How To Make A Wedding Guest List

One of the first tasks you need to tackle when beginning wedding planning is figuring out whom to invite to your wedding. So figuring out how to make a wedding guest list is important but why does it need to be sorted so quickly?

Your guest list dictates the size of the wedding venue and the size of the budget you need. Unfortunately, compiling your wedding guest list can be quite challenging. It is nowhere near as fun as cake tasting or selecting a wedding dress). The one wedding planning topic that causes the most stress, and is the hardest to help with, it’s wedding guests.

So how do you decide who is invited to your wedding? Here is a full guide to make it as pain-free as possible.

making a wedding guest list on ipad on table

How to make wedding guest list:

Draft a guest list up with your partner

The best way to start this process is with your partner to jot down a long list of all the people you want to invite to your wedding.

In general, there are 6 types of guests on your wedding guest list; close family members, extended family, close friends, workmates, family friends, and ‘obligations’.


In general there are 6 types of guests on your wedding guest list. Use the headings below to try flesh out your list and make sure you’ve covered off everyone.


Depending on your family dynamic, these are your parents, siblings and possibly Aunties and Uncles.  These are the absolute have-to-have people and you should consult them prior to setting your wedding date so you can be sure they’ll make it.

Extended Family

Your Aunties and Uncles (if you’re not a tight-knit family – some Aunties/Uncles might be considered close family, others you barely see – as I mentioned above, it depends on your family dynamic). Cousins, second cousins. If you have a big family you might decide to invite Aunties/Uncles only, or only invite cousins above a certain age.


These have a few categories –

  • Your absolute besties (who will probably be in your bridal party).
  • Your friends (as a couple) and their partners
  • Your friends and their partners
  • Your fiance’s friends (and their respective partners too).


People who you are friendly with at work, but if you left you may not necessarily stay in touch. Not under the friend category because it can be a little bit of an obligation/office politics type reason for having them invited.

Friends of the family

Friends of each set of parents, families you grew up with, possibly bridal party’s family if you’ve had a bit to do with them

Obligated Guests

These are the people that don’t fit into any of the above, but feel a bit guilty about leaving out. People who invited you to their wedding. The minister.

How to trim the guest list

Count up how many nearest and dearest you’ve jotted down (and take a deep breath or two). Once you’ve started on your budget, then you can start to mull over whether you can afford to entertain that many guests. In other words, do the guests you have, fit with the budget you’ve got? Would you consider waiting a year to get married? This could give you more time to save, just so you can have more guests. 

If you have too many people, then here’s where you need to make some hard decisions. At this point, you might consider creating an A/B list of wedding guests. That is a list of people that’ll be invited if the initial round of guests (the A-list) can’t make it. Use the below flowchart to help you trim your guest list. Once you have your guest list, start to compile your guests’ names, addresses, and dietary requirements all in one place.

Trimming the guest list flow diagram.


It’s important to know how many guests you’ve got attending your wedding. It makes booking the venue, plus planning food, rentals, invitations and even ordering cake just that much harder without a guest list early on.

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