How to make guest list that fits with your perfect wedding day

Planning your wedding is supposed to be one of the happiest times of your life, but the reality is that it causes so many couples oodles of stress and worry.

And this is not surprising given the pressure so many couples put on themselves to create “the perfect” day whilst sticking to a budget and keeping everyone happy.

So first things first – how do you work out your guest list so that it fits with your idea of your perfect wedding day as well as working within your budget?

The secret to making this process simple starts with two basic principles – PLAN and MAKE RULES.

Huh???, I hear you say!!

The PLAN part kicks off the process and involves you and your partner sitting down to figure out exactly what you want your wedding day to look like.

It is important at this time to make sure that your budget roughly aligns with this vision – no point planning on having a 200 person extravaganza if you have a budget of $5,000 (I exaggerate, but you get the idea!!!)

Next, the MAKE RULES part involves deciding on some basic guidelines that you will follow to construct your guest list, for example:

* No work colleagues that you don’t socialise with;

* No second generation family,

* Only guests that you have seen in the past 12mths,

* No children, etc….

or whatever it is that fits with you.

These are obviously not hard and fast rules, but it does allow you to make decisions based on numbers rather than a personal selection.

Once you have established your plan and created your rules, the simplest way to start is to make a table with 4 columns, labelled:

* “Must Have There”

* “Would Love There”

* “Would Be Nice” and

* “No” (or something similar)

Then work your way through everyone you know and put them in a column.

At the end of this process, have a look how the number of guests in your “Must Have There” column compares to the number of guests that roughly fit into your budget.

In an ideal world, these numbers will match. However, if they don’t (and they probably won’t!!), you have a few options…

Too many in your “Must Have There” list?

Now go through and put this list of people into 3 groups (from “couldn’t have my wedding without you there” -> “I would love you there but..”)

Not enough in your “Must Have There” list?

a) Do you really need to add more??? If not, you may be able to use any extra money elsewhere in your day or save it for the honeymoon / house / etc.

b) If you need to have more guests to meet a minimum number for venue hire or something similar, go to your “Would Love You There” list and put this group of people into 3 groups. This may give you an idea of who you can add into your “Must Have There” list to meet your minimum numbers.

The best advice we can give you is to have those awkward conversations with parents, people close to you who are not invited, or those that cannot bring their children or “Plus 1’s”, and do it early on.

Yes, it will be a tricky conversation to have but being open and upfront will hopefully minimise any issues down the track that arise from this. ​

Guest lists can cause enormous headaches for some couples, but by working with a simple system to create your list can make the process simpler.

Keep an eye out for our next month’s blog which will provide you with some handy hints for inviting your guests, including some useful tips for your invitations.

Good luck! xx

By the way, if you are unsure exactly what you want from your day or don’t know how to work out costs, guest numbers, etc, get in touch ( and we can arrange to chat through all of this to get you on your way to plan your perfect wedding day.

Beautiful images captured by:-
Shoshana Kruger Photography
THE DAY Weddings

Please send us an enquiry for the credits to specific photos.