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How to Make a Wedding Guest List

Aaron and Whitney Photography

Creating a wedding guest list will be fun they said...until you run into family drama and plus-one dilemmas. Follow the steps and tips below to make the process easier!

Create an Initial List

  1. Start by writing a list of all of the people you can't imagine your wedding day without. You and your fiancé can either do this together, or create separate lists and combine them later.

  2. Create a list with all of the people you'd consider inviting to your wedding. You can break it down into smaller, separate lists-- immediate family, extended family, friends, co-workers.

After taking the following tips into consideration, you'll be able to narrow your list down.

Consider your Parents

If either of your parents are paying for the wedding, ask them who they'd like to invite (sorry, it's the right thing to do!), but be sure to set boundaries.

Think About your Budget

The amount of people you invite to your wedding will greatly impact how much you'll end up spending. Keep that in mind when you're debating whether or not you should invite someone.

Set Plus-One Rules

This is one of the most challenging and controversial steps in making a guest list.

Does everyone get a plus one? Only those who are married or live together? Does the entire wedding party get plus ones? Beware of guests who will ask for a plus-one (or +3) even when they weren't given one. It will happen! Check out Rock Island Lake Club's blog for tips on plus-one etiquette.

Are you Inviting Kids?

Children can be a fun addition to weddings, but if you're hoping to have a kid-free wedding or if the space can't accommodate additional guests, make it clear from the start and stick to it!

Narrow it Down

Now that you know who you, your fiancé, and your parents want to invite, how many guests your budget will allow for, and which guests are being given plus-ones, finalize the guest list. This will also help narrow down your wedding venue options. You can look at wedding venues that have guest minimums and max capacities that align with your guest count.


Still unsure if you should invite a certain someone? Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is this person a family member?

  • Will it cause drama if they're not invited?

  • Have you spoken in the last year?

  • Do you or your fiancé work or study with them?

  • Do you see them outside of work or school?

  • Were you invited to their wedding?

  • Have you talked to them about the wedding?

  • Will they make your wedding fun?


The Bottom Line

It's YOUR wedding day, invite only those who you truly want to celebrate your big day with.


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