Life loving life wedding planning

Building The Guest List

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Ok, so you’re engaged. Now what?!?!
There are a million things you need to ask yourself, but in my personal opinion, your guest list is going to be one of the most important.
As many of you know, I’m getting married in about 3 months. We had a little over a year to plan, and I can honestly say that the guest list has been the most difficult task we’ve encountered during our planning process!
What I recommend is to get your budget locked in. Please, please, please, don’t go into your marriage with massive debt! You can totally do what you want, it’s your life, and your day, but I urge you to weigh out the pros and cons.
You will quickly find out that guests will be one of your largest expenses. Photography should be up there too, but I’ll save that for a different post. Every guest will need to eat, drink, and be hosted properly. You will need to send them Save The Dates (if you chose to do so),  Invitations, Thank You’s, and send them home with favors (again, if you choose to! They aren’t mandatory!).
We first had a list of over 80 guests, but by process of elimination, we cut it to about 55. We honestly wanted a smaller ceremony and reception from the beginning, and decided that we’d like to share our day with mainly our family members.
Guest list guilt is totally a thing, but don’t let it alter your judgement. I’m still dealing with this myself, but I have to stay strong!!! We are about to order our invitations in the next week or two and once it’s done, it’s done!


  • Make a rough draft list with your fiancé. Start with family i.e. Mother, Father, Siblings, Grandparents, etc…
  • Add your best friends. The people both of you call or text when something big happens in your life.
  • Think about all those family friends. Every family has them! Add your mothers best friend, and fathers best friend. The people who have been around, but aren’t blood related.
  • If you’re still writing down names, add everyone else the two of you can think of. Sometimes parents or family want to chime in and add guests…make sure to account for them too!

So you have your list. Take that list and times the number of people on it by the cost per person you received from your venue. Then add at least $5 per person for cake (this is a rough estimate, and only if it’s not included in your venue), and about $15 per person for taxes and other fees that your venue might be charging you.
If you’re happy with the amount…congrats!!!! You’re done! Now on to the next task!
If not, you need to cut your list. This is honestly one of the best ways to cut costs, unfortunately.
The way we did it was easy. We kept all our family members down to cousins, and cut the friends we hadn’t seen in over 2 years.
Seems a bit drastic because you might want to invite everyone (like me!), but sometimes that isn’t very realistic.
I hope my advice can help you out a bit!! Good luck and happy planning!!
xoxo – Nikol

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