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For Couples

November 17, 2021

How to Build A Guest List

How to Build a Guest List

Congratulations! You are newly engaged and you’re about to get started with planning your wedding. There are so many exciting moments in the weeks ahead and lots of advice about how to get started with planning your wedding. From well meaning friends, family, the internet – and it may get to a point where you start to feel overwhelmed or uncertain about how to proceed. We totally get it! The wedding planning process can be a bit of a mystery but we are here to help! 

 

To get started with your wedding planning, we recommend making three decisions, before diving into any wedding related research and most importantly before booking any venues/vendors. It can be incredibly tempting to just dive in – from excitement to the urgency of booking your favorite vendors – but we promise these three important steps will ensure your wedding planning experience is setup for success. 

 

These three decisions will act as the cornerstones or  guides on how to get the most out of your experience, budget, time, and investments.  

 

These three critical steps to take are: 

  1. Build Your Wedding Budget 
  2. Identify Your Max Anticipatory Guest Number 
  3. Take Time To Curate Your Wedding Day Vision 

 

Today we are going to share with you our step by step process for building out your guest list – including some helpful pro tips to make the process as stress free as possible. 

 

Seven Quick Steps to Build Your Guest List

 

  • Step One: Discuss a guest number that feels comfortable to you. 

Consider how you want the event to feel. The type of experience you are seeking to create. The general amount of money you hope to spend. A round starting number will help serve as a benchmark later. 

  • Step Two: Each member of the couple should create a list of the friends and co-workers they would like to invite. 
  • Step Three: Ask your parents to create a list of the friends, family, and co-workers that they would like to invite. 
  • Step Four: Combine the lists and determine what the total number is.
  • Step Five: Highlight the VIPs – the people that you couldn’t imagine getting married without – this number will very likely be your minimum as you can almost guarantee all your VIPs will be there! Often this includes a list people from each of the three lists: 
    • siblings
    • bridal party members 
    • immediate family
    • grandparents 
    • best friends 
  • Step Six A: If the total number of people feels comfortable – great! You’ve got your starting point and can use this number to guide the next decisions in the wedding planning process. 
  • Step Six B: If the number is a total surprise – in that it doesn’t align with the type event you are hoping for, then you have some work to do to narrow your list. 

 

If you are looking for tips on how to narrow down your list – we included all the most helpful decision making etiquette tips in our wedding planning resource – the Modern Wedding Planner as well as here in our Shop. Get started on help to narrow down your guest list as quickly and efficiently as possible using these tools today! 

 

A Few Final Thoughts 

 

We often have couples tell us that it’s hard to divide your guest list number they came up with in step one equally amongst themselves and parents – especially if there isn’t equal payers amongst the three groups. 

 

In these – and truthfully all situations – we recommend using the ⅓ rule to help divide your guest list in a way that feels as fair as possible – however you will want to have a discussion about this especially if one group is paying for the full wedding. It will be most helpful to consider giving each group a round number of how many guests they likely can invite. If you are using the ⅓ rule – start by dividing your general number by 3. Ask each set of parents and yourself to aim to get to as close to this number as you can. 

 

This is one way to keep the list under control – and it helps to see how guests will naturally start to fall into the A/B list categories from the very start. 

 

If you landed on step six A with a final number that is close to your original number and a list that feels well rounded – you’ve done it! You’ve found your max anticipatory guest count. This number is going to serve you well – because it will impact so many downstream decisions starting with identifying your venue! 

 

This number will help to inform how many guests can fit comfortably in a venue and will allow you to eliminate venues from the start that won’t fit that number. The max anticipatory guest count is one of those crucial guides we talked about earlier in the post – a guide that we promise will help you start to identify how to make wedding decision priorities early in your planning process. 

 

And promise to help you build an event that feels value aligned from the very beginning! 

 

Planning a wedding? Overwhelmed by where you should start? Tired of hours spent googling only to fall down wedding planning rabbit hole after wedding planning rabbit hole – looking at you outdated/unhelpful wedding blog. The kind of googling that gets you nowhere closer to what you are looking for? We have the perfect resource for you {and it mirrors this approach exactly!}! Grab your free wedding planning guide today! 

How to Build a Guest List  // Your Sweetest Day Events (#weddingplanning, #guestlist, #weddingguestlist, #weddingvenueresearch)

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