Wedding Wednesdays Q&A: 4 Steps to Create Your Wedding Guest List

Wedding Wednesdays Q&A by Jamie Chang Destination Wedding Planner of Mango Muse Events

Hello and welcome to an all new Wedding Wednesdays Q&A.  Today we’re discussing the guest list: I just got engaged and I know we need to create our wedding guest list before we can look at anything.  We did start putting down some names but are struggling with who should actually go on the list.  Do you have any tips to help us?

So, you are right that before you can even look into venues or pick a date, you’ll need to make a realistic guest list.  Your guest count will dictate which places are a good fit and will also greatly influence your budget.  Some do the guest list first and then the budget while others do the budget first.  Either way, they are inextricably linked, so having a solid number will be important and affect all your decisions going forward.  With that being said, here are 4 steps to help you put together your wedding guest list:

1. Sit down with your fiancé and start making a list of everyone that is important to you and who you want at your wedding.  Make your list freely and don’t limit yourself (that comes next).

2. Once you have an initial list, look it over in detail and ask yourselves these questions: Is each person on this list someone you are close to?  Do these people know who you really are and do you envision them being a part of your lives down the road?  If you had your wedding and this person wasn’t there, would you be sad?

3. For most couples, you’ll need to cut your list down in order to achieve the wedding you are looking for.  With guest lists, many times we tend to invite people because we are supposed to, but this is an opportunity to really think about the people that matter to you.  Take your answers from step 2 and start paring your list down to construct a list that makes sense for the two of you.  These should be the people you have to have at your wedding and will be bummed if they aren’t there.

4. Once you’ve come up with a list that feels good, you’ll want to look at it and just guess who you think will actually RSVP yes.  If you are having a hometown wedding where most people live, chances are that most people will come.  If you are doing a destination wedding, you can have anywhere from 25-80% of your guests coming.  I know estimating is hard, but just give it your best guess so that you have a number of actual attendees.  Then pad the number a little and this will be the guest count you should use going forward.  Now, a word to the wise, your list will change and get tweaked and of course, your actual attendees won’t match your guess, but if you’ve done a good job it should be pretty close.

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