Wedding Guest List Advice

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Wedding Guest List Advice

Who should score an invite to the big day?

You are getting married! Mazel tov!

You are over the moon with excitement. 

But…you have to plan a wedding first.

How to finalize wedding guest list

And let’s be real ladies.

One of the most dreaded tasks is finalizing the wedding guest list.

Wedding planning can be an absolute nightmare. But it doesn’t have to be with these helpful tips to narrow down your guest list!

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Wedding Guest List 101

Wedding Reception Activities

The guest list can be complicated and frustrating, because at some point you realize that you can’t invite everyone you know. 

And the big question is: how do you decide who gets — and doesn’t get — an invitation to your wedding?

First things first.

Creating a wedding guest list involves two people: you and your fiance.

Use your favorite note taking app or pick up a cute guest list planning journal and start writing down everybody you can think of that you might possibly want to invite.

Don’t worry, we’ll narrow this down in a bit.

Let's Start With...

Wedding Guest List

1) The must haves. No exceptions.
Begin with immediate families, parents, grandparents, and best friends who are definitely on the list.

Next, add your closest relatives…the ones you really want to be there, as well as your dearest friends.

Step one is over. That was easy, right?

2) The second draft aka the “B List”
Consider cousins, uncles, and aunts. Also, your wider circle of friends and closest colleagues that you hang out with outside of work.

3) Third time’s a charm otherwise known as the “C List”
Usually this is reserved for old friends, family friends, and distant relatives you haven’t talked to in awhile.

At this point, if your guest list has already exceeded the amount you have budgeted for or that your venue can hold, don’t rush to send this group a wedding invitation in your first trip to the post office.

Keep them in your back pocket as a backup in case your A-listers can’t make it.

Be prepared — this will happen. 

Who will make the final cut?

After spending hours organizing the wedding guest list, it’s time to start eliminations and get those wedding invitations out the door!

This task can be tricky because inevitably you’ll have to face the uncomfortable question at least once: “When will I get my invitation?”

Don’t forget: it’s your wedding and you can invite whoever you want.

Don’t feel bad about skipping your old friend who hasn’t spoken to you since junior high or your parent’s friends who volunteered for carpool once in the 4th grade.

Shop: Wedding Guest Favors

How to Handle Uncomfortable Questions

Wedding Guest List Wedding Invitation

If you’re caught off guard or find yourself in an uncomfortable situation, and need to come up with an answer on the fly, here’s some wedding guest list explanations to keep in your back pocket.

“Am I invited to your wedding?”

Small Wedding:
Tell people you’re having a small, intimate wedding with close friends and family so you can focus on spending as much time with your new spouse during the wedding reception. This should make them feel more at ease as opposed to feeling left out.

Destination Wedding:
Explain that because you’re having a long distance wedding, the venue doesn’t accommodate a large group of people and you’ve opted to have a small, intimate wedding.

Anything Else:
Simply tell them “As I’m sure you know, weddings are expensive and we have a strict budget, and unfortunately that means we weren’t able to invite everybody that we would have liked.”

“Can I bring a plus one?”

Not all members of your wedding guest list will have a significant other.

Usually, these wedding guests don’t want to go to an event alone and will want to bring a wedding date to accompany them. 

The social “norm” is that wedding guests who are married, engaged, living with their partner or in a long term relationship should get a plus one.

Also, anybody in the bridal party should get a plus one as well. (Still need help with picking your bridal party members?)

Lucky for you, it’s your wedding so you and your fiance get to decide the wedding guest list “rules” together as a team.

How to Let Them Down Gently

Wedding Guest List

If your guests didn’t score a plus one and ask if they can bring someone, here are two options:

1) If they know a lot of people that will be attending, they don’t necessarily need a plus one. Let them know you’ll have a seating chart with people they know and will have loads of fun with.

They’re sure to have a great time at the wedding reception and dance it up with the rest of the single ladies and gentlemen.

2) On the other hand, if they’re not familiar with your family or friends maybe they should get a plus one in order to feel more comfortable. That’s a discussion you will need to have with your fiance. 

Authentic Bride Guide Tip: Stick to your guns, and don’t let anybody make you feel guilty because they don’t get to bring a date.

“Have you met my new friend?”

If your guest’s plus one backs out before the big day, that doesn’t mean they can bring some rando.

As the big day approaches, the place cards and seating arrangements are finalized. That means a surprise guest can cause frustration.

Consider it if you want, but if you’re not ok with this, simply tell them “Our wedding is a private event and we would only like people in attendance who we personally know.”

It's Important To Be Honest

Wedding Reception Music

You don’t have to go into detail, but simply let them know the truth. As Aunt Martha used to say, honesty is the best policy.

It’s important to not lie or blame somebody else, no matter how easy that may feel in the moment.

After all, it’s your wedding!

Never forget that it’s your wedding. (Repeat this statement out loud: IT’S MY WEDDING!) It is a huge milestone and you should spend it with people who will surround you with love and positive energy.

Do not feel like you have to apologize; just keep your answer short and vague.

Now, take a deep breath and let’s get started writing out that guest list.

Authentic Bride Guide Tip: Know your catering budget per head and how many people your venue can seat. Very important.

>> Organize your guest RSVPs, dietary restrictions, gifts received, and more with this free Wedding Guest List Organizer!

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