By Riley & Grey|Wedding Planning|July 07, 2023

A Comprehensive Guide to Creating the Perfect Wedding Guest List with Your Fiancé

Photo by Amar Preciado

How do you decide how many people to invite to your wedding? Who makes the cut? One of the first and most important tasks on your wedding to-do list is creating the guest list. Building a wedding guest list can be a challenging task, as it requires careful consideration and collaboration with your partner. In this blog post, we'll guide you through the process of starting and building a wedding guest list with your fiancé, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable journey towards your dream wedding day.

Begin with the Basics

To kickstart the guest list creation process, sit down with your fiancé and establish some foundational elements. Start by discussing the overall size and scope of your wedding. Determine whether you envision a small, intimate gathering or a larger, more elaborate celebration. This decision will set the tone for your guest list moving forward.

Define Your Priorities

Once you have a general idea of the wedding size, it's time to identify your priorities. Take some time to reflect on the people who hold a significant place in your lives. Begin by listing close family members, relatives, and lifelong friends. Consider your closest circle, such as best friends, mentors, and colleagues who have played a crucial role in your journey as a couple.

Establish a Collaborative Approach

Creating a wedding guest list should be a joint effort between you and your fiancé, and oftentimes will include input from parents. Set aside dedicated time to work together, share your ideas, and listen to each other's perspectives. Remember that compromises may be necessary, and effective communication is key to ensure both of your needs are met.

Consider Your Budget and Venue Capacity

Your budget and venue capacity will ultimately influence the size of your guest list. Determine how much you can comfortably spend per guest, factoring in expenses such as catering, seating, and invitations. Additionally, consult with your chosen venue to understand its capacity limitations. These factors will help you make informed decisions while finalizing your guest list.

Include Extended Family and Mutual Friends

Expand your guest list to include extended family members, such as aunts, uncles, and cousins. If space and budget allow, consider inviting mutual friends who have been present throughout your relationship and have had a positive impact on both of you. Remember, this is your special day, and surrounding yourself with loved ones creates a warm and inclusive atmosphere. With varying family size, you can set boundaries around how to decide who gets an invite. Maybe space only allows for first cousins, maybe you only want to invite friends you’ve both met or seen in the last few years.

Be Mindful of Parental Involvement

In some cultures or families, parental involvement in creating the guest list is customary. While it's important to respect your parents' wishes, strike a balance that accommodates your preferences as a couple. Communicate openly with your parents and find common ground that aligns with your vision for the wedding.

Contemplate Plus-Ones and Children

Determine your policy on plus-ones and whether you will allow guests to bring a date. Evaluate your budget and venue capacity to decide whether you can accommodate additional guests. Similarly, discuss whether you will invite children to the wedding or opt for an adults-only affair. Be mindful of potential sensitivities and family dynamics when making these decisions.

Keep Track of RSVPs and Finalize the List

With the guest list comes needing up-to-date contact information for everyone included. As you send out invitations, maintain an organized system to keep track of RSVPs. Wedding website companies like Riley & Grey offer ways to collect contact information, manage your guest list, RSVPs and guest preferences a breeze. Decide when to set your response date, which will help you finalize the guest list within the expected timeline needed for your vendors. Be prepared to make adjustments if you receive unexpected declines or additional acceptances.

Communicate with Clarity and Sensitivity

When finalizing your guest list, be prepared to communicate your decisions with clarity and sensitivity. Understand that not everyone you would like to invite may be able to attend, and it's important to handle potential disappointment gracefully. Share the news personally, if possible, to demonstrate your respect and gratitude for each person.

Creating your wedding guest list is a process that starts early in the planning process and it can evolve over time. There’s no need to get it perfect right away, and you have time before your guests start receiving save the dates and invitations. By creating some parameters around who gets an invite and keeping your budget and overall vision in mind, you’ll have an easier time putting the list together.