Nearly to Newly Engaged: Assembling Your Guest List

Another Wednesday, another wedding post.  Yippee!  Sorry this post is so late in the day but we have had quite the problems with our house the past few days!  Our washing machine decided it no longer wanted to work and held a bunch of water… while there was still clothes in it.  Then our main sewer line decided to back up [let me tell you how disgusting that smells] so we had to have Roto Rooter come out at 11 p.m. last night to clean it out so we could use water again.  This week is also the week we decided to tear the carpet up in our living room and lay down laminate flooring.  Talk about a killer to the ol’ bank account!

Anyway – that’s not why were here today – I can bitch about our house problems later!  Tonight’s post is all about assembling a guest list.  And I promise this won’t be as lengthy as the past couple of Wedding Wednesday posts!


The wedding guest list.  I truly believe this was one of the hardest parts of planning our wedding.  I have a very large family and it’s somewhat untraditional because I grew up knowing many of my second and third cousins, many of whom have children of their own now or are married.  When you add that all up, I had a guest list that was over 250 people – and that only included family and a few family friends.  That number did not include my friends and coworkers.  My husbands family is quite small but has quite a few young children.  While his family is small, he made up for it by inviting many childhood friends, their parents and quite a few clients.  What does this all mean?  Our initial guest list came out to close 500 people. Uff da!

That’s step one.  If your list is within a guest “budget” that you are OK with, then no need to move one!  If it’s not, I suggest you start making a list of priority for step two.  Start with people that need to be on your must-have: parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and close friends.  Once you have that list formulated, move onto the next set, those you knew you would always invite: extended family [great aunts and uncles, cousins], good friends, coworkers.  Next is your final list – those that you would love to come but maybe you don’t see them as much as you would like: childhood or college friends, second or third cousins, coworkers, clients, etc.  This should help you identify those people you really, really want at your wedding.  But I’ll warn you – it’s not an easy process… so we took a different route.

Now this may bother some people, but I was 100% happy with my decision.  We decided we didn’t want children at our wedding or reception, save for the kids that were part of our “immediate” family [niece, nephew, cousins from the hubby’s side]  Other than those 8 children, we requested no other children come.  Once I made this decision, my family’s guest count went from more than 250 down to approximately 180.  Yes – that’s 70 people!  And our cut-off for kids was age 21.  Not only did this help cut down on underage drinking, it allowed parents a chance to have a night out where they could cut loose.  This also ensured we didn’t have kids crying or running up and down the aisle during the ceremony.

Those are my steps to try to help you start assembling your guest list.  Remember, you can always change your guest list.  I can pretty much guarantee that there will be people on your list that you’ll end up taking off when it’s time to send out your invitations.  I can also pretty much guarantee that there are additional people that you will want to add – especially if you plan on having a longer engagement.  Remember not to make invite commitments to people, this includes Save the Dates – if you are on the fence about inviting someone wait to send a Save the Date because you can always decide when it is time to send your invites.

The main thing to remember, and I will continue to stress this in every wedding post – this is your day and you make it as intimate or large as you want.  People will understand if you are working within a small budget or if you have visions for a wedding that can only be achieved by a certain number of guests.  My last piece of advice is to shoot a little high if guest list takes precedence over other factors [venue, budget, etc.] – that way you are able find a space that can hold all of the people you want there to celebrate with you.

How did you handle assembling your guest list?  Was it a hard or easy process?  Did you have to deal with parents or family who requested additional people be invited?



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