(Closed) What were your guest list-making rules?

posted 4 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 2
263 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

My rules were

1. Immediate Family (No great aunts or 2nd cousins)

2. Close friends I have met/hung out with since we’ve been dating

3. If we’re inviting someone with a serious SO, the SO is invited as well to keep the peace and just in case they don’t know anyone, they have their SO

Has my Fiance followed these rules? No. He wants to invite all of his coworkers and their SO’s which totals 18 people but I have only ever met 2! His family also wants to invite family friends of theirs AND their kids. Their kids are older but there are 5 people they want to invite and each couple has 2 kids and half of those kids are married. There are an extra 50 people that could be cut out if I had the heart to tell them no.

I say cut people you haven’t talked to for more than a year or two. Don’t invite the friends parents if you haven’t had any contact with them whatsoever. They probably won’t even care that they weren’t invited considering there hasn’t been any contact in years with them. It’s not a reunion. It’s a day to celebrate with the people who care about you and care about you enough to keep in contact with you.

Post # 3
21 posts
  • Wedding: September 2015

We are having the same problem with the list busting at the seams now, but initially we followed only one rule:

The only people we added were those who we absolutely could not imagine getting married without. 

Then, we decided to give plus 1’s to immediate family who aren’t in relationships (grandma, brother, aunt), to anyone from out of town who doesn’t have a SO, and inviting everyone’s SO who has one.

Cutting is the worst… 🙁 Good luck to you! 🙂

Post # 4
799 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

1. Immediate Family (this included only our parents, siblings, and uncles/aunts we have a relationship with). 

2. Close friends

3. No children. The only exception was our flower girl.

4. We also split the guest list 50/50. We thought it only fair regardless of who has the larger side because it was our wedding not just his or mine. 

Post # 5
74 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

We’re having trouble with our guest list too. The way we’re doing it is:

For the ceremony we’re inviting family only. Parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, bridal party. That’s it. Obviously his sisters husbands are invited, as is my brothers girlfriend.  

For the reception we added close friends, some cousins (I have way too many to invite them all), and a few people that played significant roles in our lives growing up. For example, I’ve known one of my bridesmaids for my entire life, and her parents are invited to the reception because they’re practically family. Bosses are also potentially going to be invited. That’s still up in the air.

Oh, and only the kids that we can’t NOT invite. Like his young sisters and cousin. It would be terrible if they weren’t there, so they’re invited. But the guests with kids, I’m sorry but we just can’t.

Post # 7
2332 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

My idea of making a list was immediate family, all the way to first cousins and that’s it. I was hoping to leave it at maybe 200 to 250.

This was my FI’s criteria for inviting people to the wedding:

Ended up inviting 530, we’ll probably end up with 490ish

Post # 8
5950 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

MrsHistory-Bee:  When I made the initial list at the very start of wedding planning I categorized everyone as level A, B, C, and D.  Note that this was NOT the same as an “A list” or “B list” as it was used to figure out numbers and decide how big a wedding we wanted, not to invite people in tiers.

A = VIP.  Absolutely must be there.  Will check in with this person regarding the date and location of the wedding ot make sure they can attend.  Generally, this was immediate family.

B = Close family and friends.  People I would never think of not inviting.

C = Other family & friends.  These are people I would happily invite to a larger wedding, but wouldn’t make the cut it we decided to keep it intimate.

D = parents friends & courtesey invites.  My parents had a pretty big list of friends and clients to include.  I made them a seperate category since I don’t know of them well (if I did know them well they would have been included in the other categories).

From here I was able to see what #s would look like if we included A only, or A+B, or A+B+C, or A+B+C+D.  It was a really useful exercise.  

Oh, and everyone was invited either with their SO or with a guest of their choice.  None of my friends or family had young kids at the time, so that was not a consideration.


Post # 9
758 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2014 - Our Backyard/Steakhouse

our simple cut off was whether or not we would take said person (and spouse) our for a nice dinner for absolutely no reason…and pick up the bill.

If the answer was yes, then we sent an invite.

It was a great threshold to keep the list very small and intimate.

Post # 10
1243 posts
Bumble bee

1. No one under the age of 21.

2. If you’ve never invited us to your home, you’re not invited to our wedding.

3. If we haven’t spoken to you in a year, you’re not invited.


Post # 11
4412 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: December 2013

MrsHistory-Bee:  Our guidelines were…

-Keep it to family and friends we both know (we wanted small-ish and intimate)

-No kids, except my niece as Flower Girl

-Less than 80 if possible (we actually ended up with 61!)

Post # 12
113 posts
Blushing bee

I think mine would look something like:

-If your not on my Christmas Card list, you’re not on my wedding list.

-If you don’t know my birthday, or SO last name, your not on the list.

-If the last time I saw you was at a BBQ when I was 6, your not on the list.

-If your a second or third cousion, your not on the list.

I’m being really flippant here, but my Dad will talk about inviting random people I’m sure I’ve never met, or if I have I was tiny and don’t remember. And then all their millions of children, honestly I might as well take an ad out in the local newspaper

Post # 13
263 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

MrsPiggles:  You poor thing. I thought 150 was crazy!! I think my Future Mother-In-Law knew i’d have a breakdown if her list was over 100 considering I told her we only wanted MAX 130 people! 

Also love the meme!!!

Post # 14
7673 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

MrsHistory-Bee:  Basic rule: invite relatives we had to (all aunts and uncles and cousins, none of cousins’ children) and then the friends we felt we really should. For your specific questions:

cousin’s gf’s sister: no. cousin’s gf automatically gets an invite as his partner, but the rest of her family does not.

Close friends’ parents: no. I had a similar dilemma. They were part of my life, but not as much as other friends. (p.s. and the parents probably won’t expect an invite: my daughter’s bff is getting married and I certainly don’t expect to be invited).

grad school prof: yes, but he’ll probably decline. I’m a believer in showing thanks to important people in one’s life.

Don’t cut relatives you must invite. If it’s mainly an older crowd… it doesn’t matter.

cousin’s friend group: just invite the one you’re very friendly with. You don’t need to invite all of a “friendship group”.

Old friend who never replies: no. There will be other times to reconnect.

Post # 15
24 posts

I had the same problem!!! Idealy I wanted to invite like 50ppl but my family is big and both our families know alot of ppl.  The guest list got to 210…. I have a breakdown and took out the black pen. 

Our parents are paying for the wedding but im only allowing them to invite 4 couples each (My parents and his parents),

On my mom’s side if i invite my cousins and their families that totals 35ppl (they didn’t make the cut)  I know Im going to hear alot about this but I’m not very close with alot of them, and Im not going to play favorites game, (these ppl make alot of drama about nothing).

For our friends, if we stay in contact and can call and hangout anytime or actually keep in contact with, they got invited….

The list is now 106 and Im much happier with that! This inclues all single guests getting a +1 too (which is maybe 10)


It’s hard, I know Im going to hear about it but im over it really.  I want a small wedding and everyone I talk to says its Our day and we can do what we want 🙂

The topic ‘What were your guest list-making rules?’ is closed to new replies.

Find Amazing Vendors