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How to Narrow Down Your Wedding Guest List  

Has your wedding guest list got a little out-of-control and you are now inviting everyone you’ve ever met? Narrowing down your guest list can be one of the most challenging tasks of planning your wedding, but it’s essential to spend time doing this to ensure your wedding stays within your budget and venue capacity. 

While I can’t tell you who to invite (and more importantly who not to invite), I will be sharing with you my top 5 helpful tips to guide you through the process of navigating your guest list.

1. Quality Over Quantity

It's essential to prioritise who you want to share your special day with. Ask yourself, "Would I like to spend my wedding day talking to this person?" If your answer is a hesitant ‘maybe’ then consider politely not inviting this person. Other questions worth asking yourself "Do they make me happy?" or "Would I go for dinner or a drink with this person?"

You want to spend this momentous occasion with your closest friends and family and those who are truly important to you. 

2. Consider Catering

Keep in mind that each guest will add to your overall cost of catering as you usually pay per head for your wedding breakfast. If you want to stay within your wedding budget then you need to be realistic with how many guests you can invite. Catering will often be a significant portion of your overall wedding budget so consider how many guests you can comfortably feed without compromising on the quality of the catering and service.

3. Child Free Option 

While it's entirely up to you whether you want to include children at your wedding, opting for a child-free celebration can help keep costs down. This can also create a sophisticated atmosphere if you want this style of wedding. Children can undoubtedly bring a delightful energy to your event, however, this can drastically add to your guest list numbers especially when you might be at that age when all to your friends have children. It is fine to invite children that are family only too, if that helps.

4. Be Strategic with Plus-Ones

It’s not obligatory to offer a plus-one with every wedding invitation. To keep your guest numbers down, consider limiting plus-ones to only established couples or those whom you personally know. If this is your decision be firm with those that might ask are you sure they can't bring a date!

5. Clear Communication

Once you have finalised your guest list, be firm and stick to it. If you do opt for small wedding and worry you might hurt people then you could let family or friends know if they will not be receiving an invite. You can send them a personalised card or message to explain that while you would love to celebrate with everyone, you have had to make some tough decisions due to budget and venue constraints and therefore you can’t invite everyone you would have liked to. Most of your guests upon receiving this will understand and respect your decision.

At the end of the day your wedding should include those people who mean the most to you - so don’t feel pressured to invite extended family or people you have never met before. You can still respect family traditions but through honest and open communications you can focus on surrounding yourself with those who genuinely care about you and your partner. Caveat here: I do know that is easier said than done when families get involved and this may give a little when it is family that are footing the bill. But you can talk it through and perhaps come to comprise on certain distant relatives or family/ parents friends as guests.

Narrowing down your guest list might take a while but once you have finalised who you are inviting, you will feel a weight lifted off your shoulders and you can get stuck into the next stages of planning your wedding like choosing your venue and caterers. 

If you need guidance from an expert wedding planner, get in touch with me here to see how I can support you through every stage of your wedding planning journey. 

Photo credit: D&J Wedding Photography


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