Shortly after putting that stunning diamond on your finger, you dive nose-first into spreadsheets and paper lists, trying to decide who to invite to your wedding. Of course, there are many factors to consider, from venue space to guest relationships, so that task can quickly feel overwhelming.
That’s why we’ve simplified the wedding guest list process with this breakdown of creating a guest list from start to finish and templates for saving guest information.
- Prioritize guests you know personally and are involved in their daily lives
- Split the wedding guest list between both sides of the family
- Use a spreadsheet to organize guest information and easily order wedding stationery
Who to Invite to the Wedding
Follow these six steps to create your wedding guest list:
Step 1: Create a Preliminary List with Your Partner
Before involving everyone in the guest list-making process, start with who you and your partner want to invite. You’ll want to ensure there’s room for those who had the greatest impact on your lives. So, give your guest list priority.
During this initial step, there’s no need to worry about numbers. At this point, you want to list everyone you can think of or even might remotely want at your wedding. You can look at your social media friends lists, contacts on your phone, coworker directories, and other community connections.
Step 2: Settle on a Guest Count
Now you should decide how many people you’re able to invite. Will it be an intimate affair with just your close friends and family? Then stick with fewer than 50 guests. Are you extending the invite to distant relatives and acquaintances? You will most likely have 150+ guests attending.
The available space at the venue will also dictate how many guests you can invite. Once you have a set number, you can begin narrowing down who will come.
Generally, between 80 and 85% of invited guests will attend the wedding. However, that average drops significantly for destination weddings since fewer guests will be able to make the trip.
Step 3: Narrow Down the Guest List
You can begin picking through your preliminary guest list now that you have the actual count settled.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself to help you sort out who you want to attend:
- Have I met this guest before?
- Have I seen this person recently?
- Do I have an invested relationship and interest in their life (and vice versa)?
- Have I attended their wedding recently (if it was a while ago, you don’t need to return the invite)?
- Do I spend special occasions together like birthdays and holidays?
- Are you inviting the entire family of friends and coworkers or just the friend?
- Is this person a positive influence?
Step 4: Create Guest List Cut-Offs
Making guest lists can get a little sticky. For example, when you invite one aunt, you should ask them all. The same goes for cousins. To avoid any hurt feelings, establish guest list cut-offs to keep the guest list focused on those you want to be there and to remain consistent in your invites.
In addition, you can decide on other stipulations, like whether you want to invite children or if you will allow plus ones. If you aren’t allowing children, this only applies to those under 12.
Step 5: Divide Guests between Families
Divide the remaining guest spots between you and your fiance’s family. Allow both sets of parents to list family, friends and extended family.
When your family submits their lists, use the previous questions again to ensure you’re happy with them. For example, your mom might want to invite her yoga group friends. However, if you’ve never met them, you may instead use that space in the guest list for someone else more directly involved in your life.
Step 6: Make Separate Guest Lists for Other Wedding Events
The wedding guest list is just one of many lists. However, it does serve as the master list. Once you’ve established who’s coming to the ceremony and reception, you can start breaking the list into smaller groups.
For example, you will have a list of who’s coming to the wedding rehearsal dinner. This dinner is for everyone involved in the ceremony. You will also invite close family.
You will also want to decide who to invite to the bridal shower. The bridal shower is more intimate than the wedding, so all females coming to the wedding don’t have to go to the bridal shower. Instead, you can limit the guest list to your closest friends, family, and bridal party.
If you and your partner prefer to celebrate together, consider having a Jack and Jill party or a co-ed shower so you can also celebrate with brothers, fathers, and close male friends.
How to Create a Wedding Guest List
Technology has made guest lists much easier than in the past. You don’t have to break out the pen and paper. A spreadsheet will work well for most guest lists since it’s easy to edit and organize.
What should be included in a wedding guest list?
To create a wedding guest list, including the following details:
- Contact information (Address, phone number, email address)
- Their relationship with the couple (friend, family, coworker)
- Total number invited
- What you invited them to (shower, rehearsal) and whether they accepted or declined
- Seating notes
- Food information (dietary restriction, menu choices)
- Gifts received
- Whether you sent a thank you note
Just a side note, some platforms are much more convenient than trying to format spreadsheet columns. For example, when you create a wedding website, the site often includes a template for wedding guests so you can manage responses and gifts from the site rather than a spreadsheet.
Wedding Guest List Template
Do you want some help creating a guestlist? Download this wedding guest list template from Microsoft Office to help you get started: Wedding Guest List Template.
This wedding guest list spreadsheet allows you to record guests’ contact information. You can also track what invitations you sent and individual responses. In addition, you can use it to keep track of what gifts your guests sent, and whether you sent a thank you note.
Another important wedding guest template is the envelope guest list template. Shine Wedding Invitations provides a free template for recording invitation details. Copy and paste the details from your original template into the invitation template. Then, adjust the appropriate fields so the printers know what name to put inside the envelope.
Find the Perfect Invitation
Once your wedding guest list is complete, you can send out wedding invitations. Shine Wedding Invitations is your source for luxury designs with timeless styles.
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