January 14, 2023

The Ultimate Guide to Cutting Your Wedding Guest List

Creating a guest list isn’t easy. It starts with one list, then another, and so on and so forth until you have a short enough list to work with. You’ll have a lot of opinions thrown your way on who you should and shouldn’t invite. But we’re here to give you the only advice you need: stick true to the wedding you want.

When you get engaged, you gush over the details. You tell everyone. You change your Facebook status. You log into Pinterest and start pinning like an absolute madperson. It’s so easy to be swept up into the fun side of weddings. But, there are moments reality hits you and you realize it’s time to decide who to invite.

Should you ask that Aunt you haven’t seen in 10 years just for a gift? Because mom, dad, or grandma said so? The answer is no; you don’t have to.

When you sit down and think about who you want to invite, think about the most important people in your life. I know it’s easy to invite everyone so there are no hard feelings amongst family. But in all honesty, family sucks sometimes. Plus, your venue might only hold a certain amount of people, especially in colder months when you can’t take advantage of outdoor spaces. So what’s the best way to cut down your guest list? 

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Cutting down your guest list 

First, figure out how many people you can or want to invite – this depends largely on the venue and budget. Determine ironclad rules like who gets to bring a +1, if kids are allowed, etc.

Create a list with two columns labeled “family,” and “friends.” Highlight the people who are most important to you and your partner. The people you couldn’t imagine celebrating your big day without.

From there, add in your second-closest family and friends and so on until you get to your max amount of invites.

Don’t be scared to eliminate family members you haven’t spoken to outside of your yearly family reunion. Don’t feel bad leaving out coworkers, roommates, or friends you’ve lost contact with. It’s YOUR day and no one else’s. Leave awkward social obligations at the door.

Don’t let your parents get under your skin. 

Sometimes parents or other vocal family members will try to pressure you into inviting someone you’d rather not. And inviting someone on the premise of them possibly giving you money or a gift is NOT a reason to invite them to your wedding. If you feel the pressure to invite someone, invite them to the dance/reception only. Cut up your list into sections like ceremony, dinner, dance/reception. This helps with the budget and allows you to invite people without it over-complicating your big day.

What should you do with your single friends?

Don’t feel obligated to add +1s to invites just because you want your friends to know someone at the wedding. Weddings are great opportunities to meet new people, and who knows, they might “hook up” or meet “the one”!

If you feel bad about not inviting them, do as we suggested above and invite them to the dance! We promise, most people do not feel like they are uninvited or less loved because you didn’t invite them to the ceremony portion. They are just happy to be celebrating with you. 

These are the things we’ve learned through the years by helping clients, friends, and family members plan their weddings. Remember, this is your wedding, not a large town party. Share it with the people you love and care about most. Communicate with your partner, venue, caterer, and photographer – we can all help you figure out how to accommodate however many people you invite.

Need a rad photographer? 

We at Natural Intuition Photography have been photographing weddings for over a decade. With our super-secret combo of making people laugh, harnessing the best light, and pumping up two people in love, we take some pretty rad photos. If you’re looking for natural, journalistic-style photos you can treasure for a lifetime, we’ll get along just fine.