Planning, Weddings

5 Steps To Building Your Ideal Guest List & Nailing It From The Start

When building your ideal guest list, there are often many people who you would love to invite. However, it can be hard to narrow that list down and avoid hurting feelings while navigating space constraints and both you and your significant others’ needs. Whether you choose to send invitations to immediate family or coworkers, it can be tough deciding who will make the final list. These 5 steps will help you build your ideal guest list effectively and help you stay stress-free!

Finalize your Venue

Although you may have a rough estimate of the numbers of guests you would like to invite before you find a venue, the size of your guest list will ultimately be dependent upon the capacity of your venue. In order to make sure everyone fits, be sure to ask your venue what the “comfortable” maximum capacity is for each space you plan to use. Note: this number will likely be lower than the “hard maximum” which the venue may have shared with you, but it is important to distinguish between what number will make your space feel tight, versus what will feel full but with room to breathe. No matter your event or wedding size—big or small—your final guest count will have to be under the capacity of the venue space, so once it has been decided, stick with it! Most importantly, once you finalize your headcount don’t send out Save The Dates to more people than can comfortably fit!

Categorize your List

When you think of the people you most want to celebrate with, who comes to mind first? As you start to make a list, write down all the names of your immediate family, extended family, close friends, coworkers, and all others you think would be a good addition to your celebration. After both you and your partner do this, come together and separate these names into two lists: A-list and B-list. Your A-List will be the people you cannot imagine your event without. These are the VIP’s of the guest list, who will get an invitation no matter what. Your B-list will consist of people you still care about, but that wouldn’t be a determining factor in the success of your party if they weren’t there. Making these two lists early on will make the trimming process much easier later on.

Communicate with Your Parents

While building you guest list, it is important to remember that this is your wedding or event! However, your parents will often want to invite their own friends and add a few additional guests to the list. Especially if you already have a full guest list and your parents are contributing financially to your celebration, some tension can be formed at this point. The best way to be both mindful of your parents’ wishes and inviting the guests you want, is to have an open conversation about it. Although it might sound corny, communication is key!

Decide Whether to Include Kids and Plus Ones

As you go about creating your list, you and your partner should decide on whether you’ll allow guests to bring kids or plus ones. Both of these groups, if excluded, will allow for more breathing room with your guest list. However, it can cause strain on parents and singles when they are not extended the extra invitation. A solution to this could be offering plus one’s to only the wedding party or only allowing kids above a certain age. Whatever you and your partner decide, do not feel pressured to include either group.

Trim Your Lists

Once you and your fiancé have determined your lists, talked with your parents, and decided your policy on kids and plus ones, it is time to combine your lists and figure out how to reach the total number your venue and budget will allow. Your A-list should automatically be on the final list, while you fill in the rest with your B-list. As you distinguish between different B-list guests make sure you are choosing people in your life that are not only a part of your life right now, but that you expect will be by your sides through your future as well!

As you go about creating your ideal guest list, remember that these family members and friends should be those who you cherish the most and that will be in your life for years to come. Do not be afraid to have two rounds of invitations! This can also ease stress by sending a conservative number of invitations first with the expectation that you may be sending a second batch later on. Most importantly, have fun creating this list and take the time to enjoy picturing all of your loved ones together in one room!

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