How to Make a Wedding Guest List

Updated: Apr 21

Aaron and Whitney Photography

Like most of us, you've probably had your wedding guest list planned out in your head years before you were even engaged. But now that the wedding planning has actually begun, you may be realizing that putting your guest list together is a bit more challenging than expected.

To make things a little easier, follow these steps to help you build your ideal guest list: and hopefully avoid any drama:

1. Make a list of the family members you'd like to invite, then a friends list, and lastly a coworkers list. You and your fiancé should each make your own categorized lists that will be combined later on.

2. 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.

3. Make sure you find a venue that has guest minimums and maximums that align with your guest count and your budget. Guest minimums at Bear Brook Valley range from 150 to 190

5. Set your plus-one rules. This is one of the most challenging parts of making your 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 +6) even when they weren't given one. It will happen! Check out Rock Island Lake Club's blog for tips on plus-one etiquette.

6. Make an A and B-list

Your A-list will consist of people you couldn't imagine your big day without-- close friends and family members. Your B-list will consist of people who you want at your wedding, but didn't make the cut for your A-list. If you receive regretful RSVPs, you can begin sending Save the Dates to people on your B-list, now that you have room for them.

Send the invites to your A-listers a few weeks early so you have time to send invitations to your B-list guests without it being too obvious that they're B-listers.

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?

Other things to note: Don't feel guilty if you don't want a kid-free wedding, just be sure to make it clear and stand your ground.

Don't invite someone just because you feel obligated to.

Create a spreadsheet for your guest list and use it for your RSVPs.

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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