6 Tips For Starting Your Guest List

Wedding guests raising a toast seated at the wedding table

Oh, the dreaded wedding guest list… Between long lost cousins three times removed and that actually kind of annoying friend you haven’t spoken to in months, even thinking about who to invite can be daunting.

Luckily for you, Bridebook has one of the simplest and most advanced Guest List Tools in the world – and it’s free! As soon as you’ve read these top tips, it’s time to get stuck in. Stressful guest list planning will be a thing of the past.

1. Keep an Eye on Your Budget

You might want everyone and their uncle to be invited to the celebration of the century (and we’re sure they’d want to come!), but you’ve got to think about your wedding budget. How many people can you actually afford? Remember, more guests means finding more space, more food, more favours… and more money. Stick to your budget. It’s as simple as this: if you know you can only afford to invite 100 people… Only invite 100 people!

2. Consider Your Wedding Location

When you choose where to get married, give some thought to your guest list. If your venue is located somewhere closer to home, then it’s more likely more people will be able to attend. If you’re thinking about getting married on the other side of the country (or in a different country altogether!), you’ll need to rethink who it’s realistic to expect at your big day. Will guests be able to afford to travel that far? Can they take the time off work? Will elderly family members still be able to make it? If you haven’t chosen your venue yet, this might be a factor in your decision. If you’re already set on a particular place, have a think about who will actually be able to make it before you invite the masses and potentially get let down.

3. Think About Capacity

After your budget, this is the next big one. At the end of the day, how many people will actually fit in your venue is a pretty hard and fast cap on the size of your guest list. If you’re still looking for your venue, you can use the filters on our Venue Search Tool to find venues that can house the capacity you want. When you visit potential venues and look round the space, double check what they say the capacity is – then reduce it. Remember, you won’t just have guests at your wedding. If the venue says you can fit up to 200 people in one space, consider what else you’ll require there. You might want space for a band, dining tables, etc. Take that into account when inviting guests. It’s all about finding a balance between a jam-packed crowd that can barely move and a half-empty venue that feels too big for a small number of guests.

4. Kids or No Kids?

It’s pretty likely that at least one of your friends or relatives will have children, so think carefully about whether you want to invite them or not. It’s absolutely fine if you don’t, but you do need to remember to politely mention it to the parents well in advance. It’s nothing to be nervous about – and they might even welcome the chance to have a proper night out! On the other hand, if you decide to have a child-friendly wedding, it does mean some extra work. Make sure to work out where children will sit (eg. do you want a kids’ table?) and whether there’ll be a separate kids’ menu. It’s always worth thinking about how you can keep them occupied throughout the day too. Keep them entertained and all will be well!

5. Make a Decision on Plus Ones

Oh, plus ones… The cause of endless headaches. After all, it’s obvious that if a close relative is part of the wedding party, their significant other will be welcome at the wedding. But what about that friend with a new partner you haven’t even met yet? When it comes to plus ones, our best advice is to decide your position and stick to it. For example, if a couple has been dating for over a year, the plus one is invited. No ifs, no buts, no exceptions – otherwise, you risk ending up in sticky situations when people realise they’ve been treated differently.

6. Assume Everyone Will Attend

We know, we know – the temptation to over-invite is real. But this isn’t a house party! There’s nothing worse than having too many people on your guest list and having to uninvite someone. By assuming everyone invited will attend, you leave it open for them to decide. You might not expect them to be able to attend (or they might never RSVP!) but they may actually be able to make it. If you’re still worried about numbers, why not create a backup guest list and order a separate set of invitations with a later RSVP date to send out if your numbers unexpectedly drop?

There you have it – our top tips for getting started with your guest list. Remember to head over to our Instagram, TikTok and YouTube channels for more tips, tricks and wedding inspiration. But for now, it’s time to sit down with your partner, figure out who to invite and start adding them to your Bridebook

You might also like…