How to draw up a guest list for your wedding ?

Spread the Love

You have said yes, you have set a date, now you have to tell everyone and launch the invitations ! But first, I give you some advice on how to draw up a guest list for your wedding ! Who has never imagined the list of people you would absolutely like to invite to your wedding well before you have met the chosen one? However, the elaboration of the guest list for your wedding can be complicated when you are two. There are 3 orders to respect: DO NOT feel guilty, DO NOT IMPOSE, and DO AS YOU WISH.

Some concrete examples of questions you are bound to ask yourself:

“We promised each other that we would invite each other to our respective weddings at school”
“Should I invite my cousin’s new boyfriend too?”
“I know these two don’t get along at all, but can’t I choose to invite just one?”
“He invited me to his wedding, should I invite him?”
“Why do you want to invite your aunt who you never see?”
“Everyone knows I’m getting married at work, should I invite my colleagues?”
“If I invite him, he’ll be all alone, he doesn’t know anyone…”

Lay the foundations before you start

First of all, determine your budget. Indeed, the number of guests will influence the cost of your wedding. The more guests you have, the bigger the room you will need and the more expensive the caterer will be. I remind you that the reception venue and the caterer represent about 50% of the total cost of the wedding.

Next, agree on whether you want a large wedding or a small wedding (less than 50 people). This is entirely up to you. Do you want to be surrounded by a lot of people for your big day or do you want a more intimate atmosphere?

Finally, determine a maximum number of guests that will serve as a reference throughout the elaboration of your guest list for your wedding.

Draw up several guest lists for your wedding!

This part seems essential to me. Instead of preparing it together, each of you should prepare a list of who you would like to invite to your wedding. For each one, write down your own family, your own friends, colleagues, acquaintances and finally your common friends. Then, put together your lists and remove the duplicates. You have passed a first step! Well done. I’ll let you argue among yourselves if you don’t agree on certain guests.

But my advice is the following: don’t forget that sometimes you have to compromise, especially with family and friends who are very close to each other. On the big day you will have already forgotten that they are present and your other half will be grateful.

Traditionally, it is the parents of the bride and groom who pay for the wedding. However, this tradition has been left behind and more and more brides and grooms are taking care of most of the financing of their wedding. This allows them to have more control over the guest list for their wedding. On the other hand, if you only want, you can propose to your respective parents to elaborate a small list of people they would like to invite to your wedding.

You still have 500 people on your final list? No problem, you can now sort your guests by category:

The “essentials”: Your close family (parents, brothers and sisters, grandparents), your close friends…
The “connected”: The +1, i.e. the partners of your family, your close friends
The “desired”: More distant family, colleagues, acquaintances

Some rules to know

To answer the questions in the introduction, I think it is necessary to share with you some “rules” that are generally applied to create a guest list.

Rule 1:

Don’t forget yourself in your wedding guest list because when you will count the number of meals at the caterer you will not have to plan for 120 guests if you are actually 122

Rule 2:

You don’t have to invite your family partners and non-close friends. In particular, if you have never met the person

Rule 3:

Invite those who have already invited you to their wedding. Unless you haven’t spoken in 10 years of course.

Rule 4:

For non-close friends, take a guess if you haven’t spoken in over a year, drop it

Rule 5:

For colleagues, invite only those you are in contact with on the outside, no need to feel like a meeting on the day.

Rule 6:

If two people don’t get along at all, throw out both invitations. One of them may back out despite the happy event, and at best make sure to put them on opposite sides of your seating chart.

Rule 7:

The promise of inviting each other to your respective weddings in the future when you are young may no longer apply, refer to rule 4.


Rule 8:

Are you embarrassed to invite someone you don’t know? If this person is important to you, suggest that they invite their partner or another person they know.

Rule 9:

Invite your aunt who you don’t see anymore or who lives on the other side of the country, it’s not mandatory. But if it’s your other half’s wish, try to compromise.

Rule 10:

Don’t feel guilty about not being able to invite everyone, and accept that you can offend the people who won’t be invited. In the best case scenario, you’ll have a post-wedding party with everyone else!

Bonus rule:

Don’t invite someone just for the ceremony and/or the vin d’honneur if that person lives far from the wedding venue. He’s not going to travel just for 2.5 hours and you know it… He might be offended.

What about the children on the wedding guest list

There are two schools of thought: those who cannot imagine a wedding without children and those who do not want to invite them for safety reasons or who want to take full advantage of the adults! It’s up to you to see what you want for your wedding. If you don’t want to invite children, don’t write on your invitation “PS: No children!” But contact the families by phone to indicate your wish by explaining that you want to enjoy them completely. Or if not, plan to have a babysitter on site to handle the children on the day.

Divide your guests according to the time of the wedding!

Another solution to draw up your guest list for your wedding: Divide them up! It’s true that this is not a dream come true. But depending on your budget or the capacity of the venue you can’t accommodate everyone at the reception.

Some solutions:

Civil ceremony at the town hall: Even if it takes place on a different day from your D-day, it is not necessary to invite everyone to the reception. In general, the wedding halls of the town halls are quite small and your guests may be waiting in front of the door or worse in front of the town hall! My advice: surround yourself with your close family and friends.

Religious or secular ceremony: If you have planned another ceremony than the town hall, this is the opportunity to invite everyone! In general, this ceremony lasts longer than the civil ceremony and it is of course a source of emotion because it is the moment when you exchange your vows in front of your entourage.

Vin d’honneur: Or the post-ceremony cocktail party! This is the occasion to celebrate and toast with your family, friends, acquaintances and colleagues! If you can’t invite everyone to the dinner, offer small snacks and a small cocktail in your honor before the reception with all the people present at the ceremony!

Reception: This is up to you and your budget! Remember that the reception is the biggest expense in the total cost of a wedding. My advice: Surround yourself with your family and close friends and then calculate if you can add other people to the dinner!

Evening : You will say to me that it is particular to invite people just to the evening of the wedding after the reception dinner ? And yet it is done more and more! In any case, in my region (I live in La Rochelle) it is very frequent. We tell some people to come and eat a piece of cake and stay for the dance party! On the other hand, if your wedding does not take place in your home town, there is little chance that your guests will come!

The day after: For those who have planned a buffet or a brunch the day after, (great idea already). It’s a good opportunity to debrief the day before and also to have more hands for the un-installation if it’s not already done :). Suggest to your close friends and family to join you the next day, just to prolong the happy event!

Draw up your wedding guest list and update it on a file!

You can download the Excel file to create your wedding guest list. With this file you will be able to add your guests, with the number of adults, children, postal and email addresses. The first page summarizes your guest list in a few key figures: number of adults, children, number of people per moment of the wedding, distribution of the category of guests (Family, friends, acquaintances, colleagues…) and also the distribution of the guests of the groom and the bride.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.