Writing Your Wedding Guest List: Etiquette Tips for Brides and Grooms

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Planning a wedding involves making countless decisions, and one of the most crucial aspects is managing the guest list. Creating a guest list can be challenging as it requires balancing personal preferences, budget constraints, and social obligations. There’s plenty of traditional etiquette when it comes to guest lists – but know you don’t have to conform to this! We photograph plenty of weddings when our couples have chosen to have 75% friends and the smaller number of family, rather than the usual opposite. Do things how you want to! In this blog post, we will cover the traditional etiquette tips to help you brides and/or grooms navigate the intricacies of managing your wedding guest list should you wish to.

  1. Define Your Priorities: Before compiling your guest list, sit down with your partner and discuss your priorities. Determine the size of your wedding, whether you want an intimate gathering or a large celebration. By establishing your priorities early on, you can make informed decisions when it comes to inviting your guests.

  2. Create Categories: To streamline the guest list process, create categories such as immediate family, extended family, close friends, uni friends, coworkers, and acquaintances and so on. Start with the must-have guests, ensuring that your closest family members and dearest friends are included. Then, proceed to the other categories based on available space and budget.

  3. Consider Budget and Venue Capacity: Keep in mind that each guest adds to the overall cost of your wedding. Be mindful of your budget and the capacity of your chosen venue. If you are constrained by budget or venue limitations, you may need to make tough decisions regarding the number of guests you can accommodate.

  4. Set Clear Plus-One Rules: When it comes to plus-one invitations, establish clear guidelines. Generally, it is the norm to invite partners and spouses of married or long-term committed couples. For single guests, consider offering plus-ones to those who might not know many other guests. However, it is not obligatory to extend plus-ones to any guests at all, as long as you make it clear on the invite!

  5. Be Diplomatic: In situations where you cannot invite everyone you would like to, it’s essential to be diplomatic and understanding. Communicate your limitations honestly and express your regret for not being able to invite them. Assure them that your decision is not a reflection of your relationship but rather a result of practical considerations.

  6. Be Mindful of Family Dynamics: When navigating family dynamics, try to strike a balance. Consider including family members from both sides, but also be sensitive to any potential conflicts. Aim to maintain harmony by being fair and understanding of various familial relationships.

  7. Have an A and B List: To manage your guest count and accommodate potential declines, create an A and B list. The A list consists of guests you must invite, while the B list includes those you would like to invite if space becomes available due to regrets from the A list.

Managing your wedding guest list can be a delicate task, but by following these etiquette tips, brides and grooms can navigate the process with grace and consideration. Remember, while it may not be possible to please everyone, prioritizing your closest relationships and being mindful of budget constraints will help ensure a memorable and joyous celebration for you and your loved ones.

For other useful wedding tips and advice, check our blog. If you’re looking for advice on etiquette for wedding guests, check this useful article.

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