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Article: How To: Creating A Wedding Guest List

wedding guests throwing confetti on bride and groom

How To: Creating A Wedding Guest List

When it's time to start wedding planning, some things can become increasingly stressful faster than you'd realise, and one of those things is creating a wedding guest list. This is your guide to creating your guest list without all the stress and anxiety that comes with it.

When creating a wedding guest list, the most important thing is always to stay organized.

What type of wedding will you have?

The first question you must answer is what type of wedding you'll have. Will it be lavish with a lot of guests? Will it be small and intimate with only close family? Once you've decided on the vibe and venue, it creates a box to think inside and have a clearer idea of numbers.

Now that you'll have a vibe on what type of wedding you'll have, you've just created guidelines for who will be invited. You can start your list with groups of people and ask questions about what group they fall into:

The Mandatory List: Who is on your 'must have' list for people at your wedding? This list could be close family, chosen family, and best friends.

The Hopeful List: This list would cover the people you hope might come, such as cousins, aunties or uncles, semi-distant relatives, and people in your immediate friend circle that you see often.

The Peripheral List: This is a list of people that aren't in your immediate circle, close family, best friends, etc., that you may consider inviting to your wedding. This could cover workmates, high school friends, or similar people.

Moving forward, you'll need to match the type of wedding you'll be having with an expected number of guests. If it's small and intimate, you'll know immediately you have to slash the 'peripheral' list and stick to those that are 'mandatory' and maybe some that fall into your 'hopeful' list. 

As we discussed in your mandatory list, certain people have to be there. Your immediate family, wedding party, and close friends will now be the core of your guest list that you won't change. If, for example, you'll have room for 75 guests, and your mandatory guests take up 50 spots, you'll have a leftover pot of guests from your 'hopeful' and 'peripheral' lists that you're now going to cut down to 25 people. Applying this framework to your specific numbers and guest list will help you form the final head count you'll be having at your wedding.

Tips on planning out your guest list:

Be specific on how many people may come with your intended guests. Are you going only to invite them as an individual, or are they someone you know will bring a +1? If they've got kids, how many do they have, and how will that impact the final headcount? Answering these will help keep numbers specific.

An essential part of creating a wedding guest list is to stick to the numbers: what you plan for is what you'll expect to attend your wedding. You'll be budgeting for this, so be strict and specific.

When it comes to who to invite from either family, set a hard line to keep things in check. Are second cousins invited? Third cousins? The uncle's friend and their next-door neighbor? I know these may seem like silly things to question, but when it comes to wedding planning and guest lists, things can get out of hand so fast. Be specific, it's immediate family only, for example, and if you plan with that in mind, it won't spiral out of control.

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