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Planning & Organising

How to write your wedding guest list

Planning & Organising

Sorting your wedding guest list should be one of your first wedding planning tasks, as it will have a huge effect on your budget and venue choice. Luckily, wedding planning experts Guides for Brides have come up with a handy guide to writing the guest list, without the stress…

It can be slightly overwhelming deciding who to invite, but we recommend listing every person you might want to invite, and then splitting them into three categories to determine who should take priority. It may seem ruthless, but it works!

Your categories should be:


These are people who you can’t imagine your day without.  Parents, children and best friends.


People who you would love to attend, but it wouldn’t ruin the day if they had to cancel at the last minute. Family and friends.


These are people who it would be awkward not to invite, or who it would be nice to have there on the day, but you wouldn’t mind if they couldn’t come. Distant relatives, friends you’ve lost contact with, work friends and plus ones.

Once you have listed these categories, you can work out exactly how many people you can afford to invite based on venue restrictions and catering quotes – if you want to invite more people, you may have to look for a larger venue or a cheaper caterer to ensure that you don’t go over budget.

Things to consider…


Plus-ones are one of the quickest ways to expand your guest list, and therefore your total wedding cost. Setting some ground rules can stop things getting out of control – only extending plus-ones to married, engaged or long-term couples rather than single guests is a good one, as is making it a requirement that the plus-one must have met one or both of you.


A controversial one! Many couples opt for child-free weddings as a way to cut both costs and numbers, but you should bear in mind that parents may not attend your big day if that is the case. We recommend inviting all children, or none at all, as extending the invitation to just select children is likely to cause some awkward conversations with offended parents.

Parents’ friends

Traditionally, a third of the guest list would be made up of the groom’s parents’ guests, a third the bride of parents’ guests, and a third the couple’s guests, but this has mostly changed for modern weddings. However, if parents have contributed significantly to the wedding budget, then they may want some say in the list, or to invite some close friends of theirs, so we recommend discussing with them.

Keep track!

Once you’ve decided who’s invited, and how you’re splitting your day and evening guests, then you’ll need an easy way to keep track of all your guests in one place to avoid any awkward miscounts further down the line. Tools like our online Wedding Planner are perfect for this – it includes a Guestlist section which allows you to track who’s invited, their contact details, whether they have special dietary requirements and whether or not they’ve RSVP’d. It even syncs up with a table planner so that you can arrange guests as they respond – clever, eh?

Create your own free Wedding Planner at


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