One of the most common questions we get asked as wedding coordinators is how to deal with the guest list. Often the bride and groom-to-be are able to pull together a list of close family and friends pretty easily, but then things start to get hairy. What about your parents’ friends? Who gets a plus one? Which co-workers do you invite? What about those people who invited you to their wedding 10 years ago? All of the sudden you have over 300 people on a guest list for what was supposed to be a much more intimate gathering. What to do?


First, we always like to remind a bride and groom that ultimately the wedding is about you. People should feel honored to be invited and will understand if you want to have a more intimate gathering, whether its due to personality or price tag. We recommend creating some parameters for yourself and your family. Here are a few ideas:

  • Give each of your parents’ a set number of people they can invite outside of family.
  • Only give guests a plus one if they are married, in the wedding party, engaged, or living together. (Choose some or all of the above.)
  • Be selective about who gets a plus one based on whether or not they will know a lot of other people at the wedding.
  • Only give plus ones to out of town guests.
  • Only invite people you have had personal contact with in the last certain number of years.

I personally made a rule for my wedding that if my husband or I could not greet someone by name when he or she walked through the door, then that person was not invited. That seemed a pretty reasonable rule to our parents and ended some arguments pretty quickly.

Have some more ideas about how to make your guest list a little more manageable? Leave us a comment!