6 Easy Steps For Making A Wedding Guest List and Mistakes To Avoid 

article on making a wedding guest list
Pooja Jena

Making a wedding guest list is tricky in the initial stages of wedding planning.

Due to the emotional nature of weddings, couples often find this challenging.

Wedding planners struggle too as it’s not their place to decide who can come to the wedding.

This article doesn’t just outline the steps for making a wedding guest list. It also talks about certain ethical considerations and answers most-asked questions.

Wedding planners can use this guide to make the process easier for their clients.

A. Initial considerations while making a wedding guest list

Here are a few things you should be keeping in mind before you invite everybody.

Realistically speaking, you need to know the number of guests you can afford. Ask the venue managers the price per plate to begin with. Even if you haven’t finalized the venue, you can begin exploring and asking for prices.

Another effective thing to do in the very beginning is to set boundaries. Realize who is supposed to have a say in the wedding guest list. If operating on a tight budget, it’s wise to only let the couple have a say.

Other than that, we have a lot of tips on making a wedding guest list going forward. However, it’s best to take it in the most practical way. Don’t see a guest as a person, but look at it in terms of per-plate costs. This makes it easier to make some hard decisions. Don’t be compelled to invite everybody while getting carried away by emotions.

making a wedding guest list that saves you money

B. How do I make a list of guests for my wedding?

  1. Let’s first start with listing everybody. Imagine your budget is limitless and write down all the names. To make it more organized, start from the closest ones. For example, list your family members, them close friends, followed by colleagues, and acquaintances
  2. Consult all the stakeholders like parents to see if their wishes for the guest list are accommodated
  3. Color-code the guests for must-invite, good-to-have, and may-invite categories. Keep separate colours or simply put the names in this order
  4. Now, see what your budget allows as the venue of your choice. Let’s say, you can afford 200 guests’ food and entertainment. Then, you can proceed by inviting the first 200 names on the list
  5. Now, you must send the invites at least eight weeks in advance. Causing delays here might make your guests feel unwanted
  6. Sending the invites is not enough, make sure you include the RSVP feature. This will allow you to have a clear head count. Knowing the exact number of guests to expect can save you from wasteful expenditure

C. Tips for making a shorter and better wedding guest list

Now that you know how to start making a wedding guest list, you need to know whom to include. Being a human, you’ll find yourself in many dilemmas while doing so.

wedding guests in an indian marriage

Here are some hacks to make certain decisions easier for you:

1. Plus-One Policy

You don’t need to offer everybody plus ones. Have a thumb rule in place to make everything fair and square.

Simply try to offer plus-ones to those people who have partners you’ve met. If you have a slightly bigger budget, you can even invite those who are long-term partners.

2. No Children

Honestly, if you’re not keen on having children at your wedding, that’s okay too! This only means fewer mouths to feed and fewer hands to control.

These wordings shall help you draft your no-children wedding invites. And before you feel guilty about this, know that many people prefer to have weddings this way.

You’ll also have a few guests who can’t make it if they have to leave their children behind. Be sure to respect their decision as they respect yours to have a child-free wedding.

3. Maintain Privacy

The less you talk about your wedding in public, the better. You’re less likely to disappoint people if they have no idea you’re getting married.

4. Intimate Wedding

Don’t think you’re cheaping out. These days, intimate weddings are more sought after by clients. Thus, making a wedding guest list selective is justified. Keep it limited to close friends and family.

If celebrities can do it, why not you?

5. Avoid Obligations

Sometimes you may get into situations where you feel like you should invite people who invited you.

But, in such cases, you need to remind yourself of where the bond stands now. If you’re not as close anymore, it’s completely normal to not extend the invitation.

Try to set another thumb rule here. If you haven’t been close or chatty in the last year, you can skip inviting them. Making a wedding guest list becomes a lot more guilt-free with this.

6. What About Co-workers?

Drop the people-pleasing attitude already!

If you don’t have the budget or mood to spare money, you can skip co-workers who aren’t really friends.

If you’re having an intimate wedding, keep it limited to friends and family. If your co-workers don’t fall into either of the categories, then you can skip inviting them.

7. Guilt Invites

Before finalizing your guest list, revisit it and see if you’re inviting anybody solely due to guilt.

If that’s the case, you know what to do. Skip!

8. Don’t Overthink

Our last piece of advice is, to remember that it’s your special day and nobody else’s. If somebody’s not close enough to be called a friend of the family, they’re most likely not as interested in your wedding anyway.

If you’re trying to keep the guest count low, you’ll have to be confident in your decisions. Don’t overthink it, it’s not your responsibility to keep everybody’s vanity intact. You can’t be making a wedding guest list without prioritizing your own choices.

D. What is the best way to organize a wedding guest list?

If you’re someone who works better with pen and paper, go for it. Once things start to become clear, you can easily convert it into digital text by scanning through your camera.

how to make a wedding guest list

We highly recommend you use Excel or Google Sheets for making a wedding guest list.

You can categorize them as:

  • Family
  • Close friends that you interact with regularly
  • Significant relationships like childhood friends or close colleagues

Then, you can further classify them based on their association with the bride and groom. It’s best done through color coding.

Now, to filter out your wedding guest list, you need to start prioritizing. Give each guest a score of one, two, or three. One being the closest and most important to invite. Three should be given to those who would be nice to have at your wedding only if your budget allows. Try to go with your gut while giving these scores.

The final decision should depend on what your budget is. Making a wedding guest list is closely related to your priorities and budget. You go ahead with the guests that your list of priorities allows.

E. How do I estimate a guest list for my wedding?

To not offend people with late invites, you need to be strategic. People can easily tell if they were an afterthought as they were invited late.

wedding invites

So, here, you should be sending out invites in a strict RSVP manner weeks before the wedding. Usually, only 70-75% of the guests accept.

When you realize there’s room for more people, you can send the second round of invites.

The RSVP method combined with early invites will allow you to have a clearer picture of your guest count. Making a wedding guest list final becomes a breeze with these age-old practices.

Do ensure you take regular follow-ups to those who don’t respond. This will allow you to send the second round of invitations faster.

Try to send the first round of invites at least ten weeks in advance. Use digital tracking tickets or simply Google Sheets to monitor the RSVPs.

Being well-organized will help a lot in making a wedding guest list.


1. Do you include yourself on the wedding guest list?

Yes, the couple is also part of the wedding guest list when you hand it over to the venue. This gives the caterers and event planners an accurate idea of how much food is required.

However, this doesn’t mean that you send yourself a card too.

2. Is it rude to not allow plus ones to the wedding?

Wedding planners and the couple might be in a dilemma about this. Whether or not you should be allowing plus ones depends on the number of primary guests. If your primary guests are exhausting your budget already, then there’s no need to offer a plus-one invitation.

3. What is RSVP in a wedding?

RSVP stands for “répondez s’il vous plaît” in French. Simply put, it means that one must respond. This helps you confirm their attendance at your wedding.

Making RSVP mandatory while sending invites helps you get a more accurate picture. This will ensure that the headcount is priced while making a wedding guest list.

G. A few words from EventTube

Did we help you with some of the dilemmas and confusions that you face while making a wedding guest list?

If you thought this was helpful, we have so much more to offer.

We can help you with more such current event trends on our LinkedIn. See you there!



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