How To Choose Your Wedding Guest List

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A huge part of planning your wedding is choosing who to invite. This handy guide on how to choose your wedding guest list will help you decide who makes the final cut.

Make A Dream List

The first thing we’d recommend doing is create a dream wedding guest list. Write down everyone you’d like to invite to your wedding if there were no boundaries. This can include second and even third cousins, friends, children and partners. Anyone at all you can think of!
When you have this list, put everyone into three categories. One category for ‘must invite’ one for ‘would love to be there’ and a final category for ‘ideal world’. This will help when it comes to looking at your budget and venue limitations.

Talk to your parents

After creating your dream wedding list, talk to your parents. This is particularly important if they’re contributing financially to the wedding. In our experience, there will be a family member or close friend that you would love to be at your wedding that has been missed off your initial list. Your parents will help to fill in any blanks.
If your parents are contributing to the wedding, talk to them about who they can invite. They may not want to invite anyone at all, but the chances are they will. Remember, you can always invite extra people to the evening reception too.

Bride and mother of the bride at Whitley Hall wedding How To Choose Your Wedding Guest List

Venue Capacity

Your venue will dictate how many people you can invite to your wedding day. They will have a limit for their wedding ceremony and wedding breakfast rooms. Some packages also have an upper limit on the number of guests that can be accommodated. This is where your ‘would love to be there’ list comes in. If your venue can’t accommodate everyone on that list, you need to start talking about adding to your package.
This is exactly the same for your evening reception. The venue will have an upper limit on the amount of guests they can accommodate. Pay attention to that limit, and stick to it. There is an upper limit for a few reasons – usually due to fire procedures and insurance purposes, but comfort is also taken into consideration. If your evening reception space is too crowded it will be difficult to move around and enjoy your evening.


When adding people on to your wedding package make sure you keep your budget in mind. Find out from your venue how much each additional guest will be, and work out how many you can realistically afford to invite. Make sure you ask about the costs for the evening too.

Bride walking down the aisle at Wortley Hall Wedding How To Choose Your Wedding Guest List


A lot of couples choose to have a child free wedding as a way of cutting down their guest list. While this can work in most situations, make sure you consider the impact this could have on your immediate family and bridal party. By not inviting their children they may have to pay extra for a babysitter for the day, and feel they need to leave the party early to get back to their little ones.

Cut off Point

If you are having a set cut off point, stick to it. If you’ve told your guests that there will be no children at the wedding the worst thing to do is relax the rule for one family. The same goes if you’ve said no to partners you’ve never met, cousins, or work friends. Not only will this keep your wedding guest list manageable, but there will be no ill feeling from anyone on the day.
You can always invite partners to the evening reception!

Bride and her daughter How To Choose Your Wedding Guest List

Evening Guests

One of our best tips for how to choose your wedding guest list is don’t underestimate your evening. We’ve touched on this already, but it is important. If you have friends you’d like to invite (or if your parents do) but you can’t financially justify inviting them to the daytime celebrations, the evening party is a fantastic way to include them in your day.

Guests Dancing at Tankersley Manor Wedding

When you’ve got your wedding list organised, it’s time to think about Wedding Favours.