• JHay | Creative

Wedding Guest List

Good afternoon lovelies!

Guest lists, the most dreaded and frustrating part of wedding planning. It can be a very difficult and a very tedious task; so what do you need to consider? There are various wedding guest list etiquette points that can make or break family and friends relationships.

The first thing my fiancé and I did was look over our wedding budget, having already booked the fabulous Rosewood Hotel as our venue, we then needed to consider how many people we could realistically afford to cater for. Most venues, (if you are using in-house catering), often charge per head. Thus the less guests the less cost. Although always ask your venue as some per head charges drop in price with the more people you have attending.

For Example: 40-80 people charges at £150per head, 90 - 200+ people £120per head

(Note: these are not Rosewood prices, nor are they from any venue in particular. This is an example to show how some venues may work their pricing, so always ask.)

My fiancé and I found that we could only cater to 170 people maximum, now to some this is a very large number, however we both have relatively large families that will expect to be at our big day. Of course there are then friends to think about.

When creating your guest list jot down these points that will help you to create the best guest list:

1. Start with your direct family

- Mother, Father, sister(s), brother(s), first Aunts and Uncles & Grandparents

2. Who from your family and friends will be Bridesmaids, Groomsmen/Ushers, pageboys and flower girls? Write their names on the list.

3. Will your siblings bring partners/ date? If yes add them, if you are unsure wait until you have finished points 4-6.

4. Will you be having children at the wedding? In a separate column write down children’s names only.

- Jot down yes, no or unsure (I will talk about this in more detail below)

5. Write down the rest of your distant family/ family (parents) friends that you want to invite.

6. Write down your friends you would like to invite and add any partners they may have.

Now by this point you may have a very big list that can look quite daunting but not to fear! The first way to narrow down the numbers:


Take your friends list and think about those who have partners, a good question to ask your self is do I know their boyfriend/girlfriend? and How long have they been together? This can help as you would not want someone there who you do not know as it may be a risk to your big day, so cut out the partners that you don't know but only invite the friend. If they have only been dating a short period, again cut the partner out. Of those friends who your know their partners and they have been together a long while, I would suggest inviting them together.

The best way to deal with this situation is by politely inviting only the friend but say that there partner is welcome to join the wedding for evening drinks once dinner has finished and the dancing has started. This way they are only there when the most important parts are over and it cuts the cost for food along with cutting the main guest list.


If your situation is similar to ours where many of your friends and family have young children, you really don't want to be rude and not invite them, but at the same time you may not have room to cater for them. What my fiancé and I decided on was to only invite direct family member children such as our aunt and uncles children; our little cousins. We have caped the starting age at 4 years old and over.

For those that have children who you would not be able to have (and lets face it, not exactly wanting at the wedding) when designing your invitations you can make a fun little note such as:

"As we want all our guests to enjoy the evening as much as we do, we have decided to make this affair and adults only occasion, so please do come along and let your hair down for an evening to drink, eat and be merry, lets party like it's 1965!"

By cutting down little ones, it means that you have room to invite more friends that you really want to attend. If you would like it to be a child friendly wedding, maybe go a little more personal and send the children their very own wedding invitation (Disney character invites?)


If your parents are contributing to the wedding (or if you are traditional and they paying for the wedding) they will expect to invite some of their friends to watch their son/daughter (you) get married. This can be a very difficult topic to handle, so it is important that it is handled delicately.

When writing your list allocate a specified number to your parents friends and speak with your parents and tell them that you would like to invite (insert number) of their own friends, given that you have only so many chairs to fill and you would like to be able to invite some of your closest friends and family to the big day. This way you will not get a list of over 30 people you do not know but you have kept it fair and allowed some of your parents friends to attend.

And finally FRIENDS:

If you have already whittled down enough guest number from the partners and children section amazing! If, however you are still a few numbers too many, cutting down friends is one of the hardest parts of the list.

The best, and really only way we found to cut friend numbers was to decide on the friends that we have not spoken to in years and who we felt we no longer knew very well. The friends that should be at the wedding are those that mean the most to you, those you went to university/collage with who you may not see much but still consider a good friend.

So that old year 6 friend who you haven’t spoken to in over 15 years, score them off the list as this will really cut down the numbers.

London, UK 

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