Four Keys to Creating Your Wedding Guest List


After the engagement, the first thing couples should do is to create their wedding guest list. Family and friends are key components for a couples’ big day, so it’s important to define who you want to be there. Because the budget usually reflects cost-per-head, it’s important to have an estimate on the number of potential guests. Plus, adjusting the size of your guest list is on of the fastest ways to reduce costs. A slight change in the number of guests can have a big effect on the budget.


1. Keep an updated contact list. Rather than scrambling to collect names and addresses at one time, work on it gradually. Texting with Aunt Sue? Confirm her address. Lunch with Mom? Get the correct spelling your cousin’s wife’s name. You’ll thank yourself later.


2. Create a spreadsheet to keep track of names and addresses. Use tabs to divide your spreadsheet by each side of the couple. Ensure that there are no duplicates by working on your guest list together. You can utilize Google Docs or Dropbox to access your spreadsheets on-the-go.


3. Ask key family members to provide their must-invite list. This ensures that there are no surprises later. But set expectations early by providing them with a set number of guests and offering examples of who you will be inviting.


4. Keep track of children and their ages. Kids meals are charged differently, by age, and will impact the budget differently. For example, children 3 and under usually eat free, while four- to 12-year olds are offered kids meals. Any children, from ages 13 to 21, will be charged for an adult entrée. However, they shouldn’t be included in the per-head alcohol costs.  For various reasons (budgetary or otherwise), many couple’s are deciding to not invite children to their event.

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