I don’t know if anyone loves coming up with the guest list for their wedding. You don’t want to leave anyone out, but if you are limited on space, you also can’t invite relatives of your relatives. I’ve come up with the top three factors you should consider when building your guest list:
One. Take into consideration the amount of guests your ceremony and reception location will accommodate. Our ceremony location maxed out at 110, and it was a number they would not budge on. So automatically, we knew that we shouldn’t invite more than our venue could handle. Experts say about 20-25% of guests reply “no” to a local wedding. Approximately 30-35% respond “no” to a destination wedding. I can confirm that those numbers were pretty spot on.
Two. Create two different lists: version 1 should be your top priority list, such as immediate family and close friends. You can send those invitations off a bit before version 2 to see how many regrets come back. Version 2 might include distant relatives and friends that you haven’t seen in awhile, but still want to include. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time for people to reply prior to the RSVP date.
Three. Stick to your guest list. This piece of advice is crucial and will save you so much stress down the line. It’s time consuming to get those invitations designed/compiled/sent out, so don’t let last minute add-ons start consuming your precious time. My husband had several people from work that essentially assumed they were invited, so he felt bad and asked me to mail them invitations. My mother-in-law also decided to add some people to the list at the minute. I had to politely put my foot down, because we were already maxed out on space.
Useful tools: I used this wedding guest list manager to help me through the process. It has some really neat features, such as tracking RSVP’s, creating address labels and the ability to filter by groups. Bonus: it’s free. I also found Style Me Pretty’s free wedding guest template here. This one looks simple and to the point. Zola has a guest list feature that is also practical and free.
So there you have it – our top three ways to get started on that guest list!