How To Painlessly Create Your Guest List

One part of the wedding planning process that people often dread is making the guest list. This can be daunting for many different reasons. Should you invite that friend you haven’t seen in a couple of years just because you were invited to their wedding? What should you do if your in-laws have a large number of people they want to be invited? What about children and plus-ones?


I'm here to break it down into some simple steps to get you started on making your ultimate guest list.


• Always stick to the numbers and your budget


Although it can be hard to decide who gets to be present on your big day, each decision should come back to your budget and the number of guests you have given to your vendors. Don’t try to push this number. You should even consider leaving some wiggle room in case someone brings an unexpected plus-one.


• Split the list (if you want to)


Guest lists can get messy, especially if multiple people are financially contributing to the wedding and have their own expectations. If you have in-laws or multiple people helping pay for the wedding, consider keeping things fair with a set percentage split. Here are some examples:

  • If one set of parents is contributing, the couple gets to choose 75% of the guest list and the parents get 25%.

  • If two sets of parents are contributing, the couple gets to choose 50% of the guest list and each set of parents gets 25%.

Everyone's situation is different. No matter how tricky this part can be, remember it is your big day. Have those tough conversations and figure out how to split the list if you want to. This step isn’t absolutely necessary!


• Set ground rules to follow


It can get tricky when picking who gets to come and who doesn’t. It’s a smart idea to set some ground rules from the beginning to be as fair as possible. Here are some examples:

  • If you haven’t talked to someone in more than a year, they don’t have to be invited.

  • If in-laws are getting to invite guests, you must know them personally.

  • If you haven’t talked to a non-immediate family member in 3+ years, you don’t have to invite them.

These are just examples, and they will be different for every couple. Take some time to think of some ground rules before diving into that guest list.


• Make a decision about plus-ones and children.


It is completely up to you and your significant other to decide if you want to allow plus-ones and/or children. Just remember that these people need to be included in your overall guest list and your budget. We suggest making a decision and sticking to it so you don’t hurt people’s feelings.


• Make it fun!

Yes, guest lists can be daunting at first, but these are the people who are going to be celebrating your big day! Try to keep a positive attitude about it, and think about all the fun your guests are going to have. In the long run, these details won’t matter as much as you think they do right now. Enjoy this entire process while you can 💗



I am now blogging for The White Dove Barn also! You can find this post & other wedding-related ones on their website: thewhitedovebarn.com - check it out :)