How to Cut Down Your Wedding Guest List


words by // Eve Green

Almost every couple will be faced with one of the most difficult and emotional aspects of wedding planning: honing the guest list. This portion of wedding planning naturally becomes a little stressful, sometimes even stormy. After all, you’re dealing with whether or not to invite some of the most important people in your lives. Creating firm rules for narrowing your guest list and considering the following suggestions may help you navigate the rough waters of How to Cut Down Your Wedding Guest List.

Determine the Cost Per Head

Wedding guest lists are narrowed down because few people can afford to invite everyone they know. The first step to determining how many people you can afford to have at your wedding is dictated by the total cost per head. If you conclude, for example, that you can afford 200 guests at your wedding, you may opt to invite 225-250 guests, knowing not everyone will be able to attend.

Keep Venue Capacity in Mind

After determining how many guests you can afford to invite, next you should confirm the capacity of both your wedding and reception venues. If it’s of the utmost importance to you to invite a specific number of guests, keep their capacity in mind when exploring venue options so you aren’t limited when it comes time to create your guest list.

Create a Dream List and Narrow Down

A tried and true way of cutting down your guest list is to create a “dream list” that contains every person that you, your fiancé, and both sets of your parents wish to invite. If parents aren’t contributing financially they may not play as large a role in creating the guest list. Once you have your dream list, determine the total number and compare that to the number of guests you can afford to invite. Then it’s a matter of sitting down together and removing guests one by one until you arrive at your desired number.

Consider an Adults Only Wedding

Having a child-free reception is a quick way to cut down your list, though it should be handled delicately as not to hurt anyone's feelings. Be sure to clearly communicate on the invitation who is invited. In the situation of an adults only reception, only the parents should be addressed on both the invitations outer and inner envelopes. Though it is still acceptable to have a ring bearer and flower girl at your adults only wedding, try not to make too many exceptions to this rule. Guests’ feathers are more likely to get ruffled if they see a lot of kids at your “adults only” wedding.

Set a Rule for Plus Ones

Plus ones should never be entirely ruled out. If your guest is in a serious relationship or living with a significant other, it’s customary to offer a plus one, or even add the individual’s name to the invitation. However, if you’re trying to stick to a budget, yet still invite as many of your friends and family as possible, it’s becoming more acceptable to exclude plus ones from invitations sent to single friends and family members. While most guests won’t prefer to go solo, it’s also your wedding and ultimately your decision to whom an invitation is extended.

Cutting down your guest list can be a stressful process. There are many factors to take into consideration, but try to keep emotions at bay as it will ultimately come down to your venue capacity and budget.