Tips For Getting Your Guest List Done

Wedding guest lists are one of the most talked about things we hear from couples when they are on their wedding planning adventure. But do not fret, we got you! We have put together a list of 10 Wedding Guest List Hacks to make the entire process so much easier.

Follow these guest list hacks and you will be sending off those invites in no time, so let's dive in!

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1. Know your Budget

This is key before even start to decided who will make the guest list. If you do not know how much you can/will spend this is a recipe for disaster. In most cases the best way to tackle this is with your partner. Do you both want the same thing? Elopement or big wedding?

2. Rough Starting Point

Now that you are both on the same page, pick a rough starting point that aligns with what you have envisioned. Is that 5 guests, 20, perhaps 100?

3. Create Invite Rules

Getting carried away when creating your wedding guest list is such an easy thing to do! Because why would you not want to invite everyone you know? A wedding can quickly be overrun by people you hardly know. Do you really need to invite that one person you knew back in elementary school?

Focus on the people that really matter, that you truly care about and will enhance your entire vibe for the day. Here are a few example rules that you can use a starting point:

  • You have not seen them for X number of years. They do not need an invite
  • If you have never spoken to them, why even invite them
  • Colleges at work you hardly know

4. Who gets a plus one?

We will start by clearing the air on special guests that you are not sure if they will need a plus-one. This will be the toughest part of this entire plus-one process as it works it will be determined on an "as needed" basis.

With that being said the following guests should be presented with a plus one when creating your guest list.

  • Married Couples
  • Lives with their partner
  • Engaged couples
  • Anyone in a serious relationship
  • Bridal party

5. Write names on response cards

Take it from us, you do not want to leave this in your guests hands to do. It may feel like a of work when you are doing this, but the payoff is certainly worth it. Print the guests names on the response cards so when you start to receive them back you know who has confirmed. But more importantly who has not so you can follow up, and change plans if they are not attending.

6. Consider an intimate ceremony and big reception

We saw this a lot in 2019, and all the feedback from couples was how happy they were with that choice. This is something we will be doing for our own wedding. If you are planning an elopement or destination wedding you can invite a few select guests to attend, then host a reception when you are back. You can also do a small ceremony followed by a large reception afterwards.

The key for the invite on this scenario is to be very clear on your invite, do not invite the reception only guests to witness the marriage. When printing your invites print a main invite that invites everyone to the reception. Then include a small ceremony card for guests invited to the ceremony.

7. Adults-only weddings/Limited seating:

Etiquette dictates that you should not put that on your invite as it can come across as rude. However, we have seen this on many an invite and do not feel like this came across that way. We are firm believers in breaking with tradition and staying true to your wedding day vision!

With that being said some work arounds if you are worried about this:

  • Reference this on your wedding website, or RSVP site
  • Address the invite to the parents only
  • Address all invited guests on the envelope
  • Be specific in your RSVP card: "We have reserved _seat(s) in your honour." (this last one makes it very clear in a polite way)

8. Venue Size & Limits:

A lot of venues put this information on their website if you are not sure, but this is an important number to keep in mind. Although the venue says it can fit 120 guests, that does not mean it should, no one likes to feel squished and cramped at their table.

9. How To Divide The Guest List

Wedding guests lists are typically divided into three equal parts. Depending on your family dynamics this can change, and is by no means a firm rule. More so an excellent starting point to keep in mind.

You will want to divide your list into 3 equal parts: one for your side, one for your fiancé's side, and lastly one for your friends! Like we mentioned before, this rule is not set in stone as it may not always work for all couples. Factors like budget and venue space will also have a role in this.

At the end of the day, you want to do what you are comfortable with and aligns with the wedding budget!

10. Plan for last minute guests

Lastly you must plan on what you will do for last minute guest additions or requests. As your day gets closer and closer, you will find that people will start asking about it and getting invited. It's best for you both to know what you are going to say, and be aligned with your choices.

The important thing to avoid here is inviting a bunch of people last minute and having to coordinate with your venue, caterer, revamp your seating chart... basically everything you have planned out prior.

Do not despair though, if you have been keeping track of your RSVP's and checking your list you will know if you have room to say yes to some extra guests. This was beautifully handled at our couple Marta & Dan's wedding with spare "Guest" table place holders at the ready! They also creatively used ones that said: "I didn't RSVP but I came anyway" (love this one)

Table details as the chicopee hall in Kitchener Ontario


With the new found tips in hand, you will be well on your way to getting your guest list completed in no time! Here is a quick run down for those who (are like us) and did not read the article:

  1. Know your budget
  2. Rough Starting Point (How many guests you think you want)
  3. Create invite rules
  4. Decide who gets a plus one
  5. Write names on response cards - honestly do it (you're welcome)
  6. Consider an intimate ceremony and big reception
  7. Adults only wedding/Limited seating
  8. Venue size and limits
  9. How to divide the guest list
  10. Plan for last minute crashers

Bonus Tip

Custom Address Stamp

If you are like us, and look to be efficient consider getting a self inking custom stamp with your address. Not only does it add that personal touch (stickers don't give the same effect), but it looks classy and awesome. This will also save you from breaking your wrist writing the same thing over and over again!

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10 wedding guest list hacks

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