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Before you even begin to consider your guest list, you must first determine what your budget is. This factor will ultimately play a big role in the number of guests you can or cannot invite. Remember to be realistic…

Once you have knuckled down and figured this out, you then must consider what your venue capacity is.
Do you already have a dream venue in mind that you will have to fit into?
Or will you select your venue according to its seating capacity?

Now it is time to start your list.

First up, complete a list of ‘must have’ guests – the people you can’t imagine your big day without. From there, divide your guests up into the following categories to make things easier.

  • Bride’s guests
  • Groom’s guests
  • Mutual friends
  • Bride’s parents guests
  • Groom’s parents guests

Depending on your numbers, it might be easier if you set each category a limit. Once this is done you can combine the lists and see where you are at.

You may find that you don’t have an equal share of guest numbers – this might be fine. Just remember who is paying the bill at the end of the day and if they will be happy with this.

If you find you have overshot your guest numbers, look at the list together and create a ‘stand by list’ – a list of guests who you can invite if guests from your key list are unable to attend.
Otherwise try to be consistent in how you cut down the list e.g. remove entire groups rather than individuals from several groups to avoid offending people – such as work colleagues, plus-ones, or even children.

Children are a controversial topic when it comes to guest lists – with a lot of couples today opting to have no children attending their wedding.
Reasons in favour of this:
– you won’t have crying babies, restless & talkative kids etc. recorded all through your videos – you spend a lot of money on a videographer and you want to be able to enjoy the video rather than cringing at each ear-piercing scream
– the parents will actually be able to relax and let their hair down at the wedding (rather than running around after their child, watching their behaviour etc.) Parents won’t have to leave the reception early because the kids are tired or it is past their bedtime. This creates a very different atmosphere at your wedding.

Reasons against this:
– some guests may decline your invitation as they don’t want to be away from their children (or because they don’t want to pay for a babysitter)

At the end of the day, the decision on children ultimately has to be yours.

*HINT: A great way to keep children entertained at your reception is to provide them with toys/colouring in pack etc. as their bonbonniere gift

Compiling your guest list will be one of the hardest parts of your wedding plans, but just remember that you can’t please everyone and at the end of the day it is YOUR wedding.