Wedding Guest List

???Family, Friends--Who, How Many???

Deciding on the names to put on your wedding guest list is one of the trickier things you will have to do during your wedding planning. If you don't set some ground rules and then stick to them, the guest list can easily spiral out of control.

If money is no object and you know a lot of people, invite them all! However, since most couples do not have unlimited resources, it is a good idea to keep the guest list to a reasonable number.

The number of guests you invite to your wedding will affect the ceremony and reception venues you choose. And it will add to the amount spent on food, drinks, invitations and other stationary items, favors, etc.

The wedding guest list should probably be one of the first things decided on--at least have a rough draft. Having a number in mind will help you in other decisions you need to make.

The "ground rules" need to be decided on by the bride and groom and the parents of each. And this is one area where the parents (especially the moms) need to defer to the wishes of the bride and groom. If they want a wedding where only their friends are present, then so be it (note to brides--it may be very important to your mother to share your most special day with her best friends. Some of those friends may have watched you grow from baby to young woman and even though you don't know them well, they may know YOU very well. So at least try to understand your mom's point of view).

Step one will be to decide on the people who MUST be there. That would, of course be family and close friends. If one or both families are very big, you need to decide how close a family relation needs to be before they are invited. Third cousins twice removed could possibly be left off. Do not leave out a family member who might be hurt by the lack of an invitation. Write down the names on your wedding guest list of family and close friends that you just couldn't live without on your wedding day.

After family is decided on, turn to friends. A good rule to follow is to invite only those friends who are mutual friends. Write their names on a second list.

Now count the names on both lists. If it is longer than you had intended your guest list to be, you will have to consider who to cut. Mark the names that you will only invite if there is enough space. You might even come up with a 2nd tier list to invite if you see that some of those on the 1st tier list will not be able to attend.

If it is shorter than you had intended then you can begin to add names from other areas of your life--such as casual friends, co-workers, friends of parents, etc.


One thing to keep in mind is that usually less people come than are invited--sometimes even less people come than RSVP'd and said they would come!

Another thing to consider if you have a lot of family and friends and want them all to share your day is to save money on the reception by having a cake and punch reception in the church fellowship hall or add tea sandwiches and finger foods for something more substantial.

Wedding favors, which are something affected by the number of guests you have, do not have to be outlandishly expensive. There are many favors that you can give for $1.00 or less per guest.

Buying wedding software is something you might consider to make your guest list easier to manage. With wedding software everytime you make a revision, you can print out a clean list to work from. Then when you are ready to send invitations, it will help you keep track of the RSVPs and the number of people attending your wedding.

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