Making Your Wedding Guest List

If you’re on a tight budget when it comes to your wedding, the guest list can be really treacherous territory, as well as a make or break issue between friends and family. It’s not easy, even if you have all the money in the world, to decide who warrants a place at the service as opposed to simply being invited to the reception (and don’t get us started on the seating plan!). We know you’d rather avoid the feuds or hurt feelings that could be raised, but the sleepless nights that come with a wedding guest list too big for your budget just aren’t worth it! In the end, deciding the general size of your wedding early is the most important thing you can do to facilitate smooth planning ahead. This is why we’ve compiled some basic advice to help you sculpt your wedding guest list.

Smaller, Intimate Weddings


If you know even at the engagement that you are likely to be unable to have a big wedding then the best thing you can do is be exacting about who you tell. If you announce your upcoming nuptials to all and sundry you may find many disgruntled friends and family (and friends OF family) who thought they would be on the list. Likewise, when talking to people make it clear that it is likely to be a very small, intimate affair for only direct family and the closest of friends. You’ll find that, though they’ll be disappointed, most people will understand fully when you tell them that though you’d love for them to be there your budget simply won’t stretch that far. You could also point out that your venue will only take so many people, and make it clear that you’d love to have an informal celebration with them personally at a later date.

There are other tricks for having a smaller wedding without starting a war with the extended family; you can head off for a last minute destination wedding with just your closest friend and your parents in tow! Destination weddings are a great way to limit your guest list as they require more time off work and imply a greater cost; less people will be able to come and more will understand when they are not invited. Just remember to give people enough time to prepare for the cost and vacation time required. Eloping is also an options should it get really messy!

Big Weddings

If, however, you’re looking for a really grand wedding with all your nearest and dearest then be sure to publicize a likely date for your wedding as soon as possible so that people can start making arrangements. As a rule less people will be able to make it to last minute weddings so the earlier you start making decisions the more people will, generally, be able to attend. The real danger with big weddings is the possibility you might forget someone of import. When people realize they were left off a smaller wedding list they will be understanding, but if everyone and the family dog is invited and they were not you may have some apologies to make! Try going methodically through both families and friend groups and write down everyone you can think of that you want there. It might help to get some close family members and friend to check this list to make sure you have everyone.

The main advantage of big weddings is that family feuds and hostile ex-spouses can be lost in the crowds. You can easily separate the divorced couples and keep the angry cousins away from each other. If you think any of your guests will have issues with each other then it may be wise to let each know that the other will be there and request that they leave their differences at the door if at all possible.

Reserve Lists

It doesn’t matter if your wedding is big or small, there will always be people who simply cannot make it no matter how badly they want to. This is why it’s key to have a reserve list in case they should free up time last minute! Asking potential guests to RSVP promptly is a good idea, too, because you can offer the spaces of those unable to attend to others who may want to come and thereby keep as many people happy as is humanly possible.

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