Thinking about your wedding guest list may be a bit overwhelming! You have so many friends and family members that you love and want to be present but you also can only have so many guests at your wedding venue. Narrowing down your guest list can be hard but grab and pen and paper and keep reading to start making your guest list!
First, Determine How Many Guests Your Wedding Venue Will Hold
The first step is determining how many guests your venue will hold. Your venue will be able to get you that number. Once you have it, subtract yourself and your wedding party from that number. This will give you the number of guests that you can have.
Consider Your Budget
Now that you have the number of people your venue can hold, think about your wedding budget. Does this amount of people still accommodate your budget with food, drinks, favors, etc? Each additional person will come with a cost per head for food and drinks so even if your venue holds 500 people, you may only have the budget for 300 so you will want to plan accordingly.
Immediate Family Members
Next, start with your immediate family. These are your closest family members and are people who you won't want to miss your wedding. Start your list with the names of these people.
Spouses/Children of Wedding Party Members
You will more than likely be giving your wedding party members a plus 1! These are your closest friends and you will want them to have their spouses, significant others, and/or children present. Write down a plus 1 for each of your wedding party members and include in any children that they may have present as well (unless, of course, you're having a child free wedding).
Extended Family Members
Once your immediate family and wedding party member's plus 1's are on your list, the next step is to start thinking about any extended family members that you want to attend. Are you close to your aunts and uncles? Do you always love hanging out with your cousins? These are the people that you will want to put on your list next. The goal of this list is to include in your extended family that you really want present. If your mom really wants her 3rd cousin twice removed at the wedding but you've never met them or aren't close, don't add them to this list yet, we will get to them soon!
Now it's time to talk about your friends! We will first start with your mutual friends of you and your fiancé. Maybe there's a couple you always double date with. Maybe there is a friend that introduced you both. Maybe someone started out as your friend but has since become great friends with you both. These are the people who you will include on your list next. Don't forget to make sure you're giving people plus 1's here too!
Closest Friends To You and Your Fiancé
Now that mutual friends are taken care of, it's time to start talking about friends of yours and friends of your fiancé. Maybe you have a best friend who lives out of state who your fiancé hasn't met that you want to attend your wedding. Maybe your fiancé has some golf friends that they golf with every weekend that you may not really know. These are the people that you'll add to your list next.
Now it's time to count your guest list!
Everyone who is on your list at this point in time are your closest friends and family members. These are the people you spend the most time around and people who you'd miss if they were unable to attend your wedding. Count everyone up and compare the number to the total number of guests that will fit at your venue and budget. Hopefully at this point you have less guests than the total number your venue and budget will accommodate. If that's the case, keep reading to add additional guests! If you're already over your count, go through your list again to see if there is anyone you can remove or see if you can up your budget to allow for more guests.
Any Additional Family/Friends
Now that all your special people are added to you guest list, now it's time to add in other special people to fill the rest of your guest list. This is the time where you can add in your mom's 3rd cousin twice removed that you don't know or add in friends that you enjoy who may not be your best friends that made the cut before. Remember, you don't have to invite everyone! People know that weddings only hold so many people and they won't be offended if they're not invited.
Don't Forget Your Vendors
One other thing to consider are your vendors. Your vendors like your photographer, videographer, DJ, planner, etc will obviously be at your wedding and will need to eat at some point. You'll want to make sure they are included in the total tally so you're not over the fire code capacity of people that your venue allows. They will also need a place to eat. This can either be mixed in to your guest seating, a separate vendor table, or a space nearby where they can eat but still hear the action in case they need to jump into action.
Now Your Guest List Is Complete
You've made it to the end! Hopefully, now your guest list is complete or at least starting to take shape. Go pour yourself a glass of champagne and celebrate that you've completed this task!