Making the Guest List

Photo by Liz Banfield Photography

Photo by Liz Banfield Photography

Ahhhhh the lovely guest list. It is always a tough one to tackle but truly MUST be done as early as possible - before you pick a venue and before you make any major decisions. It truly will set the tone for every decision I know it is time consuming and sometimes uncomfortable between you and your fiance and your parents, but take it from the wedding planning experts who have planned hundreds of weddings, it must be done.

It helps you decide your venue and budget distribution early on. We can’t tell you how many times couples have come to us after they choose a venue and haven’t finalized their guest list and think they will have a smaller or bigger wedding than the venue can accommodate. This causes a lot of added costs for decor and a floor plan that wasn’t your first choice.

Soooooooo, who should you invite?

And Guest

This is one of our biggest questions from our clients. The simple answer is you only need to include an “and guest” if you have met that person several times, you know their FULL NAME, and they have been together longer than 6 months. The thought of couples inviting random guests to their wedding that costs over $1000 + per person and may never see again is just unnecessary.


It’s all or none here. Only exception are children in the wedding party. You can’t invite one family and their children and not another. If you do have a family party and have a lot of kiddos, consider having a separate room for them filled with entertainers, kid snacks and drinks, and babysitters so the parents will feel comfortable dropping them off and enjoy the evening. We once had a family who had 60 kids in the immediate family! Needless to say we had a lot of fun entertainment to keep them occupied until it was time to open the dance floor.

Work Friends

This can be a giant slippery slope you may not want to ride. You either decide to not invite anyone, or just invite your boss and anyone who directly reports to you. But don’t feel obligated. If budget and venue space is not an issue, then revisit and do what’s best for you and and your wedding.

The List Format

Please please start the list in an excel format. Not word. Not on small pieces of paper you hand to your planner. Not your Ipad. We love asking couples to use a google version so updates can be made immediately. You can add tabs for moms and dads then merge them all together. Try to get your addresses imported into separate columns correctly from the beginning - Street, City, State, Zip..etc. Remember to avoid abbreviations: Kansas City, not KC. Street not St.. and so on. Getting this right early on will save so much time when its time to send the list to the calligrapher.

Our best advice from your planning friends at Bliss for making your guest list is to only invite the people you truly LOVE and honestly LIKE. If you don’t, don’t invite them. If you haven’t talked to them for a year, don’t invite them. You should be excited to celebrate with every single person in the room.

Have fun! XO