How to Draw Up Your Wedding Guest List

The guest list for your wedding can be a political minefield. Many couples find this the hardest part of wedding planning, particularly if they are under pressure from friends or relatives. Most couples draw up their guest list first and then look for a venue that can accommodate the right number of guests within their budget. However, if you have fallen in love with a particular wedding venue it’s sometimes easier to create a guest list within the confines of your venue capacity. As a rule you can usually invite up to 10% more guests than the venue will hold, as some will inevitably be unable to come.

Here are five handy tips to follow when you’re compiling your wedding guest list:

  1. Only invite people that you both want to be at the wedding and you have both met. If you have never met a friend or colleague of your fiancé they’re not close enough to be invited to your wedding. Of course there might be exceptions such as friends that live abroad.
  2. Come up with your own rules when deciding who to invite, such as only inviting people that you have been in contact with in person or over the phone within the last six months. If you can’t decide whether you should invite someone or not, the answer is probably no.
  3. When it comes to distinct groups of potential guests such as distant relatives, work colleagues, or friendship groups, try to apply the all or nothing rule. For example invite all of your first cousins or none at all, or invite your whole team from the office or none of them. Again there will be exceptions for very close friends within these groups.
  4. Parents of the bride and groom used to be responsible for the guest list but this is now a very old fashioned idea. Couples who are paying for their own weddings are not required to let their parents invite people. If your parents are contributing to the wedding it’s only fair to allocate them a reasonable number of invitations. Let them know how many guests they can invite early on so they don’t make informal invitations they can’t keep, and check their lists to be sure you are not doubling up on relative invites.
  5. Generally when you invite single people to a wedding it’s polite to allow them to bring a date, but this is not compulsory if your venue capacity or budget means you’re struggling to limit your list. If a single guest is coming as part of a group of friends or colleagues, they don’t need a plus one, but if they won’t know anybody else at the wedding it’s probably only fair to let them bring someone along.

Unless you have an unlimited budget and a huge venue, there are always going to be people you miss off your list and this is bound to cause some hard feeling, but if you are happy with your final decision then that is the most important thing. Never invite someone just out of guilt, or because you were invited to their wedding five years before. Your wedding is your special day and you only want to share that with the people that you both love.

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