!!
4.Set Some Rules
It’s time to start trimming your mega list you made earlier. If you can create some rules and stick to them it will make the job much easier. You might not want kids at your wedding so don’t feel bad about it. If you haven’t spoken to them for 3 years and they are not related you can scratch them too. If neither of you have met them, spoken to them or heard their name before don’t invite them. This person will obviously be from your parent’s lists so be fair and scratch one of yours for every one of theirs. These are just some ideas; every couple will have their own ideas for rules for cutting the list.
5.Make a Priority List
The most efficient way to invite as many people to your wedding without exceeding your budget or changing your venue is to have two lists A & B. This is how it works – Your A list is simply the people who you cannot imagine not being at your wedding. This will be your family and very close friends. They will all receive the first round of RSVPs. As you start getting your RSVPs back with each declined offer you can start sending out to the B list. Your B list will be the next highest on your list that didn’t quite make the A list.
You just need to do this at least 12 weeks before the wedding asking for an RSVP within the month. That way you can send out the B list RSVPs 8 weeks before the wedding without your B list being any the wiser that they weren’t first choice. Don’t forget to have two sets of RSVPs printed with separate dates for the B list!!
Remember, you have to draw the line somewhere, so having 50 guests or 200 guests you will still need to make hard choices. Adding another 50 guests just changes the goalposts a little. Some people are going to make it and some won’t. Its always going to be a tough choice!
6.Set Your Boundaries
You need to stick to your guns when you have set your boundaries. This is your wedding after all so it’s important you send the right signals when discussing extra guests. If it’s a case of the budget, than it’s fair to say if anyone wants more guests they pay for them. Most of the time the venue will set the limit for numbers which makes saying no to any extra guests requests easier. It’s harder for either parents to push for extra guests if it means the other parents or you have to drop one of your guest choices.
You might want to stay old school and have a paper list. This can get tricky, especially when you get any regrets. There are a lot of free Guest list templates to keep everything organised. They will really help you stay on track and keep on top of what could be a chaotic list! Here are some of the more popular ones:
Thank you for reading this far! I hope you find this article useful for your wedding planning. Below are some other articles you might find helpful.