How to Plan Your Guest List the Right Way

How to Plan Your Guest List the Right Way

Planning your guest list can be one of the most stressful parts of a wedding, but by approaching it methodically, you can come up with a list that’s perfect for your perfect day. Here’s everything you need to know about planning a guest list for your wedding, including initial planning and making hard decisions.

Making Your Guest List

How do you get started when planning the most important day of your life? Begin by designing your “dream list”: a list of absolutely everyone who you think you might want at your wedding. You’ll need to work with your soon-to-be spouse to cover all of your friends and family, and you can figure out from there what your dream guest list might look like.

Every wedding is different. You might want to have an elaborate wedding with a handful of people or a more casual wedding with as many of your loved ones as possible. Making an initial guest list gives you a starting point.

Deciding on the Number of Guests

  • Estimate your budget and per head price. You need to be realistic about the number of guests and err on the side of fewer guests rather than more. 
  • Figure out what’s most important to you. For instance, if you’re prioritizing your food budget, then the most limiting factor is going to be how many people you can feed.
  • Think about concessions. As an example, a fully paid bar is expensive for you, but if you make it a bar that people pay at, you may be able to squeeze more in. 

Start Separating Out Your List

Go through your list and separate them by the people you absolutely need to go and the people who you would want there. Creating a tiered list makes it easier to cut off large chunks of guests, as you can work your way from the lower tiers.

You should also create an A list and a B list, with the A list being those who are participating in the whole day, add the B list being those who are only invited to the reception.

Go through your list and separate them by the people you absolutely need to go and the people who you would want there. Creating a tiered list makes it easier to cut off large chunks of guests, as you can work your way from the lower tiers.

Here are some guests you might want to cut out:

  • People you haven’t spoken to in a long time. Though you may once have been close, friends and family members who haven’t been around aren’t likely a part of your active life.
  • People you feel obligated to invite. People you work with aren’t necessarily people you need at your wedding, and you don’t have to invite someone just because you were invited to their wedding — especially if that was a while ago.
  • People who don’t perform well at weddings. There are some people who just don’t manage the stress of a wedding well. If you have friends or family members who tend to ruin weddings, don’t invite them.

Dealing With Wedding Guest List Regrets

Some guests are going to need to send their regrets that they can’t attend. So how do you fill up that empty space? About 10% of wedding guests will likely not be able to attend, but you can fill these spots with people who otherwise wouldn’t have made the cut.

  • Estimate from the start that some guests, anywhere from 5% to 10%, may not be able to attend. This number will go up if you are inviting more guests, as there will be more who consider themselves optional regarding the celebrations.
  • Consider reaching out to close friends and offering them a +1: be honest about the circumstances and you can smooth over any awkward social situations.
  • Keep in mind the difficulty of attendance. If many guests have experienced a life change (such as a new baby) or are far away, the regrets list may be higher.

You may need to make some hard decisions and compromises when it comes to your guest list. But ultimately, you will have a more successful wedding by culling your wedding list to exactly the guests that you want. Weddings are full of compromises, but one area in which you don’t have to compromise is your dress. To start looking for (or altering) your perfect dress, contact TK Bridal & Alterations. 

Ready to find your dream dress? Contact us!