The Wedding Guest List Guide: Knowing Who to Include

As the exhilaration of your engagement slowly wears out and you start the nitty-gritty process of wedding preparations, you will face the challenge of finalizing your guest list. The first tip is to do it when there’s not too much endorphins running through your system, as being too happy might make you write down even your pre-school friend’s name on the list. Prepare your list as a couple after you’ve set down your wedding budget so that you can both be happy with the final results.

Here are more tips to help you with that list:


Expect to Work on Several Drafts

If you think you can get it done in one sitting, you might just get frustrated because you can’t. Even if you think you can, it’ll just be a rough list of names of friends and family you want to invite. What if they can’t make it? Or you go beyond the number of guests you can afford? Expect that your guest list will go through several drafts before you reach the final names and guest count. To make things easier, start by having a comprehensive list and then just classify each name according to priority.

Follow the One-Year Rule

Regarding your friends and relatives, check if they need to be invited by discussing with your fiancé if you have had any significant meeting with them in the past year. (That means having a lengthy conversation or a pleasant dinner with them, and not just running into them at the grocery.) For your relatives, if you haven’t kept in touch at least within a year, you can ask your parents to apply the one-year rule on whether or not these relatives will be invited. Of course, there are exceptions to this. You may, for example, have people you were very close to in the past, and have simply not communicated in a while, even though they are still very dear to you.


Have an Equal Number of Relatives

This is important as you wouldn’t want your in-laws feeling bad about this on your wedding. Determine a head count that you can accommodate from both sides of the family and stick to that number. If you are lenient with one, expect the other to be asking you to invite a cousin of a cousin. It’s best to consider only the immediate family. The rest can be invited if anyone from the immediate family can’t make it and opens up a slot for another relative. Like with the above tip, this isn’t a hard and fast rule. If either you or your spouse-to-be have gotten close to one family, then it might be alright to get more relatives from that side, though you might have to explain the situation to the other side.

Let Your Parents Put In Some Names

Whether you like it or not, your parents will want to get involved in this process. And if they are spending for your wedding, you really should let them have a say on who to invite. Just be clear with them what kind of wedding you want to have and how many guests you’re capable of hosting. It’s best to have your initial list as a couple and present your parents with your guidelines on who else they can invite. Remind them that you both want your wedding to be intimate so they should keep it to the immediate family and friends they are close to.

For more tips, please read the second part of this article, “The Wedding Guest List Guide: Knowing Who to Exclude”.

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