Making the guest list for your wedding can be so fun, but sometimes a little confusing. It can be hard determining who gets an invite when your venue has a capacity level, or when you’re trying to stay under budget. Deciding on plus ones and children can cause even more complications! Hopefully we can help you simplify the guest list process and break down helpful ways you can decide on who is coming and sharing in your special day!
When making a guest list it usually helps to divide the guests into list A, list B, and list C. A-list guests are the ones that you absolutely have to have there, and will support you and make your day that much more memorable. A good general rule is to think of who you could not imagine missing out on your wedding day, and they more than likely need to go on list A.
List B are the people who you would love to have celebrate in your wedding, space permitting. Not to say they aren’t important, it’s just that choices sometimes have to be made when factoring in venue capacity and budget costs. List B might also contain some people that perhaps your parents want to invite, but the bride and groom perhaps don’t know that well. If there are going to have to be cuts, it’s generally a good idea to know where you both stand in terms of your A list and B list guests.
It is typically only recommended to make two guest lists, but we also like to recommend a C list which stands for children. Remembering which guests will bring their children, if you are allowing children at your wedding, is very useful to maybe help determine who is in list A or list B, and also if there needs to be a discussion perhaps about hiring a babysitter, or deciding which room will be the play room during the wedding.
As we have mentioned, it would be amazing to be able to invite everyone that you know, but sometimes you just can’t due to space limitations. Venues will almost always have a capacity, and it is important to remember what the capacity is so there are no further complications the day of! This will also help you determine if you will be inviting children, and if you will allow single guests a plus one. A good rule of thumb is to only invite 10% over your venue capacity. If a venue holds 200 people, only invite 220, since there is a good chance about 10% of people will not be able to make it.
One of the biggest misconceptions about guests is that the person who is footing the bill is allowed to invite more guests. Wedding courtesy actually dictates that the bride be allowed to invite 1/3 of the available guest space, the groom 1/3, and the other 1/3 to the parents. If either sets of parents are divorced, they will still need to split the guest invites between themselves. In the end though, keep in mind these are just typical wedding courtesy, and some numbers may have to change if one party has a larger family then the other!
Our last piece of advice would be to remember that guests are great, but they can also be expensive! It’s a good idea to remind yourself that each guest, accounting for food and alcohol for each, is going to cost you about $30-$40 a person minimum. This can add up fast, and budgeting accordingly will help dramatically when figuring out costs and how many invites should be sent out in the first place!
You’re not in this alone though, and if you are thinking of or have already booked with us, then we can help! Not only can we help, but out wedding website “Aisle Planner” is an invaluable tool as well. In it, you can stay organized with the guest list for who you invited, who has RSVPed and who hasn’t, and even the meal choices the guests have made if you are doing a sit down meal! Guests lists can seem challenging as they continue to grow and multiply, but they don’t have to be! They should be as easy as ABC.