How to Make a Guest List for Your Wedding

Making a guest list is usually one of the biggest challenges in the wedding planning process. Deciding who will and who will not be invited is a dangerous game.  Some couples may feel an obligation to invite co-workers, and old friends.  Many parents will have their own list of invitees that they want the new couple to invite. Some couples can’t say no to their friends, exes, or their cousin’s best friend’s mom. The number of guests that end up attending can also have a big impact on the look and cost of your wedding, more guests means more food, more tables which means more centerpieces and rentals, more drinks, potentially a bigger venue…you get the picture. So how do you make the tough calls on who gets the invite? To make it easier for you, we compiled a list of suggestions on how to cut down the guest list in order to ensure that those in attendance are people that you actually know, love, and care about.

Include yourself and your fiance on the list

Ironically, tons of couples forget to factor themselves in to the number of attendees.  Include yourselves, so that the chef makes enough meals, you get enough chairs, etc.


Are you hoping for an intimate wedding but your parents are constantly adding their friends to your list? Many couples have to deal with this, and it’s a very tough situation, especially if they are helping you pay for it. A wise rule is – if they aren’t paying for something, they don’t get a say. However, if they are helping financially, or if you want to be a little more diplomatic, come to a compromise with your parents. Maybe you suggest not inviting anyone who you haven’t seen in over a year, or you give them a limit of people they are allowed to invite.

The important thing is to make things clear to both sides of the family from the beginning, plan a fair set of rules, and do not deviate from them.

The “Plus One” Dilemma

Most couples have at least a few single friends coming to their wedding. Do they get a “plus one?”. Your bridal party should probably get a plus one as a courtesy because they usually spend a significant amount of their time & money preparing for the big day, so it is a nice gesture. Invitees who are in long-term and more serious relationships should also receive a plus one. These can be defined as couples who have been together for over a year, are living together, or engaged.

What do you do if someone sends back a response card for them and a guest that you didn’t invite? Kindly explain that because of budget restraints, venue capacity, etc., that you won’t be able to extend the invite to their guest.


Kids add to a couple’s guest list, and some parents are insistent that their children go with them. Others may prefer to have a fun night out while the kids stay home. If you would prefer to not have kids at your wedding, address the invitations to the parents only. Ask your family to spread the word about your decision.

Some couples don’t want babies or little ones at the wedding, but have teenage family members who they want to attend.  If this is the case for you, set a rule for your wedding, that only kids over “X” age can come.  Have your family and friends spread the word, and stick to this rule when guests ask about it.


If you work with a close knit group of co-workers, deciding on whether or not to invite them is hard. Don’t feel obligated to invite the entire office, but if you only invite a few, try to avoid wedding talk at work. It is also smart to let your invited co-workers know that not everyone from work was invited, as to avoid any awkward conversations around the water cooler.

The Close Calls

There are some guests who just don’t fall into any of the above categories.  If you are still looking to cut down your guest list, these are the people we’d cut. If you have some room in your guest count, add them to your list!

Some of these “I’m not sure” guests may include: people you haven’t spoken to in over a year, old friends, distant relatives, or people who your significant other doesn’t know.

Your finalized guest list will have a great time at Sandstone Vineyards, Boise’s premier Locally Owned & Operated Indoor/Outdoor Vineyard Venue located in the picturesque Treasure Valley offering a romantic setting for one of the most special days of your life.