How to Write the Perfect Wedding Guest List

Gia Canali for Snippet & Ink

The wedding guest list may be the first thing you and your fiance create during the planning process (according to Brides it should be written a year ahead of time). And although it may seem like a simple task, there are a few things to keep in mind before you verbally start inviting people or send out invitations.

First things first - how many people do you want to invite? Make sure you're on the same page as your sweetie on this one. Do you both want a small, intimate wedding or a grand bash for 300? If it's a little of both, you'll have to come to a joyful solution (a.k.a. compromise).

Steer clear of announcing your wedding plans to people outside of your immediate family and close friends until you have a better idea of how big the wedding will be and where it will be. Otherwise, you might get asked 20 questions and be expected to send an invite their way.

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If you already have a venue in mind, consider its seating capacity. If not, make a list of essential guests; these are people you can't imagine not being there, like family and close friends. Now, tally up how many essential guests there are and use that when perusing for ceremony/reception venues.

Just as important as writing down who must be there are those who absolutely must not. Talk it over with your fiancee and lay down any guest boundaries. Are children welcome? How about any exes or the friend who might get drunk and dance on the table? Also keep in mind "plus ones" and who a potential guest might invite.

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It's also a good idea to sit down with the folks (especially if they're dishing out cash) and ask who they suggest get an invite. These are only suggestions, of course, and boundaries come into play here as well. You don't want Mom passing off an invite to everyone in her book club. Discuss the have and have nots with your parents and future in-laws, then consider the people they've suggested.

Stay organized with a guest list management tool. That could be anything from Excel to an online tool specifically for guest list management, like these:

Last, but not least, remember to give yourself a little wiggle room. You never know who you might want to add later on and accounting for possible added guests helps you plan financially and stress less.

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