Top tips for cutting down your guest list
Top tips for cutting down your guest list
Top tips for cutting down your guest list

Top tips for cutting down your guest list

Photo By Tess Follett


Just a small wedding with close family and friends…about 70, perhaps? But wait…what about their partners? And cousins? Cousin’s partners?  Before you know it, your intimate guest list has exploded and doubled in numbers.

Marriage symoblises a new and beautiful stage of transition in a couple’s life, and to celebrate this momentous occasion we have weddings, which can come with a myriad of expectation from friends and family, particularly in relation to the guest list.

As we also deal with COVID restrictions on numbers, cutting the guest list has never been such a hot topic.

Feeling stressed about numbers and unsure where to from here? Here’s how to navigate the guest-list situation with ease.




When you’re first contemplating who to invite, put together a rough draft of everyone you would definitely like to be there and that hold a significant place amongst your friends and families. Consider them the ‘non-negotiables’, just the individual – not their partner, their children, their best friend, only the individual that you want to be present to help you celebrate the day.



Double check the maximum number of guests that are allowed at your venue – this is where the fine tuning and sorting of the guest list starts. The maximum and minimum number of guests give you a great indication for numbers on your list. You can determine if you want to fill more places, add your friends’ new beau or if you need to start reducing your numbers. Or perhaps you were spot on with your first draft and they all fit and you’re happy to go ahead and start putting together those invites (well done you!).


Photo by Elsa Campbell Photography



It’s important to keep in mind we are in uncharted waters at the moment with COVID-19 impacting weddings and subsequently guest numbers. It’s important to keep up-to-date with government rulings and perhaps start devising guests lists for varying scenarios – five guests, 20 guests, 50 guests etc. saving you some headaches down the track should things change.



Depending on family expectations and if anyone else is giving a helping hand financially, there can tend to be a few strings attached with who’s invited to your wedding.

Start by asking yourselves some questions such as:

  • Do I know them? Have I met them? Has my partner met them?
  • Have I spoken to them in the last 12 months?
  • Would I catch up for a coffee with them one-on-one?

Even getting your family members to ask these questions of themselves might help to assist in determining why they wanted them there in the first place.


Photo By Kyra Boyer Weddings



We’ve been there…the close friend that’s just started dating a new flame who’s hinting as to where they’ll be sitting at the wedding, everyone in the office that saw your ‘just got engaged’ post on social media over the weekend, your workout buddy from the gym – where do they sit on the invite list?

Firstly, it’s completely fine to invite the co-workers you gel with closely and actually want there and not the whole office – it’s your wedding, after all. You also shouldn’t feel obligated inviting someone because they invited you to theirs, it’s not a tit-for-tat scenario, it’s your wedding and most people understand each wedding has its own individual circumstances and confines to work within.  And as for that new plus one that just popped up on the scene, if you don’t feel comfortable having them there because you don’t know them, explain that to your friend.


Still feeling a little lost, here are some hard and fast rules you can implement:

  • Adults only please – on this occasion, no children will be attending the wedding.
  • No partners or plus ones (unless you know them well and want them there).


You really shouldn’t feel like you need to be dishing out invites like it’s an Oprah giveaway. Being invited to a wedding isn’t something your guests should feel entitled to. Being a guest at a wedding is an honour and the guest list you’ve curated should reflect how you feel about the relationships you have with each person.

So send back that side dish of guilt (we’ll pass, thanks) and start making that ultimate guest list full of the ‘must-haves’ and not simply the ‘I guess they can make the cut’.



Photo by Elsa Campbell Photography


To wedding favour or not to wedding favour? We have taken a look at how these well-meaning messages of love to your guests can be done well, and offer some thoughts as to when it might be right for you to give the gesture the flick. To read more, head here




Written by Ivory Tribe contributor Kathryn Brandt.



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