How to create a wedding guest list

There are lots of small tweaks you can make to your wedding planning process (especially if you’re in the early stages) that can really ease the stress.

How to create a wedding guest list

How to create a wedding guest list

Wedding planning can be pretty complicated. You’re dealing with a lot of people, a lot of money, and a lot of details. We know that you’re probably pretty busy already—jobs, school, family, whatever—and can’t spend your entire day wedding planning (even though you might like to!). It can all feel a bit overwhelming—but it doesn’t have to.

So how do you make wedding planning simpler? Turns out there are lots of small tweaks you can make to your wedding planning process (especially if you’re in the early stages) that can really ease the stress.

Take your time.

There are lots of reasons why couples prefer a long engagement to a shorter one (in fact, the average engagement is 13 months). If you’re the type of person who gets easily anxious and overwhelmed, that’s reason enough to go for a longer engagement. Of course, it’s totally possible to plan a wedding in six months or less, but taking the extra time will allow you to slow down, have a larger pool of vendors to choose from, and actually enjoy the process.

Book an all-inclusive venue.

Venues like hotels, country clubs, and banquet halls often include catering and other services in their packages. By booking an all-inclusive venue you are saving yourself time (and possibly money) in searching for and hiring additional vendors, plus your planning process will be even more seamless with fewer phone calls, emails, and the like.


If you’re old-school, it can be oh-so tempting to buy one of those super-pretty wedding planning notebooks or binders—or use the old “Post-It” method to arrange your seating chart. Our advice: Resist the temptation and plan your wedding exclusively online. There are so many (free!) online wedding tools, from checklists to budget trackers, guest list organizers to seating chart creators, that are easily accessible and shareable, that you won’t miss that cutesy scrapbook one bit.


How to create a wedding guest list

Keep the guest list (and wedding party!) small.

When it comes to wedding planning, the more people you invite, the more problems can arise. Larger weddings are usually more expensive, and you’ll have more personalities, annoying questions, and potential etiquette issues to manage. This goes for your wedding party too—keep your crew super-tight to avoid conflicts. The last thing you need during this already trying time is even more drama.

Hire a planner.

Simplifying the wedding planning process is part of a planner’s job description. An experienced planner can help connect with vendors, hone in on your wedding vision, and ensure all tasks are completed in a timely fashion—all while keeping you well within budget. Yes, a wedding planner is an added expense but hiring one is oh-so worth it to streamline your wedding planning process.

Follow one single checklist.

If you do a Google search, there are a lot of online wedding checklists out there—each one will outline different tasks in a different order. Our advice? Pick one wedding checklist and stick to it so you don’t get confused.

Trust your vendors.

How to create a wedding guest list

Plan with your phone.

You know those moments when you’re mindlessly playing with your phone? You know, waiting at the doctor’s office, standing in line at the bank, sitting on the train… Instead of watching ridiculous cat videos on YouTube, use those moments to plan your wedding. With wedding-related apps you can accomplish wedding-related tasks (researching vendors, updating your budget, etc.) with a tap of your phone.

Use Pinterest sparingly.

We love Pinterest as much as the next wedding-obsessed bride or groom, but we recognize that it’s really easy to go overboard with this photo-saving tool. For example, you’ve already chosen a blush and gold color scheme for your big day when you happen to see a photo that has you swooning over mint and navy. Our advice? Once you’ve made those big wedding decisions (color scheme, attire, etc.) and shared them with your wedding vendors, stop the pinning. “Inspiration overload” is just going to confuse matters and potentially make you doubt your decisions.

Keep your wedding messages separate.

If you have a busy inbox (and these days, who doesn’t?), it might be useful to set up a separate email account or use a service like WeddingWire Messages to exclusively handle your wedding-related communications. That way, you won’t accidentally delete your flower proposal or ignore your catering bill—you’ll know that every message in your wedding account is pertinent to your big day, and keep it separate from your work or personal life.

Wedding guest lists can be one of the most anxiety-inducing parts of the wedding planning process. Your childhood bestie, your camp roommate, your college friends, and your coworkers––they all have to be invited, right?

Not so fast! There’s actually an easy formula to narrowing down your guest list without any of the drama that can come from trying to invite everyone and accommodate everyone. It’s important to remember that, at the end of the day, this celebration is about you and your partner and who you guys want by your side on your big day. To help you navigate any tough moments, we’re sharing our best tips for seamlessly creating your wedding guest list—and navigating any tricky convos along the way.

Want to make sure to stay super organized throughout the entire wedding planning process? Use The Knot’s Wedding Guest List Manager to request address, integrate with your wedding website, and track RSVPs.

Make Your List Before Choosing a Venue

While you don’t need your guest list 100 percent finalized before selecting your wedding venue, you do want to have a rough number in place. The reason: It’s so not ideal to fall in love with a wedding venue only to realize it can accommodate 75 guests max, while you have 125 non-negotiable invites on your list.

“You’ll want to make an initial guest list not long after you get engaged before you start looking at wedding venues,” says Naticia Fonseca, owner, founder and wedding planner at The Calla Lily Event Planning. “You’ll want to know approximately how many people you’re planning to invite when you start your venue search so you can find a spot that can accommodate your guest count.” If you have a wedding planner, they can help steer you towards venues that will work with your expected guest count. If not, The Knot Marketplace is a great way to comb through venue listings that suit your tastes, budgets, guest count and more.

Determine Your Budget

Not only can the size of your guest list impact the venue you choose, but it is also the biggest factor when it comes to stretching your budget. The number of guests you host has a direct impact on your budget, so it’s important to compose your wedding guest list with that in mind.

If you’re fortunate enough to receive help paying for your wedding from family, consider how that will impact the guest list. Many times, when parents or grandparents contribute financially to your wedding budget, they may assume that the investment will include a say in the invite list on your big day. Decide early on in the wedding planning process about how you want to account for that input. Will you give them 25 percent of the guest list? 50 percent? Will you split it three ways between each set of parents and yourselves? Include everyone in these conversations and settle on a guest count allocation that works for all parties involved.

Create an A-List

The first step in working through your guest list includes working collaboratively as a couple to create an A-list of people who you absolutely want in attendance. This can include your immediate family, your wedding party, childhood friends and others who you’re close to.

“First, make your absolute list,” suggests Kara Ghassabeh, a wedding coach who helps couples navigate the nuanced relationships that come with wedding planning. “Write down the people you can’t imagine not having there. Think about the people who have been there for you over the years in significant ways, the people that shaped you, influenced you, inspired you, stood by you, walked alongside you and shared significant milestones with you. Think about the people that matter the most to you, however you define it.”
Depending on how large your family and social circles are, this list could be 10 people long or it could be 50. Either way, it gives you a feel for how many more spots you have on your list to fill given your overall budget.

Add to Your B- and C-Lists

With your must-invites in place, you two can work through the list of extended family members and friends who you will undoubtedly invite, but who may not make the cut if you end up with an intimate, pared-down wedding. Ghassabeh says these are the, “‘nice to include’ list––those more social, business, distant connections that would be so much fun to share your day with but who you don’t have the strongest, most significant bond with.”

The number of guests you have at your wedding affects everything you do while planning, but creating the list can seem like an incredibly difficult task to start. We are here to help!

How to create a wedding guest list

Wedding guests will come from all aspects and times of your life. Here is a system to pull your lifetime of friends and family into one guest list.

The Categories:

Family List them ALL, down the second cousins you see only at the family reunion.
Close Friends These are the people you see or speak to on a regular basis, or are significant in your life.
Professional Friends Coworkers, clients-turned-friends, mentors, or other people who are significant to your professional life.
Significant Relationships The people who remain significant in your life, and can include friends from childhood, college, sports organizations, or any other group in your life that was meaningful.

List Creation:

You and your future spouse should create your own lists that will be combined into one at the end. Take notes on the number of people associated with each name, including spouses, significant others, and children (if you are considering a child-friendly affair).

If appropriate, have your parents also prepare a list to avoid last-minute invitation requests.


Give each guest on the list a priority of A, B, or C.

A – Close family and friends that must be at the ceremony.

B – Additional friends, extended family, and professional friends that you are planning to invite.

C – Guests that would be nice to have at your wedding if your budget allows.

You now have your wedding list ready to go! Based on your budget and venue, start refining the list and adding addresses in preparation for your big day.

From requesting addresses to tracking RSVPs, we make all guest everything a (wedding) cakewalk.

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Tailor It to You

Our guest list for weddings groups guests by household and your kind of event.

Hassle-Free Tracking

We’ll update you on RSVPs, meals and more so you don’t have to worry about a thing.

Guest List Confidence

Say goodbye to basic wedding guest list templates and curate the right list for you.

Your Answer to Every Wedding Guest List Question

Your Wedding Guest List, Done for You

Spreadsheets. Contacts. Info. Upload it all, then group guests by wedding celebration.

Start Your Guest List

Get All Guest Everything

Request addresses, track plus-ones, check RSVPs, peek at gifts and much more!

Works With Your Wedding Website

Be instantly notified via email the moment a guest RSVPs on your Wedding Website.

Sync Your Website

How to Slay Your Wedding Guest List

Your guide to all things guests, from who to invite to how to get it all done without popping a sweat.

“Where would we be without Guest List Manager? Still engaged is where. Lol. I can’t imagine how we would’ve had the wedding otherwise. Seriously.”

DeAndra and Chris
Atlanta, GA

“If you’re not using The Knot’s guest list for weddings, you need to start stat. I was able to track addresses, meal choices and what gifts were coming my way all at once.”

Chrissy and Omar
Newark, NJ

“We both have huge families and having digital RSVPs made wrangling everyone extremely easy. No paper trail.”

Austin and Tim
Denver, CO

“Where would we be without Guest List Manager? Still engaged is where. Lol. I can’t imagine how we would’ve had the wedding otherwise. Seriously.”

DeAndra and Chris
Atlanta, GA

“If you’re not using The Knot’s guest list for weddings, you need to start stat. I was able to track addresses, meal choices and what gifts were coming my way all at once.”

Chrissy and Omar
Newark, NJ

“We both have huge families and having digital RSVPs made wrangling everyone extremely easy. No paper trail.”

Austin and Tim
Denver, CO

“Where would we be without Guest List Manager? Still engaged is where. Lol. I can’t imagine how we would’ve had the wedding otherwise. Seriously.”

DeAndra and Chris
Atlanta, GA

“If you’re not using The Knot’s guest list for weddings, you need to start stat. I was able to track addresses, meal choices and what gifts were coming my way all at once.”

Chrissy and Omar
Newark, NJ

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Got Questions About The Knot Guest List Manager?

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service team a note anytime at [email protected]

What Can I Use the Wedding Guest List Template to Do?

Is the Guest List Manager Only for Weddings?

I Can’t Keep Track of These RSVPs! Can the Guest List Manager Do This?

How Do I Track Changes When Someone on My Wedding Guest List Has an Update?

Is There a Way to Remember Who to Thank for Which Gift?

What Kind of Things Are Shared Between My Wedding Website and the Guest List Manager?

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Thanks to our photographers: Special Thanks: Aurora Photography; The Poffs; Milou + Olin Photography; Wendy Laurel; iStock; unsplash

How to create a wedding guest list

The Spruce / Michelle Becker

How to create a wedding guest list

A wedding guest list template can help you keep track of everyone you plan on inviting to your wedding. Not only will it help keep you organized, it’s also a place where you can make sure no invitation or thank you note gets forgotten.

These templates can be as simple or as detailed as you like. You’ll need to enter basic information such as names and addresses, and from there you can enter everything from how many children are in the party to dietary restrictions and more.

How to create a wedding guest list

All the templates are free and can be used with spreadsheet programs or word processors, making them useful even if you don’t have Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Word.

You can complement these templates with more wedding freebies and free wedding templates to help you create your own favor boxes, save the date cards, programs, checklists, and websites.

Wedding Guest List Manager

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The Knot offers a template that’s full of features. After you’ve entered your guests, you can filter by groups, keep track of RSVPs, create address labels, and even use it to write your ​thank you notes.

You’ll need to become a member of The Knot to use their template, but it’s completely free and takes only a few minutes to join.

Wedding Guest List Tracker

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Use the fields in the free Excel template from Botanical Paperworks to enter the names, addresses, and phone numbers of your guests.

When your guest list is complete, you can use the template to keep track of invitations sent, replies received, the number of guests invited and attending, and those who are not attending.

As a bonus, the spreadsheet automatically tallies the days until your wedding, how many guests are invited, how many guests have confirmed, and how many have not.

Wedding Guest List Spreadsheet Template

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Ashlyn Writes has created this free template that can be opened in Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets.

This is a complete guest list for all wedding events, each with a separate sheet so you can enter all the bride’s guests, groom’s guests, and also the guests for any other wedding events like the bridal shower and rehearsal dinner.

Use the headings to enter names, mailing addresses, whether the invitation has been sent or not, gifts received, and thank yous sent.

Wedding Guest List

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Style Me Pretty’s template can be opened with Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel where you can enter your guest’s information, save it, and print it out if you’d like.

The columns in this template include first name, last name, address, email address, dietary restrictions, sent save the date, sent invitation, the number of invited guests, number attending, children, rehearsal invited and attending, table number, visiting from out of town, gift description, and notes.

You’ll also find some helpful tips to help you complete your list and make sometimes tough decisions on who to invite.

Wedding Guest List

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The template from Document Templates is really easy to use and has a very simple design.

Changing the date is a breeze because it lets you select the date from a calendar, after which the date is displayed with a fancy text on the top right.

This template lets you fill out a guest’s address, relationship, seating arrangement, food choice, and gifts received. There also are sections called invited to wedding, accepted/declined, and thank you card sent.

Wedding Guest List Template

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Another template can be downloaded from Dotxes and includes columns for a name, relation, phone, email, diet restrictions, RSVP, and gift description.

Like the others from this list, Dotxes’ template lets you customize the template if it’s not exactly how you’d like it, such as editing the heading and column text and color as well as the image.

To download this template, you must first add it to your cart and then check out as if you were purchasing it, but it’s still free. This means you’ll have to include your name and email address so the download link can be sent to via email ​with the purchase receipt.

Wedding Guest List Manager

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Zola’s free wedding guest list template lets you quickly enter your guests’ details such as name, address, phone number, and email. You can also easily track RSVPs through the guest list.

The best party about the guest list at Zola is that you have multiple ways to enter guest information. You can enter the guests yourself into the website and you can even add your contacts from your phone’s address book.

You also have the option of sending a link out to your guests asking for their addresses, emails, and phone numbers. This is a great option for those guests who you don’t have information from yet.

Zola’s free wedding guest list also allows you to upload an existing spreadsheet if you already have some of your guests’ information collected.

tips to help you make a wedding guest list

One of the hardest parts of the planning process is creating the guest list. So many of the decisions and your wedding budget revolve around the number of guests you’ll have. For example, you don’t have a date until you book your venue and the size of your guest list will determine which venues you can even consider. Using the information below to make your guest will take some stress out of the process.

Determine how you want your day to feel

Long before you begin making a list of names, think about what kind of wedding you want to have. If you want a small but romantic feel, it will be a challenge to accomplish that with hundreds of guests. If you want to throw the party that everyone will be talking about for years, it will be difficult to create that with only your closest friends and family in attendance.

How to create a wedding guest list

Talk with your families about expectations

Before you invite anyone, it’s important to chat with each of your families about the guest list. Doing this early in the process will help reduce drama later. If family is helping with the budget they might feel entitled to joint control over major decisions like the guest list. If you happen to be paying, you might compromise by allotting them a set number of invites for people you didn’t include on the list. Regardless of what you decide, open an honnest communication is the best practice here.

Start with your siblings’ list

Did one of your siblings get married recently? If they did, it’s a good idea to look at their guest list. You don’t have to invite all the same people but it might prevent you from forgetting a family member by accident.

How to create a wedding guest list

Figure out how to handle plus-ones

There is no hard and fast rule to determine which of your guests will recieve a “plus one” invite. You probably already know which of your guests is engaged or a long-time significant other. Having a “singles” table is perfectly acceptable so don’t feel bad about limiting plus-ones.

Don’t forget about kids

Kids will also be included in the final guest count. Choosing to invite lots of tiny humans or having a child-free wedding are equally common. It’s totally up to you. Just remember that whichever you decide, it can potentially complicate things for guests with families. If your venue has some extra space a great compromise is to hire a baby-sitter for the wedding.

How to create a wedding guest list

List everyone first

I find that it’s easier to list everyone in your family/friend network, then categorize. That means listing everyone. Even if you don’t think you’ll have room or they won’t come, put them down anyway. When you’re done, you’ll know the largest number you could have.

Categorize guests into (at least) two lists

Start with the people who are most imporant to you. You’ll know exactly who they are. If it wasn’t for including them in your day, you might consider eloping. You can then create a second or third tier. If you send invites out early enough you’ll begin to recieve RSVPs from the first batch of guests. If some of them can’t come you can begin to invite other people. Be careful about inviting some, but not all, of certain groups like cousins or co-workers.

How to create a wedding guest list

Use the one year rule

If you don’t know if you should invite a certain friend, use this test – have you seen them in the past year? Will you see them in the next year? If they were getting married this year, would you be upset if you didn’t get an invite? It’s easy to want to invite anyone who was a part of your lift at one time but if they’re not part of your present it’s ok to leave them off the list.

Remember veue restrictions

Each venue has a maximum number of guests and they didn’t haphazzardly determine that number. They know exactly how many people they can accomodate for a ceremony, coctail reception or sit down dinner. There are also legal limits placed upon venues because of fire codes. I’d warn you against inviting more people than your venue allows, thinking some people won’t come. If you receive more ‘yes” RSVPs than you planned on you’ll have some unplesant conversations to have.

So you’ve started planning your wedding and you’re getting down into the details – the wedding guest list! This is a super exciting time. Drawing up the guest list is one of those moments when all of the wedding prep starts to feel real! But how do you start creating it?

Your wedding guest list is really important, but it doesn’t have to be stressful to put it together. I’ve broken it down into 6 simple steps to help you create your list and start sending out your save-the-dates!

How to Create a Wedding Guest List in 6 Easy Steps

You can tweak these steps to work for you and what’s important to your wedding guest list, but they are the perfect place to start.

Step One: Decide if You’re Inviting Everyone to the Reception

Right away, it’s helpful to figure out if you are going to host everyone for the whole wedding day, or if you’re going to break up the day into different events. Most people will invite guests to the whole day, but you might consider having a longer wedding guest list for your ceremony and post-ceremony drinks, and then a more intimate guest list for your dinner and dancing.

If you choose to have multiple wedding guest lists, then you’ll just go through this process a few more times. I’d suggest that you start with your core wedding guest list with everyone invited to the whole day, and then decide who else you want to invite to your ceremony.

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Step Two: Land On a Maximum Number

The key to creating a wedding guest list is to know your maximum number of guests (and then stick to it!) There are a few different ways that you can arrive at that number – budget being one of them – but the easiest and clearest way to settle on a maximum number for your guest list is to take your cues from your venue. Every venue will have a different capacity, so that’s super important when you’re composing your guest list. Choose one of the venue packages and use that as your cap for the number of guests on your list.

A Note on Budget

One aspect of the budget that you can easily underestimate is your stationery. The bigger your wedding guest list, the more you’ll spend on save-the-dates, RSVP cards, and invitations – so keep that in mind as you plan!

Step Three: Figure Out Who Gets a Say

The thing that can make creating a wedding guest list a little bit complicated is that everyone has an opinion. Weddings are family affairs, and parents and grandparents are just as excited for them as you are! But when your mom wants to invite her whole book club or your grandpa just assumes that you’ll be inviting that distant cousin you haven’t seen since you were twelve, things can get awkward.

One essential step in creating a wedding guest list is to decide who gets a say in the guest list. If your parents are contributing financially, you might feel that they have a bigger influence on the wedding guest list than if it’s just you and your partner paying for it. One thing’s for sure: everyone will have ideas, but you get to decide who has a say!

Step Four: Divide Up the Total

Now that you have the maximum number of guests and you know who gets a say in the wedding guest list, you get to divide up the ‘seats’ and give each person a certain number of invites they can send.

For example: say your maximum number of guests is 200. You might decide that you get to decide on 75 guests, your partner gets to decide on 75 guests, and your parents get 25 invites and their parents get 25 invites. Alternatively, you could decide that you and your partner are going to decide on 190 of the guests – but that each of your moms has 5 invites they can give to whoever they want. You get the idea!

Step Five: Start Inward and Work Your Way Out

While you’re deciding who to invite, start inward and work your way out. Don’t go all the way back to the friend who helped your imaginary wedding back in third grade, and don’t start with your coworkers or boss.

How to create a wedding guest list Elizabeth & Lucas’ Austin wedding, planned by Wild Sky Events. Photo by Caroline Lima.

Instead, start with close family. Next, the close best friends who really know you in your life now. After, the distant family you want to bring in. Next, the friends from your past who you want to be part of your day. After that, and only then, think about work colleagues or other connections you might want to honor. They say that if you haven’t talked to them in the last year, they probably don’t need to get an invitation to your wedding – that advice seems pretty solid to me!

Step Six: Think About Individuals, Not Groups

This tip piggybacks off of the last one. When you’re creating your wedding guest list, one thing that can cause it to balloon pretty quickly is the whole concept of group connections. This is when I hear things like Well, the five of us lived together back at college and one of them fell off the map but the other four of us still meet up maybe once a year and the only one I really talk to regularly is Jessica but if I invite her and not the other two it’ll feel so personal but both of them are married and I don’t really know their partners so the whole thing feels so awkward – whew – slow down there!

This is your wedding. A party you are throwing for your closest people. You don’t need to invite out of pity or obligation. Remember, for everyone you don’t invite, you’re protecting space for someone you really want to be there! So don’t let guilt or fear of offending people dictate your decisions. Think about guests as individuals and don’t get caught up in inviting whole social groups.

  • How to create a wedding guest list
  • How to create a wedding guest list

Signage and Stationery for Elizabeth & Lucas’ Austin wedding, designed by Fine Day Press.

Bonus Step Seven: Send Out Your Save-the-Dates

So – you’ve figured out your number of guests. You’ve divided up your invites, chosen your closest people, and compared your lists to create one whole wedding guest list. You’ve done it! Now all that is left is to send out your save-the-date cards and start logging those RSVPs. Take a look at our collection of unique save-the-dates, and if you’re wondering what to include on the save-the-date cards to send out to your wedding guest list, take a look at our guide!

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Being a wedding calligrapher (well, that and being my own proxy wedding planner when we got married) taught me a thing or two about organizing a wedding guest list spreadsheet.

I’m also crazy-obsessive about a high-end client experience: Even when I still offered calligraphy services—before I moved to full-time copywriting services & was still going half-and-half, I said then what I still say now:

If we’re going to charge BMW-style prices for our clients (aka: high-end, white glove-level service), then we need to give a BMW experience.

In this post, I’ll give a little bit of a behind-the-scenes into one part of our client process: onboarding bridal and wedding clients WELL to set me up for success as the service provider.

How to create a wedding guest list

Here’s your guide to creating your own wedding Excel template — orrrrr a guide to just using my free wedding guest list template as your own. 🙂

You may also be interested in: My Sales Call Workflow

Wedding Calligrapher Client Onboarding Workflow

Ok, after a client is officially signed and booked, the fulfillment portion of the workflow kicks in. You can see my steps below, but for dozens and dozens of brides, here’s how it went:

How to create a wedding guest list

To outline a few things there, these extra details below may help!

Sidenote—I’m IN LOVE with sales calls … it took me a long time to nail, though. Click here to read up on my sales call workflow!

Wedding Calligrapher Contract/Proposal Process

There are a few things involved in booking a client for a high-end service, but one is sending a killer proposal.

It’s a LOT more than just typing up what you can do for someone and pressing that send button (kinda nerve-wracking)—there are some ninja secrets that I’ve learned to weave into the process, and I’m breaking it down in this video.

How to Send a Client Welcome Packet as a Wedding Calligrapher

This email fires after that first payment came through & the agreement is signed. It’s hefty, but includes the need-to-know about working with me, presented in a magazine-style format. (We STILL do this years later for my copywriting business, and I’m OBSESSED. It’s a part of client onboarding you can pry from my cold, dead fingers—it’s integral.

I like to deliver this with HoneyBook’s Flows feature, and outline numerically what I need to get started. Part of this is including both the wedding addressing spreadsheet (more on that in a sec, you’re welcome to steal mine for your clients!) as well as an etiquette guide. I found I was answering a ton of questions via email (ex. they’re both doctors, how do I list them? How do I list names if they live together but aren’t married? etc.) … while I was MORE than happy to straighten this up & fix names during the fulfillment process, it added time to the client workflow.

So, every Welcome Packet I sent to brides included 2 “freebies” or tools:

  1. The wedding addressing spreadsheet (details below)
  2. an etiqutte guide PDF download.

“F or my sake and sanity a good, organized wedding spreadsheet is a MUST,” one of my clients said after I sent this over to her.

Okay—I’d recommend either GIVING her a spreadsheet, click here for mine, OR, include communications that show her how to do it herself. This is a MAJOR helpful asset when you’re addressing things down the road, so give it to your clients early on!

  1. First, head to and click “Start a New Spreadsheet.”
  2. You’ll want to add some more tabs, so hit the plus sign in the bottom left.
  3. Add tabs for Bride’s Fam, Groom’s Fam, Rehearsal Dinner, Bridesmaids Luncheon, Bachelorette Weekend, and add any shower or party you’ll be having.
  4. Now, go back to your first tab, likely the Bride’s Family.
  5. Lable A1 the name of your spreadsheet, like “Her Family.”
  6. Drop down to the second row, and list out your columns from L to R. I’m from an etiquette stickler part of the world, and if you are two, here’s the order I went in: Last Title First Middle Suffix Inner Envelope Names w/ Children Mailing Address City State Zip # in party Gift Received Acknowledged
  7. Copy and paste that row—after you “dye” it whatever color, of course—into each tab you have built out.

Voila! Now, give your fiance to complete their side, until both families have their tabs mostly done (hint: you’ll be adding names you forgot from time to time!). It could take a while, but once it’s built out, you can tell your client how valuable this will be for showers, Christmas card lists, baby shower lists … the list never ends.

  • Adding gifts and checking the “Acknowledged” column once you put a thank you in the mail
  • Divvying up into different party address lists, because your hostesses will ask for them
  • Pulling a quick headcount of guests
  • Peeking back at gifts someone gave you when it’s time to send them a gift 6 months later (hashtag true life)

Prefer to grab my Google Sheets version of the download to add to your Drive and send along to your clients? Click here.

Remember—this kind of thing is GOLD to give your clients during the onboarding process … it makes things so much easier for you later down the road, too!

Client Gifting

Snail mail and client gifting goes SO far—check out John Ruhlin’s book Giftology if you haven’t before!

I’d traditionally gift clients at the end of the experience with a framed monogram or piece of their stationery suite (you’ll see that below!), but early on, popped an early gift in the mail. I still do this with the copywriting side of our business—3-5% of the client package goes to the gifting/thank you part of the process … I’ve operated by that standard for 5 years, and it’s worked out ok. 🙂

Use These Tips to Narrow Down the Wedding Guest List

How to create a wedding guest listphoto by Jonnie + Garrett Wedding Photographers

Choosing your wedding size and creating a wedding guest list with or without a wedding guest template can be one of the most stressful parts of planning. There are many factors to consider like your and your fiancé’s vision, your families’ expectations, and your friends’ feelings. It seems impossible to please everyone—because it is! After creating an all-inclusive list it’s time to do the dirty work: narrow down the wedding guest list.

Unless you have an unlimited budget and unlimited resources you will never please everyone. When all is said and done, your guests will affect how you and your fiancé feel on your wedding day and be part of your precious memories forever. Since it’s much easier to stay firm in your decisions when you have a plan in place, here are some tips to help you narrow down that your wedding guest list.

How to create a wedding guest listphoto by Shadi Garman Photography

Pick a Venue That Aligns with Your Vision and Your Budget

Vision and budget are arguably the two most important pieces of the wedding planning puzzle. Once those connect, everything else can begin to fall into place around them—including your guest list. If visions of a cozy ceremony in a greenhouse and a dinner-party style reception at a local restaurant fill your wedding mood board there will be a natural cap for your guest list.

Even if your dream venue can accommodate hundreds of people, a more intimate gathering might be all you’re looking for. In this case, book the venue and set a cap yourselves. This is your special day and you want to get married somewhere that is meaningful that captivates you. Don’t let an inflated guest list, of all things, dictate where!

Divide and Narrow Down the Wedding Guest List by Tiered Categories

Trying to cut people from one long list can be both intimidating and down-right uncomfortable. One way to make the process easier is to divide everyone into categories: immediate family, close relatives, extended relatives, close friends, family friends, coworkers, acquaintances, children, and so on. Then rank those categories in order of importance and start cutting from the bottom.

There may be potential guests that fit into two different categories, such as a close coworker that consider a friend. We recommend putting people in the highest category you feel comfortable with. Using this divide-and-cut method allows you to cut more people at once while also decreasing the risk of hurting anyone’s feelings once they realize they were not singled out.

Consider the Present and the Future

Keep from looking back at wedding photos and wondering, “who is that?” by only inviting people known to both you and your fiancé. A wedding day is not the time for introductions—couples divide their time and need to find ways to stay present as it is. While taking personal relationships into account, also identify people you haven’t talked to in the last year or people you don’t see yourself keeping in touch with 5 years from now. This will help focus the guest list on the people who mean the most now and who likely will in the future.

How to create a wedding guest listphoto by Leeann Funk Photography

Allocate a Percentage of Invites for Your Parents’ Friends

It seems to go against the last tip, we know. One of the hardest issues to navigate when creating the guest list is dealing with parents’ expectations. Keeping both families happy and sticking to a vision is easier said than done. There are a few ways to handle this split, and the conversation. If you are paying for the wedding yourselves, up to 20% of the invites can be allocated to your parents.

Parents Who Pay Should Get a Percentage of Invites

If parents are helping pay for the wedding, a fair split could be 50% for you and your fiancé and 50% for your parents combined—whether that means 25% and 25% for either set of parents, or a smaller percentage for multiple sets of parents. If one parent is paying for the majority of—or the entire—wedding, they might get a larger percentage. However you decide to split it, make sure not to give up more than 50% of the guest list. Your guests are the top priority.

Limit or Eliminate the “Plus One” Option

This is one of the easiest ways to cut a guest list almost in half. Either make plus ones exclusive for the wedding party and immediate family or make a general “no plus ones” rule for everyone. It should be enough to address your invitations to just the people who are invited. For example, “Mrs. Jane Smith and Guest” vs “Mrs. Jane Smith.”

Guests may assume a plus one is included. If you receive an RSVP with a plus one that wasn’t offered simply call your guest—yes, call don’t text or email—and be honest about your decision. When it comes time to create your reception seating chart, consider putting single friends together so don’t feel left out of the couple crowd.

How to create a wedding guest listphoto by Victoria Gold Photography

Make it Adults-Only

Adults-only weddings will never go out of style, especially if budget or venue constraints mean choosing between inviting friends or inviting children. While it would be great to invite everyone’s families, often it’s not realistic. If you decide to have an adults-only wedding, make it clear on the invitation and on your wedding website so there’s no confusion. If there are too many children in your circle for an adult-only wedding, consider hiring a babysitting service to take care of the children at the venue so they are nearby but don’t require an extra seat.

Stagger the Invites

If all else fails and the guest list isn’t quite down to the number you set, be sure to send invitations in waves. Break up the final list into two groups: people who must attend and people who would be missed. Send invitations to the first group 5-6 months before the wedding. As you begin to get RSVPs, send out invitations to the next group of guests in an agreed-upon order. Make sure you give the second wave of guests enough time to RSVP and make travel plans. Make sure all the invitations sent no later than 8 weeks out.

Turning folks away from your joyous day will never be fun, there’s no getting around it. We hope these tips helped cut through some of the noise and made those tough decisions a little easier. Once you’re able to narrow down the wedding guest list the next step is invitations. Luckily, our vendor list includes the world’s best custom wedding invitations. Check them out, you’ll be glad you did.

UPDATED March 30, 2022
by Corrie Lupe

How to create a wedding guest list

Wedding is an intimate occasion most of us dream of. That’s why we take all the necessary preparations to make it successful. One of the essential qualifications when it comes to a wedding is making your guest list. Knowing how to make a wedding guest list is a necessary task for you to make so that you won’t forget anyone.

Wedding guest list also makes your life easier when that big day arrives, it monitors everyone, and you can easily keep tabs on them if whether they have come onto the location or reception. In this article, you are going to learn more about how to make your wedding guest list, read further.

How to Make a Wedding Guest List

A wedding is a perfect time to bring your family, relatives, and friends together. However, it might be all too difficult to decide who can go or not. That is why I’ve listed some of the things you need to consider and some additional tips on how to make a wedding guest list to make your wedding ceremony a successful one.

Decide on How to Divide Up the List Before Accepting Financial Assistance

Knowing how to make a wedding guest list is messy, mainly if both of your parents contribute to and plan the entire event. That’s why it is crucial to set the tone on the expectations before accepting any financial help. Even if both of you are paying for the wedding, it would be helpful to get everyone’s opinion involved and share the idea.

It’s also a good idea to get both of your parents to meet up to avoid surprises during the wedding. This is to prevent depositing money that is not yours in different parts of the occasion. This leaves the groom and bride in a bind, whereas planning everything else before spending someone else’s money is a good thing because you can either negotiate or decline.

Use a Structure That’s Collective

There are tons of ways on how to make a wedding guest list. Another good thing about having a collectively structured guest list is helping you monitor their seating arrangement, RSVPs, and many more. Luckily, many apps make the world more accessible, and these apps can be exported and infused to other applications with all the guest lists.

Strategize Your Guest List

When you plan to make your guest list, write down all the possible guests that would come to your wedding day. From your old high school buddies, college friends, old neighbors, relatives, even grade school friends, for this part, I highly advise taking the venue and budget out of the equation. In this way, you’ll get a possible idea of how many people might attend your big day.

Be Realistic to the Number of Guests

Let’s be real here; no one is going to invite thousands of guests, right? Crunching the numbers isn’t the most desirable thing when it comes to wedding planning, but there is a particular figure that can’t be avoided. When it comes to this decision, the size of the venue and your financial flexibility are the two most important factors when it comes to sizing down the numbers.

Keep in mind, as the number of guests rises, the likelier it will be to pay for more. It’s better to keep the guest list’s name at a conservative level; thus, you’ll have more room to allocate the budget. If everything is set and there’s still room for many, you can add them later on.

Cut Down the Numbers

It’s about time to get realistic with the numbers and cut down that dream number until it can be the right number. Trimming down the guest lists, is, for me, the most natural part. You can just put rules on who gets to be invited or not. For the most part, the usual guests should be comprised of your immediate family and relatives, colleagues, best friends, and everything close to you.

The next part is the guests that are invited by both parents. It would be wise if you leave plenty of numbers in this department. When parents get to celebrate their son or daughter’s wedding, they can’t help but invite friends and colleagues to witness this grand event.

Make Two Sets of Lists: The A-List and The B-List

Let’s keep this secret between us, okay? Having two lists is a great idea to know how you will be able to invite more people without raising your budget or finding a bigger venue. Here’s how it works, the A-list should be comprised of some of the most important guests you could have; they are the ones you couldn’t imagine not attending your wedding.

The B-list should also contain the people you still want to be there, but don’t just jot down anyone yet. When the big day arrives, and some of your expecting invitees cannot come, get your b-list and invite them! Just make sure that it won’t be obvious; they are left feeling like the last option.

Always Include the Guest Names on the Card

Your wedding might not be the first wedding most of your guests have crammed into. This happens on most occasions wherein guests pile up in one line searching for their names. So, to avoid confusion and hassle when that big day arrives, always include their name on the Card.

Don’t Let Both of your Parents Wear You Down

Always set boundaries and stick to them. When it comes to this, know that it is both of your weddings, not theirs. So, when they’re planning on adding a few more guests and your budget is constrained, they may have to chip in within the budget to give you more room for some important guests. Lastly, avoid add-ons.


Learning how to make a wedding guest list is pretty daunting and tiring, to say the least. However, this is just the first part of planning for your big day. Keep in mind that there will be problems and hurdles before that big day arrives, always remember the reason why you are doing it and the reason you are doing it for.

Lastly, a wedding is a big event each of us is going to take in our lives. Knowing how to make your wedding guest list is one of the critical components of a memorable wedding. It only comes once in our lives, make it big. Find out more about wedding essentials.

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 dates, wedding 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.

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Wedding Guest List

Get your wedding guest list done

Easily create your Guest List and keep your guest up to date and manage all details.

Add your guests

Easily import from your contacts or add one by one.

Sort with the one click

Manage multiple events and organize yours guest by any category.

Collect RSVPs

Easily collect your wedding guest replies online through your Wedding Website.

Guest details

Manage all details for all of your events, from RSVPs to meal selections.

Guest groups

Group your guests and organize tables.


How to create a wedding guest list

RSVP updates

Stay in the know about who has confirmed and who still needs to respond.


How to create a wedding guest list

Menu choices

Assign menu choices easily, whether your have dietary restrictions like celiac, vegan, children’s food, etc.

How to create a wedding guest list

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We’ve got all you need to get it done, and enjoy the journey.


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Vendor Manager

Quickly find, manage, and message your favorite vendors.

Wedding Website

Easily create a custom wedding website to share with your guests.


Let us run the numbers and keep your spending on track.

Seating Chart

Drag and drop from your list to assign each guest a seat.

Organize your tables

Get started

Creating your Wedding Guest List can be a daunting task, but our easy-to-use tool keeps everything in one spot. Start by adding all the wedding guests you’d like to attend, then build out the list from there with RSVP info, meal choices and more.

Stay organized

So, who made the cut? Once you add family and friends to the Wedding Guest List, you’re ready to add more info, like addresses, RSVPs and gifts. Because each guest comes with a lot of info, it’s important to keep everything organized. WeddingWire’s Wedding Guest List tool helps you do that, and it’s a total sanity-saver. You can even sort your Wedding Guest List by category with one click.

Hit “send”

When your wedding invites are ready to go, we make it easy to send addresses from your Wedding Guest List. Simply export them and email everything to your invitation provider, and check that task off your to-do list.

How to create a wedding guest list

Plan on the go with the WeddingWire App

From venue tours to cake testing, take the WeddingWire app with you wherever you go.

I have used WeddingWire for just about everything for our wedding. I made our website have start working on the seating plan, used the to do list, found vendors, and a lot more!

Frequently Asked Questions

Wedding guest list questions? Here you go!

Is your Wedding Guest List free?

Yes, the WeddingWire Wedding Guest List tool is free!

How do you pick a wedding guest list?

You and your partner should each spend time creating a list of who you’d like to be there. For some couples, it’s also important to consult family members for any additional VIP invites. Remember your Wedding Guest List has a big impact on your budget, so you may need to trim down the list.

How do I limit my wedding guest list?

Whether it’s based on venue capacity, budget or other restrictions, many couples are faced with trimming their Guest List down. A good rule of thumb for some is only including those they’ve seen or talked to within the past year.

How do I make a wedding guest list?

It’s easy to create a Wedding Guest List with our free planning tool that allows you to easily upload your list or add invitees individually. Have different invitees for each of your wedding events like your rehearsal dinner, brunch, bridal shower, etc.? No problem—you can manage each (including RSVPs) separately.

Oct 23, 2019 2:27 PM

Who To Invite To Your Wedding

Who To Invite To Your Wedding

Navigating the world of modern wedding etiquette can be challenging—especially when deciding who to invite for your big day. Whether you’re planning an intimate ceremony with a select few or a swanky bash with an expansive guest list, every couple has a different perspective on who should receive a wedding invitation. If you haven’t started wedding planning yet, nailing down who to invite is a great first step. We’ve broken down the best way to create your wedding guest list, from how to invite your close friends and family to tackling the (sometimes awkward!) decisions about co-workers, plus-ones, and more.

Set Rules for Your List

How Many People?
Your venue and budget ultimately determine the number of guests; plan for a guest list that won’t overstuff your ceremony and reception spaces or result in ballooning costs. Keep in mind that food and drink is generally a per-guest charge on top of any other venue fees; just because guests can fit into your venue space doesn’t automatically mean they’ll fit into your budget.

Who Gets a Say?
This can get tricky, especially if your families are contributing financially. Traditionally, both sets of future in-laws help determine headcount before the couple decides on their invitees. Keep an open discussion on how many guests you can afford and want to be there while setting boundaries if it gets to be too much. (i.e. “We’d love to invite everyone, but we want it to be special for both of us.”)

  • Traditional split = bride’s parents 1/3, groom’s parents 1/3, couple 1/3
  • Compromise split = parents’ list 1/2, couple’s list 1/2
  • Modern split = 100% the couple’s choice!

Who Should I Invite?
Start big with a list of EVERYONE you know, then begin to cut it down. Here’s a handy cheat sheet to help you decide who to keep or cut:

  • KEEP if: they are close friends or acquaintances
  • CUT if: you’re only inviting them because you went to their wedding
  • KEEP if: they currently play an important part in your life
  • CUT if: they’re friends of your parents/in-laws that you’ve never met
  • KEEP if: you’ve known them more than 5 years
  • CUT if: you’ve grown apart in recent years (your wedding is not the time to mend any decaying friendships!)

More Guests to Consider

Co-workers & Bosses
If you’re not friends outside of work, you’re under no obligation to invite your co-workers. If you’re only inviting a few people from the office, make sure they know that not everyone is invited and to not bring it up at work. Alternatively, you can plan a post-work happy hour to celebrate the occasion while keeping your wedding day headcount low!

The most-often asked question: whose significant others get an invite? Plus-ones can be tricky if the person you’re inviting is not in a serious relationship. This is what we recommend:

  • DEFINITELY: if they are married or engaged
  • RECOMMENDED: if they live together, you know them both, or they’ve been dating for over a year
  • UP TO YOU: if they will not know anyone else or if their friends will have dates (Tip: Write “and guest” on the invitation so it’s clear they can put down a person of their choosing!)

• This is up to your discretion; if you choose to invite children, you’ll have to constitute an “all or none” rule so as not to offend. • Any guest that is 18 and over should receive their own invitation; if below 18, they should be included as a member of “The Jones Family” to clarify they are welcome. • If children are not included, only write the parents’ names on the invite to make it clear
(i.e. “Mr. & Mrs. Jones,” not “The Jones Family”).

Extended Family
• Everyone’s family is unique, so there’s no universal rule to follow here. Are you close to all your family members? Invite them all! Do you have a special bond with one side of the family, but not the other? You’re fine to go ahead and invite the side you are closest to. • If you are inviting from one side of the family, the traditional rule is “invite one, invite them all.” (So if you invite one of your dad’s sisters, be prepared to invite all of them out of courtesy!)

The “B-List”
• Some couples create a list of backup guests, in the event they receive more “no” RSVP’s than anticipated. • This can be a difficult social situation to navigate, as no one wants to know they were a second choice. • It’s best to use this for people you cut from your original list in case less people are able to attend than you thought. Co-workers, old friends, acquaintances, parents of the wedding party, and any of your parents’ friends that were not invited in the first round could be considered B-list guests.

How to Create a Guest List

The easiest way to keep track of everyone you’re inviting is a wedding guest list document (we love a well-organized spreadsheet!) that you can share with those involved in the planning process. This keeps everything in one place; you can even note which events each person will be invited to beyond the wedding itself. A guest list spreadsheet also makes it easy to include gift notes so sending thank-yous will be a breeze post-wedding. This is what you should include:

◊ Name of Primary Guest
◆ Name of spouse/plus-one
◆ Any children ◊ The official wording for the invitation
◊ Address
◊ Phone number
◊ Email
◊ Invites + responses to (where applicable):
◆ the ceremony
◆ the reception
◆ the rehearsal dinner
◆ the bridal shower ◊ Gift notes

Remember: at the end of the day, it’s your wedding. No matter who’s on the list, the day is about you and your partner celebrating your love and future together!

Table of Contents

How do I make a wedding guest list in Excel?

56 second clip suggested14:55How to organize your Guest List on Excel! | Wedding Planning – YouTubeYouTubeStart of suggested clipEnd of suggested clipSo go ahead and select an Excel workbook. And choose and it’s just gonna give you a blank ExcelMoreSo go ahead and select an Excel workbook. And choose and it’s just gonna give you a blank Excel spreadsheet just like this. Now first thing we are gonna do is go ahead and label our columns.

How do I add guests to my wedding website on the knot?

You can add more guests if you realize they were not included on your The Knot guest list file. Simply click the “Add Guest List” button on the left side bar menu and enter your guest’s first name, last name, phone number, and WedTexts group. Then Click “Add Guest”.

How do you create a drop down list in Google Sheets?

Create a drop-down list

  1. Open a spreadsheet in Google Sheets.
  2. Select the cell or cells where you want to create a drop-down list.
  3. Click Data.
  4. Next to “Criteria,” choose an option:
  5. The cells will have a Down arrow.
  6. If you enter data in a cell that doesn’t match an item on the list, you’ll see a warning.
  7. Click Save.

How do I create an invitation list in Excel?

How to Make a Guest List on an Excel Template

  1. Open Excel.
  2. Type “Guest List” into the “Search Online” box in the “Templates” section if you are using Excel 2003.
  3. Click on a template in the “Search Results” box to preview it.
  4. Make changes to the way your guest list looks.

What percent of wedding guests will attend?

“A general overall percentage between 75-85 percent of wedding guests usually attend.” The breakdown: 85 percent of local guests, 55 percent of out-of-town guests, and 35 percent of destination wedding guests will show up, Buckley said.

Who makes the wedding guest list?

Traditionally, no matter who’s paying for your event, you should split your wedding guest list into three parts: one-third are guests of the bride’s parents, one-third are guests of the groom’s, and the rest are guests of the couple.

How to create the perfect wedding guest list?

Local guests – 85%-90% attendance

  • Non local guests – 65%-75% attendance
  • Family: 85% attendance
  • Friends: 50% attendance
  • How to prepare a wedding guest list?

    A List – The easy list and the most important.

  • B List – This is the extended family (your parents list) and overflow of really great friends you’d love to have but are not immediate family or in the wedding
  • C List – This is the obligatory list meaning people that are invited out of obligation.
  • How to determine your wedding guest list?

    Divide and Conquer. Start by setting your total guest count,then divvy it up among you,your parents,and your future in-laws.

  • Account for Package Deals.
  • Add Plus-Ones Consistently.
  • Create a Kid Policy.
  • Remember Reciprocity.
  • Forget the B-List.
  • Set a Deadline.
  • How to keep your wedding guest list small?

    Know your venue will come with its own limits. Mason is steering clients towards private villas,quaint B&Bs,and boutique hotels.

  • Be strategic with your date. Weekday weddings are increasing in popularity and can be a good excuse to keep the celebration on the smaller side.
  • Offer a thoughtful explanation.
  • Don’t forget about Zoom.
  • Here’s a guilt- and stress-free guide to choosing your attendees.

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    Ask any couple and you’ll quickly learn that no one really enjoys creating their wedding guest list. The process can be extremely challenging, especially when conflicting opinions enter the mix. This often happens, especially during the first round of edits. You’ll be surprised by how many people make your first draft—from family, co-workers, and friends to your parents’ social circles—but making cuts is something that has to be done. To mitigate any conflicts, it helps to have etiquette guidelines you can refer to as you narrow down your roster. If you and your fiancé are struggling with these difficult decisions, know that we’re here to help (and prevent you from second-guessing your final choices). The tips ahead—which answer all of your most pressing guest list questions—will assist in streamlining your process, which will save you valuable time during this hectic wedding-planning phase.

    As for one of the most pressing guest list conflicts? Many couples grapple with whether or not their childhood friends should receive an invite. It’s important to note that you’re not obligated to include them. A key question to ask yourself when deciding who should make your wedding guest list: Can you imagine having dinner with them sometime in the next year? If yes, add them to your A-list. If you were once tight but haven’t been in regular contact for ages, keep their name on the B-list. This way if someone sends their regrets, you’ll be able to fill the seat with this person you have a history with.

    If you’ve already found our advice helpful, the tips head will surely improve your wedding guest list experience. Get the answers to all of your questions and master the method by following these simple tips.

    Wedding planning is all fun and games until you sit down to tackle your wedding guest list. You’ll never work, re-work, and re-re-work anything more times in your entire life than your wedding guest list. Chances are, you and your partner will get pressure to invite someone who you isn’t on your list of favorite people, but there are a few tricks to the trade that will help make it a win-win situation for everyone, especially for you and your soon-to-be spouse. Here are some wedding guest list tips to help you navigate planning so that you can have your wedding cake and eat it too.


    1. Think big or small. For starters, you can’t do much wedding planning without a headcount, so decide whether your wedding is a 25, 50, or 200 person event. Once you have a ballpark figure, stick with it or else your guest list will surely get out of hand.
    1. Look at your holiday card mailing list. A great place to start is your holiday card list, because, typically, those are the people you care enough about to include in your festive updates at year-end. (Note: If you aren’t actually organized to send holiday cards every year, imagine who you would send on to if you were that person.)
    1. Categorize guests by importance. Instead of lumping everyone into one giant pool, break up your guest list into three tiers: varsity, junior varsity, and benchwarmers. This way, if you need to make cuts to your list, you know where to start. (And by the way, Joy’s guest list manager makes this easy by allowing you to add custom labels!)
    1. Ask your parents to repeat steps 1 – 3. If any of your parental units are involved in the wedding at all, it’s pretty likely that they will want to have some input on the guest list. And since that usually translates into them inviting guests who don’t make your “must-have” list, it’s a smart idea to ask them to start with a nicely prioritized list that fits the size and priorities of the wedding you are planning.


    1. Venue size and location. If you have a venue secured, verify what the maximum capacity is and use that as a guideline before you finalize your list. It’s never fun to decide somebody isn’t coming to your party, but the venue’s capacity can be the ultimate excuse excuse as to why you can’t invite unwanted guests who swear they’re shoo-ins at your wedding.
    1. Your budget. On average, couples spend about $68 per wedding guest for catering, so take into consideration your per head figure when planning out your guest list. You’ll be amazed at how quickly the little things add up and wind up cutting into your honeymoon budget.
    1. Decide if you’re going to have kids. No, we aren’t referring to your reproductive future, but deciding if children are invited to the wedding is often tough, because no matter what the final decision is, someone is going to be unhappy about it. Kids take up seats, add to the total cost and change the mood of a wedding, so you need to come to a decision. (But they also look adorable in tiny tuxedos.) Try to stick with an all-inclusive policy — allowing only certain guests to bring their kids, then you’re in for some drama for ya’ mama. Don’t be surprised if guests completely ignore the “no kids policy” and bring their kids in tow — it’s annoying but surprisingly common.
    1. Consider reception-only invitations. If you have your heart set on a super-intimate ceremony, or if your ceremony’s venue can’t accommodate your entire guest list, then consider inviting only your nearest and dearest to the ceremony, and then including everyone in the reception. This option is likely to come with some social stumbling blocks, but once the lights go out and the booze runneth over, you (and most likely your guests) won’t care who is and isn’t at your reception.
    1. Define your plus one policy. In a perfect world, you could issue plus ones to anybody and everybody, but when your guest count is limited, you probably don’t want to waste a seat on somebody’s flavor of the month (you know who they are). Decide on a general rule of thumb to go by and check out this post to feel more confident about your final decision.


    Now that you’ve compiled the first round of your guest list, it’s time to make some cuts. You can’t make everyone happy, but it’s important to understand that your wedding is about you and your partner and the people you choose to share it with. Still struggling? Here are some key questions to help you trim your guest list to a more manageable number:

    1. Would you be offended if you weren’t invited to this person’s wedding?
    1. Have you talked to this person in the past year?
    1. Would not inviting this person do more harm than good?
    1. Are you inviting this person just to make someone else happy? (And is that someone else worth it?)
    1. What will the long-term repercussions be if you don’t invite this person?

    At the end of the day, your wedding will be about you and your boo, regardless of who is or isn’t in attendance. Yeah, you’ll probably have to invite a few people you don’t don’t love, and you might have to exclude a few people you’d rather have attend, but if you think through the invitations carefully, you’ll be able to say “I do” surrounded by people who love you and are likely going to part of your new life together forever.


    Do you have any wedding guest list planning tips and tricks that you’d like to add to the list? Share your advice on Facebook or Twitter, and tell us how you tackled your guest list.

    In today’s article, we’re going to dive into how to create the guest list for your wedding! Remember, by this point, you should have a solid headcount – this will ensure that your guest list doesn’t spiral out of control.

    How to create a wedding guest list

    When it comes to creating your wedding guest list – there aren’t any one-size-fits-all rules that will work for all couples.

    Sure, there are common etiquette practices, but those are null in certain situations. So I’ll be honest: I don’t have all the answers.

    For many of these guest list decisions, the answer is basically: “it depends.” It depends on you, your partner, the vibe your going for, your guests, your budget, etc. So my advice is simple: create your own rules about who to invite to your wedding.

    That said, the tips below are simply meant to give you some perspective, general guidelines, and to help you brainstorm some ideas for your very own guest list “rules” – let’s get started!

    Don’t lose sight of your headcount! Remember, to keep your guest list under control, you have to stay within your headcount – doing so will also keep you within budget and within the venue’s capacity restrictions (if there are any).

    So, again, if you haven’t settled on a headcount (or range), I recommend you do that first. Make sure you know how many people you can realistically host before you start listing names of potential guests.

    By this point, you should have split the guest list with your partner so that you’re both on the same page about how many guests each of you are allowed to invite.

    I love Google Drive for so many reasons – and I highly recommend that you create a Google Spreadsheet and share it with your partner to create your guest list. This is a great tool because: it’s shareable, it’s online (so you don’t have to worry about losing a piece of paper), you and your partner can edit it simultaneously and view each other’s updates in real time, and it can be accessed from any device.

    Tip: Start your guest list spreadsheet by numbering the rows to match your headcount – that way you’ll have a visual reminder about how many “spots” you can fill and keep yourself from going overboard.

    This is the fun part – you get to start coming up with your actual guest list! Below I’ve listed some general guidelines to help you create your guest list – but feel free to do whatever you want 😉


    In general, start your guest list with your immediate family members and grow your list from there to close family members. (Again, this is not a one-size-fits-all rule – so don’t feel like you HAVE to invite your family just because they’re related to you. If you have a strong preference for not inviting them to your wedding – do you!)

    Bridal Party Plus Ones

    Since your bridal party is doing you a huge favor by helping out with the wedding – it’s a nice gesture to allow them to bring a guest.


    Your closest friends are likely already in your bridal party – but if anyone wasn’t able to commit, start your list with your closest friends and move through your social circle from there.

    Plus Ones

    Come up with a plus-one rule to help you decide who gets a plus one and who doesn’t. In general, guests who are married, engaged, or cohabitating should get a plus one.

    Parents’ Guests

    I wrote a whole article about this! Go read it 🙂 Basically: be sure to work this out with your parents well before you start working on a guest list – what way you can avoid some and hurt feelings when the invitations are out.


    Figure out if you’re open to inviting kids to the wedding. I strongly believe that having an adult-only wedding is easier to plan because it eliminates the need to accommodate kids – which means you won’t need to coordinate things like kids meals, a separate space for them, entertainment, etc.


    This is a tricky one! In my experience, I found it best to either (1) invite them all, (2) don’t invite any of them, (3) invite your closest coworkers if there’s a way for them to not discuss your wedding at work so that folks who weren’t invited won’t feel left out. That’s a tall order, I know. My two cents.

    Not everyone will be able to attend the wedding for one reason or another – so expect to get some declined invitations. That’s why I think it’s a good idea to have a backup list, i.e. a B-list.

    First, complete your A-list by prioritizing folks to fit into your headcount number. Anyone who didn’t make the cut for the A-list can be put on the B-list. When you start receiving RSVP declines, you can start inviting folks from your B-list.

    Yes, I know there are mixed feelings about B-lists – some wedding experts say that having a B-list is rude and that your B-list guests will know that they didn’t make the first cut and may have their feelings hurt. But in my experience as a professional event planner, having a B-list just makes logistical sense. So don’t be afraid to use this strategy!

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    Too busy to plan your wedding?

    You’re in the right please because I teach busy people how to plan their wedding with in-depth guides about how to save time, money, and stress. You’ll find only actionable advice that you can use immediately to get stuff done faster!

    Planning your wedding? Congratulations! While this journey is incredibly exciting, it can also be stressful at times. Creating the ideal wedding guest list is one of those tricky tasks you may have been putting off, but we are here to help. Once your list is finalized, we can also assist in finding a venue that fits you and yours perfectly.В В

    Tips for Getting Started on Your Wedding Guest List (including a free RedWater template!)

    Brain DumpВ

    Creating the perfect wedding day list may seem overwhelming. A great place to start is with a brain dump. You can make it a fun task by sitting down with your soon-to-be spouse and a glass of wine; write (or type) out everyone you would consider or are definitely inviting to your wedding.В

    You can use this free wedding guest list spreadsheet we created if you’re a fan of Sheets or Excel organization like we are. Simply make a copy of our sheet and start entering names. Both partners should enter their must-have guests, and possibly even have separate sheets to compare.В


    When considering who is a definite “YES!” versus who is a “Hmm… maybe?”, a good rule of thumb is to prioritize your wedding guest list. Start by categorizing the people that mean the most to you: close family, your wedding party, your must-attend friends. Next, write out the members of your extended family, casual friends or coworkers, or other possible attendees that might make the cut. Use a ranking scale or color coding to find your core guests, and go from there.В


    It is probable that not every person you wrote down in your initial wedding guest will make it to your day. When culling your list, we suggest you nix the long-lost childhood or college friends you rarely connect with, as well as distant family members whose names you’re often unsure of. If you don’t envision them being in your life in five years, they probably don’t need to be at your wedding.В

    Keep it to those that love you, those you love to be around, and most importantly, those who you and yours-to-be truly want included in this incredibly special and intimate day.В

    Wedding Guest List Etiquette

    Determine Your Plus-One Plan

    The topic of allowing attendees to bring a date to your day is common, and everyone handles it differently. Because food and beverage costs are calculated on a per-person basis, it is not surprising that a couple may want to forgo extending an invitation to extra guests.В

    It is often appropriate to give a plus-one to any invitee that is married or engaged. You probably wouldn’t want to attend another wedding without your beloved, so it is only fair to give that same courtesy to other wedded or to-be-wedded love birds.

    Your wedding party is a group that should probably receive a plus one. They have invested a lot of time and effort to make your wedding day as wonderful as can be because they care about you. Including their special someone (if they have one- not everyone in your party will necessarily want to bring a date) is a way to show you care about them, too. No one wants to be left out of those romantic slow dances!В

    All others, including those in more casual relationships or those that are single, probably don’t need to bring a date. If they know others in attendance, sit them together for the celebration. Of course, this is a case-by-case basis, so if you feel you need to give a specific non-married person a plus one, go for it. It’s your wedding, after all!В

    Will Kids Be Allowed?

    Everyone planning a wedding will encounter this debate: should kids be allowed at ours? Whether you plan an adults-only affair or family-friendly ceremony and/or reception is up to you, but keep in mind that this could impact your guest list. If parents are unwilling or unable to find a babysitter, they may not be in attendance.В

    You can also add a “Kids above the age of ___ are welcome ” clause to your wedding invites, but that might not be received well by your potential guests.В

    Keep in mind, if you’re skipping the popular flower-man trend in favor of more traditional flower girls and ring bearers, they will be included in the festivities unless you make post-ceremony arrangements.В

    Keep Budget in MindВ

    Keeping close track of your wedding budget is key to minimizing wedding planning stress and creating realistic expectations about the size of your guest list. Allott your budget based on what is most important to you, may that be a jaw-dropping, decked out reception venue, a five star, multi-course dinner, or custom-designed wedding dress of your dreams.В В

    Unless you’re going with an all-inclusive venue, there are a lot of guest-related venue costs to keep in mind, like seating and table placements, parking, and food and beverage costs. These can differ greatly between a buffet-style meal or a serviced, plated dinner, and an open or cash only bar.В

    How Your Wedding Guest List Impacts Your VenueВ

    The number of people you want at your wedding will determine what size wedding venue you require. Many venues are booked over a year in advance, so the sooner you figure out your guest list, the better chance of securing your ideal spot.В

    If you’re envisioning an intimate wedding with a smaller guest list, you could splurge on a more lavish setup that involves separate ceremony and reception sites. With a larger guest list, you may decide to keep the party going in the same spot you said, “I do,” to save money.В

    No matter the size of your guest list, we are here to help you through the process of finding the dreamiest setting for your wedding. Reach out today to learn more about our West Michigan wedding venues.

    How to create a wedding guest list

    ​When it comes to creating your wedding guest list, how do you know who should make the cut?

    Finalizing your wedding guest list can be incredibly stressful. ​​The last thing you want to do is hurt someone’s feelings by not including them in your special day. While that is something to consider, it is also essential to consider your wedding guest list’s impact on your budget. After all, the size of your guest list will determine the type and size of venue you book and the amount you spend on food and beverage expenses. ​

    Let’s be honest, when it comes to planning a wedding, family members can get pretty vocal about their opinions. ​So it’s great to let family members weigh in, especially if they are helping you pay for the wedding, as long as it isn’t creating stress.

    ​When Scott and I planned our wedding, we knew we wanted the day to be intimate. So we invited our close friends and immediate family. Parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, and uncles. Since I have a lot of cousins (who are all married with kids), we decided not to include cousins. This was a difficult decision, but we were paying for the wedding ourselves, and the additional headcount would have driven our catering costs through the roof.

    ​As with any stage of the wedding planning process, remember what the day is all about! It’s best to develop an objective way of creating your list. ​That’s why I’ve created a Wedding Guest List ​Decision Map. It’ll help you ​sift through the long list of friends and distant relatives. This way, you can explain to your future mother-in-law why her Great Aunt Agnes (who isn’t actually a relative) isn’t invited to ​watch you tie the knot.

    How to create a wedding guest list

    What questions should you ask when creating ​your wedding guest list?

    • Have you spoken with this person in the last year?
    • Is your connection personal or family?
    • Do you spend time with this person outside of work?
    • Do you normally send this person a birthday card?
    • Have they met your partner? If not, do they know your partner’s name?
    • Will they make your wedding day fun?
    • Would your parents enjoy having them at the wedding?

    These are just some of the many questions you and your partner should consider when creating your wedding guest list. If you can’t come to an agreement, table the topic and come back to it at a later date. Some additional space may provide extra clarity on the matter.

    To summarize, creating a wedding guest list can be a sensitive process for couples and their families. Many couples find themselves at odds with their parents over who to include. While considering parents’ opinions is a great thing to do, it becomes less of an obligation if they aren’t helping to foot the bill for the big day. Use your best judgment to invite the most important people to you and your partner. At the end of the day, that is all that matters.

    What are your most significant pain points when writing your guest list? Let me know in the comments!

    Planning Tips

    One of the first things you should do when you get engaged is create a guest list. Oh the wedding guest list, the root of all evil, JUST KIDDING! However, I understand that it can be a major stressor. Actually, this was probably the area that created the most stress when my husband and I were planning our wedding.

    Your wedding guest list directly impacts a lot of other details such as invitations, meal count, table and centerpieces, etc. It’s important to at least create a draft guest list early on in your engagement so you can have a better idea of what you need to budget for food, alcohol, and invitations. The more people you invite, the more money you are going to spend and possibly may need to upgrade your venue if it doesn’t hold all of your guests. So before I give you a heart attack from all the stress, here is 8 easy tips and things to consider when creating a guest list.

    How to create a wedding guest list

    1. Family

    Your family is most likely going to be the bulk of your guest list. Stat by listing your immediate family: parents, grandparents, siblings and their children (unless you are planning a no kids wedding) Consider inviting your aunts, uncles and cousins that you’re close to. Make sure to gather a list of your fiancés immediate family members as well.

    2. Friends

    Think of your childhood friends that you are still close to, friends from college and any other friends you speak to on a regular basis. If you are having a hard time deciding who to invite, the best advice I have been told is to make a list of who you think you will still be in touch with in 5 years. If you know you will still be in each others life 5 years from now, then definitely invite them!

    3. Co-workers

    If you have worked for the company for a while, you should consider inviting co-workers and even your boss. If it is a small company and your guest list allows, consider inviting the whole office. In the case you work for a large company, consider inviting the people in your department that you interact with every day. Another good rule is to think “do I hang out with this person outside or work?” Also, think about how often you talk to them outside of work hours and about non-related work topics. If you remain in touch after work hours whether by spending time together or texting, this is probably a friend you would want to consider inviting.

    4. Plus -Ones

    You should allow plus-ones for any guest who is married, even if you’re not close to their spouse. If your friend is engaged or in a long-term relationship, you should definitely allow a plus-one. For single guests, consider who else will be at the wedding. Think if this guest will know other people there and would have someone to mingle with. If your single friend won’t know anyone at the wedding, you should allow them to bring a plus-one so that they’re not alone during the festivities. With plus-ones, just think would I want to go without my boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife? Probably not, so allow your guests a plus-one.

    5. B List

    If you create a guest list and see that your count is more than expected, you can create a “B List.” Basically, all of your must have, non-negotiable guests will be on the A-List. This list would include your immediate family and your closest friends. As you start to have people on your list that you realize you may not be as close to anymore or your mom made you invite your 4th cousin that you haven’t seen since you were 8 years old, you can move them to the “B List.”

    All of the guests on your A-List will receive a “Save The Date” 6-8 months before your wedding date. When it comes time for invitations, you will send your A-List invitations 10 weeks before the wedding. As you start to receive “no” for RSVPs, you will now have more room on your guest list and can invite those on your B-List. Prepare for your B-List invited to be sent 6-8 weeks before the wedding.

    How to create a wedding guest list

    Calligraphy + Invitation Suite by Cottonwood Print | Photography by Laura Ridge Photography

    6. Underage guests

    If your guest list has less than 10 children, consider inviting them. However, if you notice children add to your guest count by 30 or more people, you may want to consider a kids-free wedding.

    If you decide to have a kids-free wedding, make sure to let your guests know early on. It is best to note this on the Save The Dates and your wedding website, so parents can make arrangements in advance for a babysitter. You can also make sure to mention this to them in person when you’re talking about the wedding. If necessary, let them know your guest count is strict due to budget or venue limitations so they can understand why you ask for no children.

    7. Create Boundaries

    A great thing to do while starting your guest list, is sit with your fiancé and create boundaries. Make sure you follow these rules when writing all your guests names down. Here are some ideas for boundaries that can help when creating your guest list and also to make sure that cutting guests is fair for all parties.

    1. If neither of you have ever met this person or heard them name before
    2. If you haven’t talked to this friend in more than 2 years
    3. If you don’t hang out with them outside of work or class
    4. If you invited anyone because you feel guilty (they invited you to their wedding, they keep asking you how wedding planning is going, etc.)

    8. Include Names

    When you are sending an invite, make sure to write out the names of everyone who is invited. This will help avoid awkward situations such as a friend assuming she can bring her roommate when in reality she wasn’t invited. This will also help the accuracy of your RSVP numbers. For example, if 5 people assume they’re allowed plus ones but you only accounted for 5 people, this will unexpectedly double your head count. Make it as simple as possible for everyone involved. 🙂

    Are there any other advice or tricks that helped you with your guest list? Tell me in the comments below!

    Let’s get this planning party started! Want Bianca Nichole Events to help plan your wedding day? Click here to send us an inquiry!

    Bianca Nichole Events is an Austin wedding planner, and will travel to San Antonio, Fredericksburg, New Braunfels, and the surrounding Texas Hill Country area.

    How to create a wedding guest list

    How to Create Your Wedding Guest List

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    Your wedding day is one of the most special moments in your life. It’s a time when you and your partner can celebrate a new chapter in your lives with all the important people who have supported you individually and as a couple. But where do you draw the line on who is invited? We’ve pulled together guidelines on how to create your wedding guest list and how to address each major group in your life:


    The easiest way to build your wedding guest list is by starting with those family members you have the strongest relationship with and then moving backward based on degrees of separation from you and your partner. Typically, this starts with your immediate family – siblings and their spouses, your parents, and your grandparents – then to your aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. However, all families are different, so if your relationships with your second cousins are stronger than you are with your first cousins, it may make more sense for you to follow your personal bonds than your family tree. The only rule of thumb we recommend keeping in mind is the “all or nothing” rule – if you invite one aunt then you most likely need to invite all your aunts.


    Your friends can come from various stages of your life – childhood, college, friends from different places you’ve lived, friends you’ve met as a couple and more – but we recommend considering all your friends as just that, friends. Don’t feel pressured to invite someone you haven’t spoken to in years because she was your best friend growing up and don’t immediately rule out a friend you just met because you moved to a new town. This is a group that is best assessed on the current relationships as well as overall history. Remember, your guest list is just a document with names until you start sending invitations, so don’t get too stressed by who you add later on or decide to remove.

    The age-old question of the wedding guest age requirement. Like everything else in your wedding, this is a decision you and your partner must decide based on what works best for you. If you have children of your own, it could be great for them to have friends their same age to hang out with on the wedding guest list. It’s also common to not include young kids or to have an adults-only wedding. Whatever you decide, make sure to decide this early on so you can include this major detail in your wedding information and communicate this to any guests who will need to find a sitter.

    How to create a wedding guest listCoworkers

    Most adults spend more time with their coworkers than they do their partner, family or friends, so it’s understandable to wonder who you should invite from work to attend your wedding. It’s common practice to invite a coworker that you associate with outside of the office to your wedding, but everyone else in this group should be considered with the “all or nothing” rule to avoid office politics. Unfortunately, excluding someone from your team or a department you associate closely with can cause career-related tensions for you, so consider the environment in which you work and decide which approach makes the most sense for you professionally and personally.

    Neighbors/Community Members

    Do you have workout friends that you catch up with every week? Or maybe a neighbor you’ve lived across from for years? The quickest way to decide if you should include someone on your guest list is whether or not you know their last name. It may seem silly, but just because you know exactly when your next-door neighbor’s dog needs to go outside doesn’t mean you’re actually close friends.

    Couples Whose Weddings You’ve Attended

    If a couple whose wedding you attended does not fall into one of the above categories, you can take comfort in knowing you are not obligated to invite them. While reciprocating an invitation to your wedding is a thoughtful gesture, keep in mind that this means added expenses for you and that couple. If this is an uncomfortable decision to tackle, consider keeping these couples on a separate list that you can reference later on if more spots on your guest list open up.

    Plus Ones

    Plus ones can be a tricky group to navigate when building your wedding guest list. Do you give all your close family and friends plus ones? Do you only invite plus ones that you’ve personally met and liked? Do you put a hard rule down of no plus ones? Ultimately, there is no clear right or wrong answer, but a helpful planning trick is to only allow plus ones to the wedding guests who you feel would appreciate the extra invitation and assess where additional plus ones can be added after you have an accurate understanding of your headcount.

    Friends of Your Parents/In-Laws

    If you’ve ever attended a pre-wedding related event before, you know that there are multiple groups, like your parents’ friends, who want to join in the celebration of your upcoming nuptials. This could range from family friends who you’ve known since birth to individuals you’ve barely met in passing, but allowing your parents and in-laws to contribute to the wedding guest list is a common courtesy most couples are expected to uphold – especially if you are receiving financial support from either group. Depending on your budget and vision for the wedding, make sure to set ground rules with your parents/in-laws before they create their list to help eliminate any unnecessary tension, and be sure to work together to finalize this portion of the guest list.

    Building out a realistic wedding guest list may take time, but establishing this early on helps properly prepare you to start your wedding planning like deciding your wedding venue. As the idyllic Savannah Wedding Venue, The Mackey House serves as the perfect space for intimate weddings, large receptions, and everything in between. We hope that this has helped show you how to create your wedding guest list with ease, and to prepare you for your big wedding day. To come to see our venue for yourself, schedule a walk-through with us by contacting us today.

    How to create a wedding guest list

    One of the very first steps in the wedding planning process is to create your guest list! Fun, right? Why does this need to be numero uno? Because soooo many factors such as the budget and which venues will work for your wedding depend on the number of guests.


    Start by writing down EVERYONE you want to invite. This includes those people that you might be obligated to invite, like family members you haven’t seen in years, or friends that you aren’t really in touch with anymore but you were a bridesmaid in their wedding ages ago. Keep these people in mind from the very beginning.

    From there, separate the guests into three categories- A, B, and C, or as I like to call them… YES, maybe, and meh depending on how close you are with that person and the importance of their attendance. This is going to help you keep things in perspective as you narrow down your list.

    Keep in mind that destination weddings have a lower acceptance rate than local weddings so don’t be surprised if a large percentage of your guests RSVP that they can’t make it.

    It truly varies by the group but typically 50-60% of guests will make the trip. There are many exceptions to that because sometimes a lower percentage will come often due to the cost and other times almost all invitees attend since Costa Rica is on most people’s bucket lists! You know your group best so put some feelers out there and go with your gut!

    Want more tips on how to plan your destination wedding? Check out the blog posts below!

    How to create a wedding guest list

    “I didn’t think this would be so hard,” is something newly engaged couples often say when compiling the guest list for their wedding. And without a good plan (and a good venue host like The Canton Barn), it will be!

    Using our step-by-step process, you can avoid all of the unnecessary problems during planning, and ultimately make your big day stress free!

    Pick your Venue Options and Venue Capacity

    Before you can start on your guest list, ideally you will have your wedding venue picked out. To pick a venue, you will have to consider where you want your wedding to be, and how many people you want to come.

    Looking through local venue listings online is a great way to find out what is nearby, and you can tailor results to best suit your needs. For example, if you want to see wedding venues that hold 300 guests, like ours, make sure to include that in your search.

    Don’t be afraid to look at venues outside of your location, either, because there are often great venues out in the country or near the city you wanted to be in.

    How to create a wedding guest list

    Make a List of Your Desired Wedding Guests

    Once you have taken the time to pick your dream wedding venue, it’s time to start building a list of who you (and your future spouse) would like to have at your wedding.

    Using a spreadsheet, wedding website, or paper planner, begin by listing out names that are obvious, such as your immediate family, wedding party, and close friends. You will want to indicate for every guest whether they need a “plus one,” as many engaged couples will accidentally overlook their friends and family’s significant others and friends.

    Next, add your extended family you are close with, such as grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles.

    You will want to check with your parents and grandparents at this time to make sure any important guests they would like to have present are included, as forgetting these can lead to difficult decisions down the road.

    Then, move on to any professional relationships you have you want to include, such as your coworkers and bosses of the past and present.

    Finally, fill out your list with extra friends and family, just as long as your venue (and budget) allow for it. Remember, there is nothing more delightful than having a large group of the people closest to you celebrating your big day!

    Narrow it Down if Necessary

    If you have too many names, organize your list based on priority and start crossing out the ones that are not absolutely necessary.

    A good way to tell if a name can be crossed off is by asking yourself a couple of questions, such as:

    • Have I interacted with this person recently?
    • Would this person invite me to their wedding?
    • Do I plan on keeping in touch with this person in the future?

    No one likes cutting out people from their wedding list, but it is needed when you are exceeding the capacity of your venue, or your overall budget.

    Be Mindful of Accommodations

    At this point, your list is almost done! Before you officially send out save-the-dates, make sure your guests will have the accommodations they need.

    Checking the venue’s parking, child seating, and handicap accessibility may affect your guest list size, or at least will determine any special notes you need to make on your invitations.

    Furthermore, you will want to double check with your venue host that your guest list size can be accommodated, including the wedding party table.

    How to create a wedding guest list

    Plan Ideal Seating Arrangements

    After your RSVPs have been sent and filled out by your guests, you should have a strong idea of who is coming to your wedding, so now you can start planning seating arrangements!

    Some venues will have pre-arranged seating scenarios, so it’s important to ask what their usual layout is and if they have pictures or diagrams for an example. Regardless, you should make sure a venue seating chart is on hand when you start planning where guests should sit.

    We recommend that you at least provide reserved seating for those who are in your wedding party and within your immediate family and close friend circle. Beyond that, you can let people sit where they want, or continue with planning out seating.

    One advantage to planning every table’s seating arrangement is the ability to match other friends and family together, ensuring everyone has a seat ready to go with people they know, and some they’ll get to know.

    You’ll also want to consider the tables around them, as people often interact with those near them throughout the day.

    Put the Fun in Wedding Planning

    Remember, at the end of the day, it’s your wedding–invite who you and your future spouse want! If you are ready to start planning your big day, contact us to learn more about The Canton Barn and book your dream wedding.