How To Decide On Your Wedding Guest List

January 22, 2020

Wedding Planning Tips

I’m diving straight back into wedding content today so, if you’re newly engaged, this is a post you won’t want to miss!

Before we get into it, make sure you’ve caught up on my recent wedding planning posts, which you’ll find here and here. For more wedding content, you can also follow Rachel Dalton Weddings on Instagram for daily planning inspiration.

OK, onto today’s post and the next task on our planning agenda: guest lists. This is one of the first things that should be on your to-do list BUT one that’s often easier said than done.

Trust me when I say I UNDERSTAND what a tricky task this can be. In this post you’ll find some helpful tips to help you write a guest list that’s perfect for your big day.

How To Write a Wedding Guest List | The Ivory Book by Rachel Dalton Weddings

There’s No Right or Wrong

As with many elements of wedding planning, when it comes to guest lists, there’s not a one size fits all approach. Your guest list could have 2, 20 or 200 names on it – the most important thing is that it’s you and your fiancé’s choice.

When you first get engaged, take a moment to visualise your day together before you start discussing your guest list. Are you both wanting a big, traditional day, or do you envisage an intimate, laid back affair? Maybe you’d prefer to do things just the two of you! Establish your wedding style and what you are both comfortable with, then work from there.

Dealing with Family Opinions

Sometimes it can feel like everyone and their dog has an opinion on who to invite to your wedding. The important thing is not to feel pressured by your parents/friends/very-distant-and-probably-not-invited uncle and stick to your gut.

Remind your family that, as grateful as you are for their input, your wedding day choices are ultimately up to you and your fiancé. If a family member is contributing financially towards your wedding, it’s sometimes courteous to include a few of their guest list suggestions – however don’t feel forced to let this influence your day.

To Plus One, or not to Plus One

The parameters for plus one’s are entirely up to you. Typically, you would include a plus one on the invitation if a guest is married or in a long-term relationship. Pippa Middleton famously enforced a ‘no bling, no bring’ policy at her 2017 wedding – whereby guests were asked to fly solo unless they were married or engaged. This is always an option if you’re looking to keep numbers down!

Ultimately, I’d make a call on plus one’s based on how well you know the guest and their partner, and how long the couple have been together. If you’ve got a few single friends, pop them together on the same table. I guarantee they’ll all be having far too much fun to notice they’re lacking a plus one!

How To Write a Wedding Guest List | The Ivory Book by Rachel Dalton Weddings

Room for Little Ones?

I’m afraid this is another one that you’ll have to decide for yourself HOWEVER I can give you a few pros and cons to having children at your wedding. On the one hand, kids are adorable. Let’s face it, there’s nothing sweeter than a well-behaved flower girl following in awe as the bride is walking down the aisle. And don’t even get me started on the cute photo opportunities!

With that being said, children are unpredictable. A wedding day isn’t the most kid-friendly environment, so bear in mind that clumsiness and tiredness may come into play (we’ve all attended a ceremony with a crying baby, haven’t we!). If you do decide to invite children to your wedding, I would always recommend having a nanny on hand to entertain the children throughout the day – and make the day far more enjoyable for their parents!

Consider Having a Reserve Guest List

If your guest numbers are getting out of hand, consider drawing up an ‘overflow’ list of guests that you would like to invite if any guests decline your invitation. I’d always recommend this to massively over-inviting in the hope that some guests can’t make it!

Navigating an overflow list can be tricky. Make sure that you don’t send invitations in a way that will offend any guests – you don’t want anybody to know they’re on the ‘B’ list! The best way to do this is by including the same groups of friends on the same lists.

Draw the Line Somewhere

Remember that, when it comes to your guest list, you have to draw the line somewhere. Sometimes it’s easiest to give a blanket rule for where to draw that line (e.g. ‘family up to first cousins’ or ‘uni friends but not work friends’) but don’t feel like you need to apply a rule – or make this the same for both sides of your family.

The most important thing is that you invite all of the people who matter most to you and your fiancé. And once you’ve settled on a guest list, you can enjoy all of the fun things that wedding planning has to offer!

For more wedding planning advice, get in touch via the Rachel Dalton Weddings website.

How To Write a Wedding Guest List | The Ivory Book by Rachel Dalton Weddings