There’s a lot of stress involved in planning a wedding, and the guest list is no exception. In fact, for some families, the guest list is the most stressful part! You want a small intimate ceremony, your partner wants a huge celebration, and your mom wants to invite coworkers that you’ve never even met. Take a deep breath, get out a pen and paper, and read on to find out how to make a guest list for your wedding.
Guest List, Then Venue
Here’s a smart bit of advice that a lot of people overlook—make your guest list, then choose your venue. That way, you’re not restricted by a certain number of people (or struggling to think of people to invite because you’ve chosen a venue that’s too big). This step alone will take off a lot of the pressure involved in putting together a wedding guest list.
Tradition vs. Practicality
One sticking point that causes some friction with families is the tradition of dividing a guest list into three parts: the couple’s guests, the bride’s parents’ guests, and the groom’s parents’ guests. Decades ago, when parents paid for weddings and couples were barely out of their teens, this made sense, but people are getting married later now and likely have a long list of people they want to invite—do you really need to make room for your mom’s coworkers, especially if you and your partner are paying for the wedding yourselves?
Ultimately, this is your day, and your guest list should reflect that. Make concessions where you have to, but don’t sacrifice inviting your own guests to appease parents. A good rule of thumb is to invite people you’ve seen in the past year, or at the very least people you’re in touch with regularly. If you have room left on your guest list after that, then it’s time to invite more distant relatives, friends of parents, etc. To keep things from getting out of control, give each set of parents a specific number of guests you can afford for them to invite.
Avoid Hurt Feelings
No one wants to feel left out, so when it’s time to decide where to draw the line with family, make sure that line is clear. Don’t invite a few of your first cousins and leave the others off your guest list; don’t invite your favorite great aunt, but leave all of your other great aunts and uncles out. When you’re able to say, “Sorry, I know you wanted to come to our wedding, but we decided to only invite first cousins,” it’s a lot easier than saying, “Sorry, I just invited the second cousins that I’m close to.”
Adults Only? Plus Ones?
You’ll also need to decide if you want children at your wedding. This can be controversial, to be sure, and it can make wording that wedding invitation awkward—how do you make it known that you don’t want your guests bringing their little ones? Again, it’s your big day, and it’s your decision. Consider helping out-of-town guests find a babysitter, or have a kids-only room with a babysitter at your reception venue.
Navigating plus ones can be tricky, too. If your guest list is already bursting at the seams, you might not want to have the possibility of feeding and finding seats for even more people. Still, it can be uncomfortable for single guests, especially if they don’t know anyone else at your wedding; if you decide to invite plus ones, address the invitation to “Name and Guest.”
Remember Who Celebrated Your Special Day With You
Spend some time choosing a wedding guest book that has the right amount of space for all your guests to leave a message. At Luna Paper Co., we offer a wide range of customization options for our wedding guests books so you can create something that coordinates with your colors and theme. Setup your wedding guest book table so everyone spots it when they walk in the room!