Handling the guest list…before it handles you
Handling the guest list…before it handles you

Handling the guest list…before it handles you

Photo Kyra Boyer


It’s the kind of task that will have you losing sleep, writing and re-writing over and over again as you balance conflicting opinions and your own moral compass – yes that’s right, writing your wedding day guest list can cause mass hysteria in even the most sane couple.

So how do you choose your guest list? Where do you start and where does it end?

Here are our top tips for getting a handle on the guest list before it handles you.



No doubt as soon as the haze of your engagement starts to subside you will begin to think guest list. So sit down with your hubby or wife-to-be and design your dream team. Jot down every person you would love to have there. Once it’s all in front of you, you can see what numbers you are looking at and begin the serious work from there.


TIP – as your wedding planning comes along you will no doubt think of extra people that you all of a sudden feel ‘have’ to be there. Use this dream team as your reality check. If they didn’t make the cut in the first instance, why are they making the cut now?


Photo Kyra Boyer



The fact is, you will probably be restrained in some way when it comes to designing the guest list. Whether it’s financially or that the venue simply doesn’t have the capacity to hold the number of guests you wish to have – these are the facts.


TIP – Stick to the facts and what is actual reality – keeping it always at the forefront of your mind. There’s absolutely no point designing a guest list of 100 knowing that your dream venue only has a capacity for 80. Also, know what you can afford, set the budget and stick to it.


Photo Kyra Boyer



Some couple’s set themselves some rules, but you have to be sure you follow through with them. Here are some examples of rules you might make for determining the guest list;

  • invite only those people you have actually spoken to in the last 12 months (and we don’t mean a like and comment Instagram, an actual conversation over the phone or in person)
  • don’t invite people out of guilt. Quite simply, if you’re only choosing them because they invited you to their wedding, or you THINK it’s the right thing to do, don’t invite them.
  • invite only people you know. Yes it might sound funny, but do you really want to be meeting people for the very first time on your wedding day? Say no to guest plus ones that you haven’t met, or a family friend of your parents that are only being invited as a nicety.
  • think closely about work colleagues. While you may spend a lot of time with them now, if the company shut up shop tomorrow, would you still keep in touch?
  • kids send you crazy? Decide early on whether you will be having a child-free wedding, make the call and set expectations.


TIP – Sometimes sticking to the rules will be difficult, but be fair to each other. If you’ve told your partner they can’t have work colleagues, then don’t slip one of yours on and vice-versa. Be fair, and be reasonable.


Photo Kyra Boyer



This is where it gets tricky. As your guest list develops, suddenly mum and dad want to invite their cousin six times removed and Uncle Frank’s latest squeeze. Normally, it comes from a good place, they’re excited and want to show off how incredible your wedding will be.


TIP – Keep your emotions in check. Don’t let this blow up and become a big issue. Normally this kind of behaviour comes from a good place – they’re excited and bursting with pride. Be sure to set their expectations early and have them understand that it is ‘your’ wedding and ‘you’ will determine the guest list. Do it in a non-confrontational way and if you have a ‘B’ list, perhaps you can add them should other guests decline.


Photo Kyra Boyer



At some point you might encounter these words, ‘congratulations, we cannot wait for the wedding’ as you think ‘ummm, but you’re not invited to the wedding’. Yes it’s awkward, but absolutely do not invite additional guests because of an awkward encounter.


TIP – Be prepared to have these awkward conversations. Perhaps have yourself prepared to say ‘while we’d love to invite everyone, unfortunately we aren’t able to due to budget and venue space’ and then quickly point out how fabulous they are looking – deflect, deflect, deflect!


When all is said and done, your wedding day should be the happiest of your life, dotted with the people who help make up who you are as a couple. Go with your gut and you’ll be sure to pull of your dream day.


Feeling overwhelmed? Trust us, you’re not the first bamboozled bride. Head here for handy hints on what to do when wedding planning goes awry.



Crop The Image

Actual Size

Recommended Size

Cropped Size