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Creating a Guest List

Wedding Guest List

When creating a guest list, you will always be faced with “Who and where do I start cutting.” Whether it be your budget or your reception’s venue, there is usually an overall total that you would like to stay under. So where do you start and how do you let your guests know exactly who they are allowed to bring?

Required Guests

Start by making your guest list with everyone possible that you may invite. Once you have a rough draft of guests, check off your “required guests”. This typically includes immediate family and close friends, It will be a list that consists of your "absolutely must invite" guests. Total up your required guests and this will give you a base number for the minimum amount of guests that will need to be invited. If you have a smaller budget or venue, you may end your list after the required guests.

Additional Family

Depending on how close you are with your family, your next list would be any additional family members you might want to invite. This could include Great Aunts and Uncles, Second Cousins, and so on.


If you are close with co-workers, then they would be next to add on to the list. The most respectful way to invite co-workers would be to invite them all, but this is not a requirement. Remember that it is your wedding and you only need to invite who you would like. If you have had past employment, only invite past coworkers that you still keep in touch with.

The Leftovers

If you have already reached your limit, then you might need to skip this section. Your leftover list would include any additional acquaintances that you feel deserve an invitation. This could include neighbors, member of groups or committees you’re in, parent’s friends, etc.

Kids or No Kids

Inviting kids will depend on a few things:

  1. How many guests are allowed at your venue?

  2. How many adults do you already have on your list?

  3. Do you want children at your wedding?

  4. Are you having a more formal “adult only” theme or venue?

This section comes down to a personal preference and your venue size. If you are inviting kids, treat them like the adults when creating your list. Start with the required close family and friends, and then evaluate where your total is.

Guest or No Guest

Allowing your single guests to bring a date will be decide by how large your venue is and how large your guest list is. I would create your original list without guests added and then if you have room, go back through and add on plus ones where you see fit. If you are unsure who you should grant the plus one to, start with your older single guests and work your way down to your younger guests. Feel free to set a cut off for plus ones for anyone eighteen or younger.

Informing Your Guests of Who is Invited

Inner & Outer Envelopes

The most common way to let your guests know who is invited is simply on the envelope. Write out exactly who is invited and by that I mean everyone’s names. If they are allowed a guest, you will need to list “& Guest” next to each name with a plus one.

not allowing wedding guests

If you have large families that you cannot fit all of the names on the mailing envelope, then you may need to consider double envelopes. Double envelopes allow you to address the outside with simply the family name and then list each name individually inside on the inner envelope.

If you are not inviting kids or are not allowing plus ones, another way to inform guests is to list directly on you rsvp cards how many people they are allowed to respond back with.

We Have Reserved ______ Seats In Your Honor

Yes you will have to fill in each number prior to mailing them out, but this allows guests to know exactly how many people have been invited.

If you are not inviting kids, a nice phrase that can be listed on the invitation is:

Please Join Us For An Adult Evening” or “Adult Reception

Don’t ever feel bad about what you decide on. You need to take into consideration when creating your guest list that this day is all about you and your spouse, and what makes you happy, not what makes other people happy.

Now get list making!

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