Getting started with your wedding guest list

One of the main tasks during wedding preparations is compiling a wedding guest list. Alongside the wedding date, number of guests is crucial piece of information you need in order to get started with finding your dream reception venue.

Decision on who to invite to your wedding is anything but easy. Therefore it’s important for you as a couple to agree on how big actually do you want your wedding to be.



It’s only logical to assume that your overall budget is tightly connected to your guest list and, in the end, every guest has its „price“. Besides, there are certain rules affecting the final guest list. The most important one is who is the cost bearer: you, both of your parents or just one of the parents.

If there is an agreement that only bride’s parents are paying for the entire wedding, they have „the right” to invite more guests. The same goes if the groom’s parents are paying. If the cost is equally divided between two families, the number of guests should be equal as well. On the other hand, if you as a couple bear all wedding costs, all extra guests from both of your parents that inevitably affect planned budget must be compensated by your families.


The first „real“ guest list is a compilation of various smaller lists. It’s important that it contains all family members, close relatives, godparents and other guests important to you. The list grows larger when you add all your friends. Your parents should be present in this moment in order to add their relatives, friends and business associates to the list. If your parents are divorced, don’t forget their new partners. Then, when you finally determine maximum number of guests for the wedding, it’s time to assemble the final guest list.


Family and relatives – family members and close relatives should be invited first. Are you planning to invite just close relatives or all of them depend on your mutual relationship.

Friends – persons whose names came first on the list are the ones that definitely have to be invited. The list can expand to friends you find dear and who will be invited if your budget allows it. College roommates, school friends, acquaintances… think about creating A and B guest list. If you decide on this kind of arrangement, send invitations to A list guests first. Then, you can invite B list guest in case guest from your primary list drop out. Don’t forget, six weeks is the deadline for sending invitations.

Children – they are cheerful guests at weddings. However, it’s not unusual to have a wedding without children due to lack of space or inappropriate reception time. Usually, top age limit is between 16 and 18. If children are not invited to your wedding, make sure you clearly note that to their parents, but avoid things like adding a note such as Children not invited into your wedding invitation.

Guests from far away – there’s always a certain dilemma when it comes to inviting guests from far away, especially if you’re sure they won’t be able to attend. It’s custom to send them invitation as well. But, don’t be surprised if some of these guests actually decide to come to your wedding. Many couples stay shocked by the number of RSVP’s from their far away guests. People love weddings and see them as an opportunity for travel and social contact. Statistics say that approximately 80% of invited guests give positive response.


According to the rules of good conduct, spouse of your guest is automatically included in your guest list. Couples who live together should be invited together, regardless of their marital status. There is no rule to suggest you should invite girlfriend/boyfriend of your guest, but common courtesy does if you have enough space and budget. If your guest is a couple who live separately, each of them should get their own invitation. In case of single guests, it’s best to leave them with an option to bring along their date.


Although you have the final number of invited guests who confirmed their arrival to the wedding, bear in mind that you can expect some changes due to numerous reasons. It’s best to talk to the wedding venue manager or your wedding planner about possible changes in number of guests on the day of the wedding. Good planning is important for your own satisfaction, but also for the satisfaction of each of your guest who will contribute to the celebration of your life.


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