How to Create a Party or Wedding Guest List

Congratulations! You’re planning an epic party. But how in the world do you decide who to invite? Firstly, don’t be too hard on yourself here. It’s not an easy thing to do, especially when lots of opinions are flying around!

Bride and Groom


Write down your dream list

There are no hard or fast rules. Start by creating some kind of spreadsheet.

Laptop and notepad

If you’re a digital person, create a spreadsheet through your favourite program. Excel, Numbers or Word are popular ones to use. Better yet, email me and I’ll send you one that I created. If you prefer to do it by hand, grab your favourite pen and a sheet of paper to begin your list!

I usually start by writing the names of people from the below categories. If you don’t like these people and don’t want them at the wedding, just leave them off the list. You know you’re going to cull them anyway! If you feel obligated to invite them, or they are still a “maybe” it’s best to write their names down for now. Start HUGE by writing down your fantasy guest list where budget is not a consideration. We will whittle this list down later:

  1. Immediate Family
  2. Extended Family
  3. Close Friend Group, which usually consists of:
    • Best Friends
    • Bridal Party
    • Housemates / Ex-Housemates etc
  4. Uni / TAFE Friends
  5. School Friends
  6. Current Work Colleagues
  7. Past Work Colleagues
  8. Parents’ Friends and Family Friends
  9. Special Interest Group Friends (such as music / art classes, sports teams, etc)
  10. Neighbours (may not be applicable)
  11. Any outliers from your social circuit who don’t belong to a certain group
    (Go through your Facebook friend list or phone book to catch anyone you may have missed)
  12. People you’ve just met that you may have a future friendship with

Once you’ve written all these people down (make sure you allow for their partners / significant others), check your per-head budget and venue capacity.



Start culling

Now it’s time to cull the list down to fit your budget & venue capacity!


Go through the list of people who are not “must haves” and ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Have I, my parents or my fiancé caught up with this person (IN PERSON) in the last 12 months?
  2. Do we have plans to see this person in the next 12 months?
  3. If we know this person from work, do we catch up with them outside of work?
  4. Will our parents be upset, or will it create family drama if they aren’t invited?
  5. Will they tear up the dance floor, or add to the presence of the wedding day?
  6. Did they invite me to their wedding?
  7. Have I talked about my wedding with them?
  8. Are our parents paying for this person?
  9. Would I be happy to shout this person dinner?

If your answer is “NO” to 3 or more of the above questions, then definitely cull them from the list! Even if you’ve answered “no” to 1 or 2 questions, have a serious think about whether they should be on the list at all.



Significant Others

If you are keeping them on the invite list, you will need to decide whether to invite their significant other.

Significant Other

Invite them If they’re in a serious relationship. This means you should invite them if they:

  • Are married
  • Are engaged
  • Have children together
  • Have been together for a long time (you can decide how long is long)

If it’s a new relationship, don’t feel obligated to invite the partner.

I hope this helps!




Now I would love to hear from you!

What dramas have you faced when planning out your guest list and how did you get around them?


2 Comments on How to Create a Party or Wedding Guest List

  1. Beth
    July 3, 2018 at 6:09 pm (2 years ago)

    Oh man! This was such a problem area for my partner and I. Our parents wanted to invite all kinds of people that we didn’t even know and never met. It was a bit of a fiasco.

    The one bit of advice I have is to set a limit to the number of people allowed from the very beginning.

    • admin
      July 5, 2018 at 4:00 pm (2 years ago)

      What solid advice Beth! If parents really want to get involved, then let them know at the start that you can have X number of people, and they can have X number of people, etc. That way they can manage their own list and you can manage yours.


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