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

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.

Feeling stressed about numbers and unsure where to from here? Here’s how to navigate cutting 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.



It’s a good idea to work out what your cost will be per head. With this information in your hands you can determine what you can actually afford when it comes to your invite list. For example, if your first draft of guests was at 150 and you realise you can only afford 100 guests you now know exactly how many you have to cut. This is where the real work starts.



Double check the maximum number of guests that are allowed at your venue. Even if you you can afford 100 guests, can the space you intend to hold your wedding at, fit them! This is where you might have to cut further, or in some instances you may be able to add in more if your budget allows.


Photo: Finder Seeker Photography



Early into your guest list planning, it might be worthwhile to set some criteria that if the guests don’t meet, they can be taken off your guest list.

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?

If the answer is no to some or all of the questions, it might be worthwhile asking yourselves if they make the cut as a wedding guest.



This can be tricky and touchy subject at times, but eliminating children as guests will help cut your numbers. Set your expectation with each other on this early and communicate this with your guests so they can make alternative arrangements for their children. Also expect that sometimes some guests may not be able to attend due to the no-child rule and handle it graciously.



Depending on family expectations and if anyone else is giving a helping hand financially, this can be a sensitive subject when it comes to inviting relatives. It’s important to remember that your wedding day is about you and your partner rather than it being a family get together. There might be relatives you haven’t spoken to in years, so you shouldn’t feel that you have to invite them. However whatever decisions you come to in regards to family members it’s important to try and uphold whatever rules you make across both groups of guests. So if second cousins are not being invited on one side, don’t invite them on the other. However, families can be complex and there may have to be some flexibility to keep it fair. Speak with your families, explain your reasoning and try and come to mutual decisions.


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.


Photo: Finder Seeker Photography


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’.


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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