How to create your wedding guest list

Updated: Mar 4, 2020

Drafting our guest list for our big day was one of the first steps we did after getting engaged. The number of guests you plan on having will affect everything, from your budget to your venue choice. This is why it is so important to have an approximate headcount before you get too far into the planning process.  

Who are you inviting? Deciding who makes the cut can be very difficult. In an ideal world, we would invite everyone, but, of course, that's not possible and guest add up faster than you can imagine. This is why Joe and I had to come up with a few guest list guidelines. 

Our Guest List Rules

The General Rule: 

My mom gave us this one fast rule:

if you have to be introduced to this person on your wedding day, they shouldn't be invited.

By the time our wedding day arrives, it will mark six years that Joe and I have been together. If we have yet to meet the person in almost a decade of time, they certainly do not belong at the wedding. On this day, we should be surrounded by close family and friends who have experienced nearly every step of our relationship; those are the people we want to be apart and witness when we say "I Do". 

However, my mom's one fast rule may not pertain to everyone. Therefore, this rule may be more up your alley:

if you haven't sat down and had a meal together in the past two years, they probably shouldn't be invited to your wedding.

This will help your separate the people you are close with and the ones who you have lost touch with. In terms of a budget, these are pretty fair rules. 

The Plus-One Rule: 

It is also important to come up with a guideline for determining who gets a plus-one. A plus-one is a MUST for anyone who is married, engaged, or in a long-term relationship. There are no exceptions there! A plus-one is also acceptable for anyone who is single AND won't have any other friends attending. 

If someone is single, but will be amongst friends and/or family, giving them a plus-one is not necessary. 

Deciding who will and won’t be at your wedding to witness your marriage can be very stressful, but everyone is different and will have their own way of deciding. Once you finalize your list, that is when the real fun begins! 

If you’re married or engaged, what’s your rule for narrowing down your guest list?

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