Wedding Guest List 101

If I’m being real here, one of my least favorite parts about planning our wedding was the guest list. I’ve come up with the top three factors you should consider when building your guest list:

  1. How many people can your ceremony and reception site hold? Our ceremony location capped 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.
  2. Create two different lists: version 1 can go to those who are your top priority, 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 more 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.
  3. Build your list and stick to it. 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 (which we will address in a later post), 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. I had to put my foot down, because we were already maxed out on my space. We came up with a polite response for him to give such as: “since it’s a destination wedding, it’s going to be a more intimate setting.”

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┬áhas a guest list feature that is also practical and free.

Happy Wedding Guest-list making!