Determining Your Guest List

One of the most important tasks to complete for your wedding is your guest list. This will be everyone who is not already apart of your wedding party! This is a fun thing to work on, but can also be stressful, especially in the middle of a pandemic! Whether your wedding is in the middle of COVID-19, or if your planning your wedding in the years to come, we’re here to give you some ideas for figuring out who you should invite to your wedding.

Who should be on my guest list?

We’ll start this off by thinking beyond the pandemic- stay tuned for our advice for cutting down your guest list in the midst of COVID-19. This question of “who should be on my guest list?” can be tricky, so here are our tips for this task!

  • Sit down with you fiancé and discuss a draft of your guest list. We recommend dividing the people you know into three groups:
    • This first group of people would be your close, personal friends and more immediate family that you definitely would want to be at your wedding. You and your fiancé should come up with this list on your own- after all, this is the group of people the two of you could not possibly imagine not having present on your big day!
    • We think that this group should be made up of your other closer friends, plus-ones, and extended family that you are relatively close to. This group may require some consulting from you and your fiancés parents, they can help you figure out which family members are more important to invite, and they may want to invite some of their friends as well (which you should probably allow especially if you/your fiancé’s parents are helping to pay for your wedding).
    • This last group are people that you would like to have at your wedding, but would be willing to cut if your budget/venue doesn’t allow. This could include your work friends, and extended family that you don’t see often or know very well.

  • Have a set number of guests going into planning/cutting guests. There are two ways to go about this:
    • Base your number of guests off of your wedding venue, if you have that picked out at this point then you will have a limit of how many people you can have at your wedding.
    • Base your wedding venue off of your number of guests. It may be hard to find a venue that holds 350 people, but if you care about having a lot of guests, then you’ll have to find a venue to accommodate all of your guests.
  • Make a rule for plus one’s! Your wedding party should probably be allowed to have a plus one if they’re dating/engaged/married, but for you guests, this is more grey. An easy way to keep your guest list from being filled with people you don’t know would be to just have a general rule for plus ones. Examples of this: If you’ve never met someone’s significant other you don’t have to invite them, or, if your friend and their partner haven’t been dating for over a year, they don’t get an invite.
  • If you attended someone’s wedding within the past 18 months, you should probably invite them and their partner, unless you’re having a very intimate wedding and you don’t view them as close personal friends.

Cutting Your Guest List due to COVID?

For those of you who love people and have dreamed of having a big wedding with everyone you know making an appearance, this will be something that is pretty difficult. For those of you who hate large crowds and have dreamed of having a small, intimate wedding, now is the best time for a wedding! Whichever way you lean, we have some tips for how you can cut your guest list down.

  • Our first tip, as we’ve said in our previous tips, is to invite the people who you can’t imagine not being there. This would probably mainly consist of people in that first group of people above.
  • Sorry to your friends, but you’ll probably have to cut most if not all plus ones. The only exceptions to this would probably be your wedding party’s plus ones.
  • Without hurting anyone’s feelings intentionally, you should just throw out any expectations you think people may have on you. Weddings during a pandemic are so different than typical weddings (in Ohio you aren’t even supposed to dance at weddings!), so your friends and extended family will hopefully understand if they can’t be invited.
  • Have a virtual option for the guests who don’t make the in-person cut!
  • Consider having an anniversary reception after the pandemic is over! This way, you can have your small ceremony and have a fun reception once restrictions are lifted!

We hope these tips will help you figure out who to invite to your wedding!

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