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Our weddingTim & I

Working out who you can and should invite on your Wedding Guest List can give the Bride and Groom a headache. Here we are going to look at:

Our free wedding guest list, is an excel document, free for you to download. Once downloaded, you can keep this as a 'live' document, updating this with all invitations and their respective status (Accept / Reject).

The guest list will make sure that you know exactly who you've invited, whether they are for the Day or just the Evening.

When completed correctly, you'll find that the guest list can tell you not only how many accepted invites you have, but the exact count of Guests. This information you should find useful for your Wedding Planning Checklist among other things.


Download your copy of the Wedding Guest List and Instructions here.

With the downloaded guest list open on your computer, you now need to start compiling. Follow these easy steps:


Remember to go through your partner's Family, Friends and Contacts.

  1. Enter all the key members to your wedding that form your Wedding Party
  2. If any member of your Wedding Party are children, enter their parents details (and siblings, where appropriate)
  3. Enter all the Family members that you wish to be invited
  4. Enter all the Friends, that you wish to be invited
  5. Enter any Business Associates that you feel need to share this day

Once you have compiled this list, you may well be astonished by the number of people that this adds up to.

If you have a feel for the size of the venue, or if you have in fact booked your venue, compare the guest guidelines, to your wedding guest list? How does it compare? Do you need to run back through your guest list?


Trying to match your ideal guest list to your venue, may leave you with more of a headache. Here are some things you can consider:

  • A differing venue to match your ideal guest list
  • The inclusion / exclusion of children
  • The inclusion / exclusion of Business Associates
  • When you last saw the invitee's? Have you introduced your intended to them?

Granted some of those are ugly points to consider, they are not going to sit comfortably. But when you need to consider your budget and size of your wedding they may well become a necessity.

Drawing up our Guest List, we were amazed at the number of people this included. Our venue could hold 120 guests; 120 people came! Of those 120 only 10 were close friends, the rest family.

Let's take a look at the merit of these points:


Having chosen a venue which has transpired to be too small for your initial guest list, then you need to evaluate which is right for you as a couple. The best way is to pull together a "Pro's and Con's" list of the venue.

If your heart is truly set on this, ask yourself why? Consider the following, perhaps your solution lies here:

  • Is it because of it's photogenic qualities? - Consider having your photo's at this venue, and then move on to a venue with capacity for your guest list.
  • The food is exquiste? - Request the use of their catering service at a different location.
  • Convenience of the venue - Is your whole wedding day at this venue? Speak to the venue co-ordinator, is there anything they can do to increase capacity, such as a marquee for the grounds?

If your heart is still set on the venue, then you will need to look at your Guest List.

Bridesmaid and sunflower bouquetOur youngest bridesmaid


A frequently asked question - Should you include children on your guest list?

There is no right or wrong answer for this. It is down to the individual circumstance, and potentially even to the specific child.

I would recommend doing these steps initially:

  1. Count how many children are included on your Guest List - you need to know how much difference this will make
  2. How old are the children? Small children will make more noise; Teenagers may not wish to attend
  3. Consider inviting the children for only part of the day - depending on where the capacity problem arises
  4. Are you able to provide childcare / differing entertainment for the children?

If your final resolve is the fact that you cannot accommodate the children on the day, you will need to carefully word this to the those invited that have children.

Either a personal call or note with the invitation, explaining why, you are unable to invite the children. You may find that some will therefore not be able to attend at all, especially if all usual "babysitter's" are on your guest list.


This is pure personal preference. You may feel compelled to invite your work colleagues, they've lived and breathed organising your wedding with you; but you have no obligation to do so.

Usual practice that I have come across is for them to receive an Evening Invitation. However if this is where you are struggling with capacity and your Guest List, then you physically can't invite these people as well.

When a work colleague is a friend; this is where you need to consider how you itemize the friendship, if they are more friend than colleague, then you should invite. If they are more colleague than friend, then you can be excused from doing so.


If you are truly stuck on reducing your Guest List, then you can be as analytical as possible by identifying when you last saw the invitee.

Another gauge may well be the question of whether your intended has met them? If the answer is no, you may well be able to cut the invitee from your guest list.

My Grandfather was one of six children. My now husband had only met this extended arm of the family once, a year before our wedding. Due to our venue restrictions, I didn't have the capacity to invite them. I had to be practical, they appreciated the situation.

The hardest thing is being practical, using your head and not your heart. However hard, this option will get you the right size guest list for your venue.


food for thought...

What wording will be going on your Invitations?

Are the invites from...

  • 1 set of Parents, 
  • both sets of Parents 
  • from the Bride and Groom directly

You'll also need to consider are all the invites, such as morning, church only, evening reception all coming from the same people?

Once you have streamlined your guest list as much as possible, there is one further hurdle that you should consider:

Your Parents - both sets if you have them.

Potentially this can cause the most disputes.  Each set may have people they think "just can't miss" the wedding (notice it's THE wedding, and no longer YOUR wedding?).

Are your parents contributing towards the Wedding?  If they aren't contributing, you could opt not to share the list.  Depending on your specific situation, this can lead to a stressful situation.

Where Parents are providing some or all of the money for the Wedding, then really, yes they should be included in the Guest List discussions.

If you decide to not include your parents in these discussions, just remember that they may be aware of family friends who you have overlooked.

I would advise to invite the discussion about the Wedding Guest List, you can always stipulate that the final word on who is invited will be by the Bride and Groom.


Once you have gone through these stages, you will have a finalised Wedding Guest List. Now all you need to do is to get looking at the appropriate Wedding Stationery! Here are a few links that may help you further:

  • Save the Date
  • Invitations
  • Invitation Wordings
  • RSVP's
  • Order of Service
  • Thank You Notes

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