wedding white board displaying the guest list and their seatings

The Guide To Make A Wedding Guest List

Sometimes drafting your wedding guest list can be a hassle as you try to accommodate as many people as you want while trying not to offend anyone or you’re trying to avoid people who dislike each other seated together at the same table.

Well, we wouldn’t say that it is a simple thing to do, but if we take consider into some guides and principles, the process will not be too complicated. By getting an understanding from experienced couples, here’s the things that you need to know to build your wedding list.

8-Steps To Make Your Wedding Guest List

Write a List of Everyone That You’d Consider Inviting

Write down any names that you can think of to invite as if you have infinite budget and space. Prepare a master list starting with your immediate family, close friends and then your other networks, including colleagues, school mates, distant relatives, neighbors, their partners, children and any acquaintances that you may know.

After that, you’ll have to trim down the list.

Shortlist Your Top Tier Guests

These are the guests that you definitely want them to attend your wedding. They are the ones that have been significant and played an important role in your life. Put them on the top of your list, highlight it; whatever you do, make sure you don’t miss them out.

Work Out A Realistic Budget On The Number of Guests You Can Afford

The budget, venue and number of guests are correlated. The venue’s pricing range and space will decide how many guests that you can invite.

Just keep in mind that every guest is an extra chair, meal, drink, and favor that you’ll have to add on your budget. Even if you have unlimited budget, the constraints of space will also affect your wedding guest list.

Consider Your Parents’ Input

The best is to get your parents to discuss on the guest list before making the announcements so that you have the flexibility to amend the guest list. Once you and your partner has completed the first draft of the list, talk to both your parents about the plan and let them voice out their feedbacks.

Some couples set a portion of seats for the parents to allocate themselves though, especially if the parents are paying a portion for the wedding day.

Set A Policy For Plus-Ones

An easy way to stick to a small guest list is by limiting the number of plus-ones you allow your guests to bring. We recommend only offering plus-ones to those in long-term relationships with partners that you have met.

Be Fair with Family

You never want your wedding to be the one that creates friction between family members. If you’re inviting your cousin, then make sure all cousins gets invited. Don’t miss out anyone.

Stagger Your Invites

Your ‘final list’ before you send out invitations won’t be a final. It is important to send out your wedding invitations early, and at least 8-10 weeks in advance. When your invited guests starts to RSVPs, you might get a handful of regretful nos due to different circumstances.

When that happens, you now have extra space to invite people that you haven’t done so in the first round. That is why you need to have a master guest list, so you can work on to fill these spots quickly. But make sure you send the invites out as soon as possible.

Set A Deadline

Set a cutoff date for all RSVPs, as you need to make the final confirmation to vendors especially the venue operator and your caterer.

People You Don’t Have To Necessarily Invite

It is impossible to invite everyone that you know in your life. Sometimes, you just have to say ‘sorry, you’re not invited’ to some people. This is a simple guide on who to cross out from the wedding guest list.

MIA Family Members

There are family members that may be too distant and you haven’t heard from them for years. A wedding is an intimate moment and supposed to be celebrating the marriage of both you and your spouse. So make sure you invite those who have been a part of your life and those who you have been in touch with.

Friends You Haven’t Heard From In Years

Throughout our lives, we get to know many friends. And most of the time, friends come and go. If there is any that you did not keep in touch with for a long time, there is a chance that that friend doesn’t bother to attend your wedding either. To make things easy for both of you, put that friend out from the list.


Unless you’re working in a small company with just a few colleagues, try not to invite your work friends. Instead, you an arrange for a separate happy hour party with them.


If they are neighbors that have grown into close friends, put them in the guest list. Otherwise, you can make your list shorter by excluding them.

Friends With A Bad Track Record

Sometimes, we just have these friends who can get unruly with the guests at an event or they have a bad behaviour after a few glasses of drinks. You may want to consider putting them off from the list, unless they are someone really close, then you’ve got to assign somebody to watch after them.

Kids of Family and Friends

A quick way to minimize your guest list is to make your wedding adults only. But you’ve got to be consistent and fair to all guests. Some guests might also look forward for a kid-free night where they can enjoy themselves rather than having to watch over their children.

Plus-Ones You’ve Never Met

You don’t have to give any of your guests a plus-one who aren’t in a relationship. And if they are, and you’ve never met the person, you shouldn’t feel obligated either. You can also set a policy for plus-ones that applies to all your guests.

The Vow is a wedding & love magazine focuses on stories, inspiration, ideas and listings of wedding vendors.

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