Guest List Prep Nuts & Bolts: Our Top Tips

Your guest list strategy is almost as important as determining your spending plan (budget), and closely tied into your spending plan.  In fact, if your guest list is out of control, so will be your spending plan. The secret is to manage it from the start.

Your guest list will be made up of the number of family and friends that corresponds with the intimacy of the wedding, and is consistent with your wedding spending plan.  It is most traditionally comprised of half guests from the bride’s side and half from the groom’s; however, this can vary for many reasons. 

There are certain “must-invites” without exception:  the live-in partner, fiancé(é), or spouse of an invited guest – even if you have never met him/her;  the person who performs the ceremony and his/her spouse;  the parents of the ringbearers or flowergirls.   It is nice to include the parents of the bridesmaids, but generally only when the bride knows the parents well; also nice but not necessary are any mentors, advisers or counselors who may not be close to the bride and groom, but have been an important part of their lives.

It is never acceptable to invite certain guests to the ceremony and not the reception based on budget or space limitations (the exception is when you have an elopement and come to host a reception for all who did not attend the elopement).  Here are my top tips I tell clients to remember:

1)  It is your wedding.  You do not have to invite all of your parent’s colleagues, your third cousins and allow them to take priority over your own close friends and family when having to make a choice with your numbers.  Which leads me to the second and most important thing to remember:

2)  You will have to make choices along the way before the invitations go out.  You will most likely have your ideal list and then have to pare it down based on space or spending plan restrictions.  Knowing the above rules of etiquette on the “must-invites” vs. “would-be-nice-to-invites” will help make edits.

We specialize in helping our clients create guest lists, finding the perfect wedding invitation stationers and even keeping track of those RSVPs.  To discuss your planning needs, give us a shout out!


About the author: Susie Tell

CEO and Founder of Tahoe Inspired Susie Tell brings a wealth of education, travel , life experience as well as years of professional expertise producing weddings, private events, fundraisers, galas, golf tournaments and more. Her passion for life is evident when one meets Susie and this enthusiasm and joy translates to events that are alive with soulful detail and energy.

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