How To Write A Guest List

If there ever was a wedding planning task that can cause tension between the happy couple, the guest list would be it! It seems that everyone wants a say in who comes to your wedding and before you know it, your intimate gathering of 25 can grow to an extravagant affair of 125 people you’ve never even met before! Thankfully, the experience of creating a guest list that everyone will be happy with doesn’t have to be a painful one. Here are a helpful few tips to help you and your partner stay sane during this process:

First Things First: It is highly recommended that you use a spreadsheet program or guest list management tool to create and maintain your guest list. There are hundreds of wonderful guest list tools available for free and easily accessible on the internet. A well organized guest list will be a life saver throughout your wedding planning process.

Your Lucky Number: Before starting your guest list, you and your partner must decide on maximum number of guests you want at your event. This number may be determined by your budget, your venue, the “look and feel” of your event, etc. For example, if you know you want an intimate garden gathering of only your closest family and friends and your budget is tight, you probably will max out around 25 guests or so. If you want a blow-out party and money is no object, you may be well into the hundreds of guests! Discuss your situation in detail and once you come with up an absolute maximum amount of guests, set that number aside. We’ll come back to it in a moment.

Think Big: Begin by creating a rough draft of your guest list on paper. This list should include everyone you and your partner would possibly want to invite. If you thought it might be nice to invite the friendly lady who makes your cappuccino every morning at your favorite coffee shop, put her on the list. If it is appropriate for your situation, as your parents for the names of any guests they’d like to invite as well. Don’t forget to account for “plus ones” (the people single guests bring as their date). In most cases, this first draft will be quite lengthy and possibly even a little overwhelming! Don’t worry, that leads us to…

You’re a Star: Without over-thinking it, place a star next to each guest that you and your partner absolutely must have at your wedding. These are the people you just can’t imagine not having there on your big day. Ask your parents (if applicable) to tell you which guests they consider “stars” as well. Now, create a second draft of your guest list, this time listing only those people with a star by their name.

Adding It Up: Take a look at your new draft. How does the total headcount compare to the maximum number of guests you came up with in step #2? Are you close or way off? Keep repeating step # 4 until the total number of guests no longer exceeds your maximum headcount. Once you have done this, create one last draft of your list on a clean sheet of paper.

Put It All Together: Congratulations! You’ve made it through the hard part! Now it’s just a matter of transferring your final draft into your cool new guest management tool or spreadsheet. From there, you can use your guest list tool to create seating charts, address list, name cards and so much more. Now, that wasn’t so hard, was it?

Contributed by Life Coach, Carey Powell.