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Who Should Be On Your Wedding Guest List?

There are certain people that absolutely must be on your wedding guest list. But there are also certain people who must go.

For our third edition of “Just Engaged…Now What?”, we are breaking down guest lists. Creating your guest list is a major first step in your wedding planning. But it becomes slightly awkward when deciding who should stay and who should get the boot. After all, the last thing you want to do is hurt anyone’s feelings. When you have your friends, your fiancés friends, and then all of your parent’s friends and family in the mix, it becomes a lot to juggle. Visions is ready to help you through the struggle.

guest list

There are a couple of helpful hints to keep in mind when beginning your guest list.

  • Pick your venue Your wedding venue is going to determine a huge part of your guest list. When you pick your venue you need to then determine how much it is going to cost per person to be there. Expensive and luxurious venues are going to be more expensive than smaller venues even if you have the same amount of people.
  • Create an A, B, C List – For lack of a better term, you need to decide who is most important. We recommend creating 3 tiers. Essential family should be on your A List obviously. Then your B List might consist of close friends and extended family. Then comes the C list, or the “maybe, maybe not list”, that means extras – such as business partners or colleagues. This way you have many people to pick and pull from and a wide variety of options.
  • The traditional rule – Roughly only 80% of those invited will actually attend – but don’t put all your eggs in that basket! It doesn’t always work out like that. So invite exactly the number you decide on, and if people RSVP saying they wont be able to attend, then you can start inviting those extras.
  • Break up percentages – Traditionally, the rule was that the bride and groom get 50% of the guest list, and then 25% goes to the brides parents and the last 25% to the grooms. But nowadays, times have changed. These days the bride and the groom are usually the ones paying for the wedding, which means they should have more of a say! We recommend giving yourself as much as a percentage as you need and then giving whatever is left to your parents. Another thing to keep in mind, is if you don’t have enough people to fill up your percent of the list, there is nothing wrong with handing over some extra to your groom or to the parents! (Parents always have an endless list, right?)
  • Plus One? – This is a huge decision to make. If you choose to include a plus one, then your 50% of the guest list suddenly turns to 25%. But nowadays, most weddings are plus one included, so it is definitely something to consider.
  • Chop it down if necessary – After you create your tiers and decide on a plus one, if you are over your 50% limit and not willing to increase your budget, start cutting people from the bottom. Ask yourself this: “Have I talked to this person consistently throughout the past year?” For help cutting down, because we know its hard, we created a very helpful graph for you to make it very black and white!
  • Get organized using a collaborative system – As a Visions bride, you will be given the opportunity of using our beloved wedding workspace to make organizing your guest list simplified and clean. Plus, your planner will be on the other side communicating with you and helping you pull everything together. Our wedding workspace is not only compatible with Excel but you can also share the list and download your final list at the end of wedding planning. It also has two different templates to use, by the party, or by individual. Using any sort of organization website will make your guest list stresses seem more put together.

guest list aisle planner

  • Finalize it – 9 months before your wedding, you need to cut the cords with your guest list. Make it official. No changes! If you keep it going any longer than this, you are going to be second guessing yourself, adding unnecessary people, and increasing your budget.

I know, I know, it’s easier said than done. But this checklist will make your wedding guest list stresses just that much easier. Just remember, budget yourself, decide who is absolutely necessary, and finalize it before things get expensive! Click on the photo below to get your free checklist and stay on track:

guest list checklist button

If you are looking for any assistance in this area, or any other areas of your wedding planning or wedding planning budget, we would love to help. Contact Visions today!

About Jenée Strickland

Visions Event Studio specializes in luxury events, including proposals and couture weddings. Jenée Strickland, owner, and lead visionnaire, has been an integral part of hundreds of weddings and proposals. Her job is a privilege; her work is a passion.

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