How to Make Your Wedding Guest List (The Right Way!)

Planning a wedding is complicated, involved, and exhausting in every way, but it's all worth it when the big day arrives. Many hours are spent considering every piece of the puzzle from menu planning to decor, from venue to music, and from ceremony to reception. Hundreds of decisions need to be made and when the process is underway, it almost seems like it will never end. Above all else, one of the most challenging parts of planning any wedding is putting together the wedding guest list. Of course, you want to include everyone that is important to both the bride and groom without leaving anyone out. However, it's often difficult to determine who makes the cut while still keeping the guest list manageable and the number of guests affordable. Making a wedding guest list isn't easy, but it's not an impossible task, either. Read on to learn some tips about how to make a wedding guest list. Find out how to do it the right way while keeping your stress levels low, avoiding overwhelm, and staying happy along the way.

It's Your Wedding
The first thing you need to keep in mind when planning your wedding is the fact that it is your wedding. Of course, you will want to please your parents and future in-laws, and to some extent, you will have to, especially if they are helping you pay for the wedding. However, the bottom line is that it's your big day, not theirs, and because of that, your wedding guest list selections should be up to you. The vast majority of the people at your wedding should be people that you and your fiancee personally want to be present at this special event. If your parents or in-laws are helping you pay for your wedding, you need to set boundaries and guidelines before you officially accept their financial assistance. You need to be clear about your guest list expectations and how many people they can invite themselves in addition to the people you and your fiancee choose. Even if you and your fiancee are paying for your wedding on your own, both of your parents will likely want you to invite some of their friends. Take some time early on to get both families together to make sure there are no surprises down the road.

Make Your Dream List
Although you may think that it will be difficult to hone down your list later, it's not a bad idea to start with a dream list of invitees. Make a list of every single person you might consider inviting and see how many people there are on it. This list may end up being shorter than you might imagine and in that case, it can be a great starting point for you and your fiancee. If it's longer than you fear, you can work together to begin cutting people who are not equally important to both of you.

Be Realistic
Although it is always tough to set a specific number of guests for your wedding, it's crucial to do so unless you plan on being in debt from your wedding for the rest of your life. You need to take both your budget and the size of your chosen venue into consideration.
Remember, each individual person on the list means another printed wedding program, another seat at the table, another plate of food, another piece of cake, and another chair rental. When you think about each of these factors, you may realize that another ten people isn't really worth the effort and expense.

Make Two (Or Three!) Different Lists
One way to make planning your wedding guest list a bit more manageable is by making several different lists. Your first list should include all of the guests who are absolutely non-negotiable. This list will include the people who must be invited such as close family and friends. These are the people without whom you cannot imagine your big day and who would be offended if they were left out.

Your second list can include additional friends, extended family, and professional connections that you think should be present. These people are more easily cut than the first group, but they are still people that you would like to have in attendance. The third list you create should be for additional guests that you would love to invite if space and your budget allows. These are people who you would love to include in your celebration. However, if these people end up being left out, it won't be the end of the world. Many brides and grooms even go as far as to send out invitations in waves. People on the first and maybe even the second lists above get invitations in the first round; when some of them decline, spaces open up on your list. Then, you can invite people from the third list if you so desire without going over your budget. If you time it right, the people on the third list won't even realize that they were kind of an afterthought.

Your Wedding Guest List: How to Choose Who to Cut

If your dream wedding guest list is too long from the very beginning, there are some categories of friends and acquaintances that may be easier to exclude than others. Although some weddings welcome children of all ages, it's easy to say that your wedding will be adults only to help to reduce the size of your list. If you want your wedding to be small, you could also make your list shorter by refusing to include plus-ones that you've never met before, although this may be difficult to enforce without making some guests upset. You can also choose not to invite family members that you haven't seen in years or decades, old friends with whom you are no longer close, and people who invited you to their weddings many years ago. You and your fiancee can choose a number of years as the cut-off in these situations.

Happy Wedding Planning
Planning a wedding guest list can be stressful and difficult, but it doesn't have to be. Consider the suggestions above when planning your list and stick to the parameters that you and your fiancee set for yourselves. Once you've made your decisions about who to invite and who not to invite, it's one more completed task that you can check off the list, and you are one step closer to the wonderful celebration if your big day.

Next, send out your save the dates and move forward from there! If you're looking for beautiful, affordable save the dateswedding invitations, wedding thank you cards, and more, look no further. Paper Culture has everything you need for before, during, and after your wedding and we are focused on sustainability, too.