Wedding Guest List Ideas

I have put together some wedding guest list ideas that I, and other brides, have found to be very useful when creating a guest list. You will find that your list will become the bedrock of all your future plans, so think carefully.

Deciding the number of people you will have as guests will make it a lot easier to plan your wedding. The fact is you can not make very many real decisions about most things related to your wedding until you know how many people you will be inviting.

Parents & Siblings

Your guest list should ordinarily include your immediate family mother, father, and siblings provided there is no family “drama.” Spouses of your divorced and remarried parents should be included. If there are any strained feelings among family guests, they should be discussed and ironed out before the wedding.

If hurt feelings can’t be “fixed,” then everyone should agree to be on their best behavior and call a truce until after your wedding. If individuals are not willing to put their feelings aside until later, you may have to make a hard decision about inviting guest list

Children At Your Wedding Reception

Couples usually find themselves discussing how to cut the wedding guest list as it begins to balloon beyond their budget. One way to cut your list is to make a decision whether your reception will be a family affair or adults-only affair.

Most venues will charge the set adult price, even for younger children if you do not negotiate the price. This is an area where not including children could make your guest list more manageable.

If you opt for the adults only wedding and reception, you should make it very clear on the invitation that the wedding is adults only. You could use wording on the acceptance card such as:

___  #Adults Attending,

or say something inside the invitation like…

“we adore children, but because our venue has limited seating, our reception will be adults only.”
There are other options of course, but this type of wording will get the idea across.

If you have a child ring-bearer or flower-girl, you may need to make that exception. People, including relatives, would understand that because they are a part of your wedding party they would attend the reception.

If you do decide to have children at your wedding, be sure to negotiate a children’s menu and rate whether it is for two or twenty-two little ones.

Extended Family

Extended family includes grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews, etc. If you are close to anyone on this tier in your family, you may want to invite them. If you are not particularly close to extended relatives, you may want to ask your parents for help in suggesting who you should invite.

If they live out-of-state, they may not be able to make it but would appreciate an invitation anyway. Consider it a family “gesture of goodwill.”

If your budget is strained, however, do not send invitations with the expectation that it will not be accepted. Assume it will be and include those people on your acceptance list until you hear guests


Sometimes our friends are closer to us than family. Include those friends on your guest list.

There may be other friends who are more casual acquaintances, than close friends. Explain to those folks at an opportune time that your wedding is a small one, primarily for family and a few close friends, and that you are working within a budget.

Most people will understand and still be happy for you. If they are not close friends any way they may actually be relieved somewhat as there would be no obligation to buy a present, spend money on clothes or travel, or dedicate a day to your wedding.


No matter how much you like them as “just a friend” now, they are still your Ex! That fact alone could present some awkward moments throughout the day, and not just for the bride and groom, but for parents, extended family, and others.  Just don’t invite them. It’s easier for EVERYONE involved!

If you do decide to include the Ex anyway, make sure you check with your future spouse before doing so and have your sensitivity radar on maximum setting. If you are having trouble deciding whether to invite your ex or not, read these paragraphs again.


Where do you begin and where do you end with invitations to fellow workers? Trying to invite everyone from the office can seriously blow your wedding budget if you are not careful here. If you have friends that you are close to at work…by all means, do invite them.

wedding feast

A rule of thumb in most cases about asking co-workers is as follows: If you see them socially outside of work, they may be “guest material.” If you do not see them outside of work, it is not necessary to invite them.

However, depending on your employment, “office politics” may “trump” simple rules. Just don’t let it “trump” your budget.

Your Boss

Conditional on your personal relationship with your boss, you may or may not invite him/her to your wedding. If you have a good working relationship with your boss, however, and your budget can handle it, it is probably a good idea to invite him or her. It just makes good practical sense in today’s world where your boss can make your life a little easier or a little harder around the office.


Determining whom to invite is sometimes the most difficult process to get through when you start planning your wedding, but it is crucial. If you do not, you will soon discover, it is impossible to determine a budget or even select a venue in most cases.

You must know how many people you plan to seat, feed, and entertain, to move forward with planning your entire wedding. Your list will prove to be invaluable, as well as your guiding document, as you look at all things where consideration of your guests is a must.








2 Replies to “Wedding Guest List Ideas”

  1. You provide some great insight in how to decide which people we should invite to a wedding. We are currently helping a family member prepare and were starting the process of who to invite. Your breakdown and reasons why certainly clears up a lot of questions.

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