There are so many people you can’t imagine your wedding day without, but how in the world do you even get started building your guest list? Don’t worry, we’re going to walk you through it!

When should we start?

You’ll want to put together a general idea of your guest list before you do any major planning. This way you know what size venues to look at and what number to get estimates for. And if worse comes to worst and you get some pretty scary estimates back and decide you want to cut back on your guest list, you’ll still be ahead of the game and have time to finalize. After all, budget and guest list go hand-in-hand. 

In fact, you won’t have a truly finalized guest list until right before invitations are sent out, about eight weeks before wedding day. Even if you send out save the dates to a guest list, you can add to it in the following weeks, you just can’t take away at that point. 

Who contributes?

More often than not, the guest list is split up into three equal parts. One third for the bride’s side, one third for the groom’s side and one third for the couple. Granted, there are going to be family dynamics every now and then that will call for exceptions, but you want to try and keep things as fair as possible. Just make sure you involve all families in the conversation and make sure, however you split it up, it is agreeable for everyone.

Who should be invited?

For the couple’s third of the guest list it is usually their friends and co-workers. Any family members or family friends will come out of your parent’s piece of the guest list. 

So now, let’s get more specific. For friends, think about who you are closest to and who you see or talk to often. Just because you were invited to a friend’s wedding a few years ago, it doesn’t mean you are obligated to invite them to your wedding. If you haven’t talked to someone in a few years, it’s okay not to invite them.

In regard to co-workers, it’s great if you have work friends you want to invite. Even if it’s only one or two people you are close to, it’s okay to invite just those people. Just be sure to keep wedding talk outside of the office so no one gets offended they weren’t invited.

How many people are actually going to show up?

Always plan for the worst. Make sure if 100 percent of your invited guest list shows up, you will still have the space and the budget for that size wedding. However, on average 80 percent of the guest list will attend. If your guest list is mostly local, it will probably be a little higher and vice versa, if you are having a destination wedding it will likely be lower. 

Photo Courtesy of Bouquets and Bowties 

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