How to Create Your Wedding Guest List
Your wedding day is one of the most special moments in your life. It’s a time when you and your partner can celebrate a new chapter in your lives with all the important people who have supported you individually and as a couple. But where do you draw the line on who is invited? We’ve pulled together guidelines to address each major group in your life:
The easiest way to build your guest list is by starting with those family members you have the strongest relationship with and then moving backwards based on degrees of separation from you and your partner. Typically, this starts with your immediate family – siblings and their spouses, your parents and your grandparents – then to your aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. However, all families are different, so if your relationships with your second cousins are stronger than you are with your first cousins, it may make more sense for you to follow your personal bonds than your family tree. The only rule of thumb we recommend keeping in mind is the “all or nothing” rule – if you invite one aunt then you most likely need to invite all your aunts.
Your friends can come from various stages of your life – childhood, college, friends from different places you’ve lived, friends you’ve met as a couple and more – but we recommend considering all your friends as just that, friends. Don’t feel pressured to invite someone you haven’t spoken to in years because she was your best friend growing up and don’t immediately rule out a friend you just met because you moved to a new town. This is a group that is best assessed on current relationship as well as overall history. Remember, your guest list is just a document with names until you start sending invitations, so don’t get too stressed by who you add later on or decide to remove.
The age-old question of the wedding guest age requirement. Like everything else in your wedding, this is a decision you and your partner must decide based on what works best for you. If you have children of your own, it could be great for them to have friends their same age to hang out with during the wedding. It’s also common to not include young kids or to have an adults-only wedding. Whatever you decide, make sure to decide this early on so you can include this major detail in your wedding information and communicate this to any guests who will need to find a sitter.
Most adults spend more time with their coworkers than they do their partner, family or friends, so it’s understandable to wonder who you should invite from work to attend your wedding. It’s common practice to invite a coworker that you associate with outside of the office to your wedding, but everyone else in this group should be considered with the “all or nothing” rule to avoid office politics. Unfortunately, excluding someone from your team or a department you associate closely with can cause career-related tensions for you, so consider the environment in which you work and decide which approach makes the most sense for you professionally and personally.
Do you have workout friends that you catch up with every week? Or maybe a neighbor you’ve lived across from for years? The quickest way to decide if you should include someone on your guest list is whether or not you know their last name. It may seem silly, but just because you know exactly when your next-door neighbor’s dog needs to go outside doesn’t mean you’re actually close friends.
Couples Whose Weddings You’ve Attended
If a couple whose wedding you attended does not fall into one of the above categories, you can take comfort in knowing you are not obligated to invite them. While reciprocating an invitation to your wedding is a thoughtful gesture, keep in mind that this means added expenses for you and that couple. If this is an uncomfortable decision to tackle, consider keeping these couples on a separate list that you can reference later on if more spots on your guest list open up.
Plus ones can be a tricky group to navigate. Do you give all your close family and friends plus ones? Do you only invite plus ones that you’ve personally met and liked? Do you put a hard rule down of no plus ones? Ultimately, there is no clear right or wrong answer, but a helpful planning trick is to only allow plus ones to the wedding guests who you feel would appreciate the extra invitation and assess where additional plus ones can be added after you have an accurate understanding of your headcount.
Friends of Your Parents/In-Laws
If you’ve ever attended a pre-wedding related event before, you know that there are multiple groups, like your parents’ friends, who want to join in the celebration of your upcoming nuptials. This could range from family friends who you’ve known since birth to individuals you’ve barely met in passing, but allowing your parents and in-laws to contribute to the guest list is a common courtesy most couples are expected to uphold – especially if you are receiving financial support from either group. Depending on your budget and vision for the wedding, make sure to set ground rules with your parents/in-laws before they create their list to help eliminate any unnecessary tension, and be sure to work together to finalize this portion of the guest list.
Building out a realistic wedding guest list may take time, but establishing this early on helps properly prepare you to start your wedding planning like deciding your wedding venue. As the idyllic Savannah Wedding Venue, The Mackey House serves as the perfect space for intimate weddings, large receptions, and everything in between. To come see our venue for yourself, schedule a walk-through with us by contacting us today.