Tips for managing your wedding guest list

An engagement is a blissful time of effortless communication between a couple, planning details while holding hands at every appointment and lovingly compromising on every detail… Uh, yeah, sorry but we’re laughing too hard to finish this sentence. What say we just take a deep breath, forget the Hollywood version of wedding planning and get back into reality.

The fact is, if you don’t hire a wedding planner you are personally overseeing what will likely be the most expensive and elaborate party of your lives. There will be some challenging details to deal with along the way. Your wedding day is a major life event that you want to go just right. Difficulties are to be expected, despite the colorful fairy tale montage that represents wedding planning in the movies.

One bump in the road for many engaged couples is preparing the wedding guest list. Unless you have the financial means to invite every family member, friend, and co-worker on both sides, you will have to make some tough choices about who’s coming. Here are a few suggestions to help you manage your wedding guest list. Follow these tips to minimize headaches and disagreements along the way.

Setting limits

Prior to even starting to write down names, it is wise to determine the total number of people you can invite to your celebration. Use your budget and venue capacity as guides to help you set a realistic figure.

Check for strings

Sometimes couples feel pressured into inviting certain friends of their parents or distant relatives because they are not entirely footing the bill themselves. If you accept any generous contributions to your wedding fund, determine if there are strings attached ahead of time. Have an honest discussion with your parents/in-laws/grandparents/etc. to see if their financial assistance comes with any requirements (or even any subtle “hopes”) about the guests, the reception menu, venue or other details. Being clear on this will save you from subsequent complications and possible hurt feelings down the road.

All those “plus one”s add up

Adding “and guest” to every single invitation will significantly drive up the costs of your special day. You will need to reconcile your budget with your relationships and make some key decisions. For example, many single friends will have people they are dating with varying degrees of commitment. Are all of these secondary individuals invited to attend with your friends? If so, it can substantially increase the headcount. For financial reasons, you may need to limit “plus one”s to friends who are engaged or living with someone. The important thing is that you have a frank discussion about what you can realistically afford and then clearly explain your position to any family or friends who might be affected.

The six-month test

When the time comes to make the hard cuts, analyze your list and whittle it down by simply reading each name and seeing if it passes the six-month test. If you haven’t seen, spoken to, texted, emailed or Skyped with said person in half a year or more, perhaps it’s sufficient for them to enjoy your online wedding album instead of actually attending. Once you’ve made these tough choices lose the guilt and be okay with the fact that you and your fiancé are only including those you are truly close to you in your special day.

Co-workers and cousins

There are no blanket rules about who should be invited. This is your day — if you are close to certain cousins and want them there, it does not mean that you have to invite the entire extended family. Similarly, if you are tight with some co-workers, feel free to include them without feeling pressured to invite the entire office. Keep the thought process simple and make a point to notice if you or your fiancé smile or frown when certain names are read.


Deciding whether to invite children will probably come down to a pure budgetary decision. If the money isn’t there, you may want to go with an adults-only event. Limiting kids to those whose parents are part of your wedding party is another way to go. Remember that there are no hard and fast rules. If you really want a specific flower girl or ring bearer to be part of your ceremony, go for it. Just be clear on your invitations what your child policy is so everyone can plan accordingly.

To assist your guests who are parents, you may even consider hiring older cousins or a private babysitter to look after the younger children in one of the hotel rooms or a nearby relative’s home. You can also arrange plans for the older children to keep them occupied for the duration.

Following these tips for managing your wedding guest list can help you make some crucial decisions in an efficient, less stressful manner. Do what is best for you; your love ones will completely understand and be supportive.

Organizing a wedding requires an enormous amount of time and energy. Compiling the guest list is just one of dozens of tasks that must be completed. Hiring a professional to plan your wedding and reception offers tremendous peace of mind. Imagine meeting with your planner and making a few decisions and then enjoying your engagement while everything is handled for you.

If you work with Table Decor and More this is just what you can expect. Our all-inclusive wedding packages include planning, decorating, catering and more. We can even hire the photographer, book the DJ and arrange limo service. All you have to do for your wedding is show up. Call 704-823-7806 or use the Contact form on this page to schedule a free consultation. We look forward to hearing from you.

2016-12-07T23:18:10+00:00 By |