Wedding Guest List Tips

Tips for Planning a Guest List Full of Love & Support

For many couples, narrowing down a wedding guest list can be a challenge. On your wedding day, you want to be surrounded by people who love and support you and your partner. However, there can be significant outside pressure to invite people you don’t want to have there.

Too often, couples have family members who don’t support their union, especially LGBTQ+ couples, multicultural families or anyone with complicated familial relationships.

How do you only invite people who support your relationship? Follow these tips for planning the ultimate loving and supportive guest list for your special day. 

1. Make Lists

Start simple by sitting down with your partner and making a list of potential guests. You could make your lists separately and come together to compare and contrast them.

2. Consider Budget

Consider your budget before you finalize the guest list. Knowing your budget can help you make smart decisions around your guest list. If there are people you’re on the fence about inviting, budgetary restrictions can give you an idea of how many “maybes” should just be cut.

3. The Chosen Ones

Picture your wedding day and think about who you envision being present. Who has supported your relationship from day one? Who would stand by your side in any conflict? Who has been understanding and inviting both to you and your future spouse?

These are the people who get the invite. Anyone who has shown unconditional love for you before your wedding day will bring the positivity you want to the ceremony.

4. Wedding Size

Traditional weddings tend to be big, with couples feeling obligated to invite their whole extended families. However, more and more couples are opting for smaller guest lists. With microweddings becoming quite popular during and post-pandemic, don’t be afraid to go small to limit it to just your nearest and dearest.

5. Hard-Pass List

If there are people in your life or your partner’s life who don’t support your union, don’t invite them to your wedding. Full stop.

Many couples receive guest-list pressure from their parents or relatives, particularly if those family members are footing the bill. Don’t be afraid to openly communicate how it would make you feel by having that negative person present.

6. Plus Ones

Etiquette-wise, you should budget out for a plus-one for all of your married guests to bring their spouses. Similarly, any couples who are committed (i.e. engaged, living together or have been dating for more than a year) should receive a plus-one.

Extending a plus-one to guests who may be traveling solo and would otherwise not know anyone else at the wedding (besides you of course, but you’ll be slightly busy!) is encouraged.

Anything beyond these scenarios would be considered bonus, and should only be if your budget and venue space allow.

7. Color Code Everything

Using systems like color coding can save you so much time during the planning process. Mark definite guests in green, maybes in yellow, and hard passes in red. This will help you keep track of your decision process and avoid second guessing yourself later.

Ultimately, Defend Your Decisions

Planning a wedding can become overwhelming with so many decisions that need to be made. Ultimately, your wedding day should make you happy. If anyone gives you grief, stand firm in the decisions you and your partner made together. Be clear and direct on your invitations about your rules. Anyone who truly loves you will support your decisions.

Photography by Lemonade Photography from Niko and Drew’s Candlelit Circle Ceremony in the Woods

Written by Cora Gold: Cora is the Editor-in-Chief of women’s lifestyle magazine, Revivalist. She has a passion for writing about style, beauty and weddings. Connect with Cora on LinkedIn

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