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How to Make An Effective Guest List For Your Wedding Party

Posted By Rachel Ann Rodrigues

Mar 24, 2020

This is precisely because you cannot depend on a wedding planner to do this for, you need to sit down with your family and fiancé and get the list sorted out.

Wedding planning can be an exhausting process, and making the guest list is the toughest part of the process. This is precisely because you cannot depend on a wedding planner to do this for, you need to sit down with your family and fiancé and get the list sorted out.

Making a guest list can be time consuming and depends on a number of factors. The budget, the capacity of the wedding venue and the intimacy level with the invited matters the most while making a guest list.


One of the most effective ways of making a wedding guest list is to follow the A-D method. Stick by to understand what it truly means!

A-list: The guests you have to invite for the wedding:

These people are the closest, most important people in your life, and your wedding would be incomplete without them. For some couples the number might be ten, for others it might be 100. These include

1. Your parents

2. Your siblings

3. Your best friends

5.  Your Pets


B-list: The people you would really want to see at your wedding:

Usually this list is an extension of the earlier list, however this list requires more thinking and planning, than blindly adding names. This includes the people who you grew up with, spend significant amount of time with and their presence will brighten up the wedding. However, you would be okay if they could not make it last minute.

  1. Grandparents
  2. Uncles and aunts
  3. Cousins
  4. Nieces and nephews
  5. Close circle of friends
  6. Your boss and assistant at work


C-List: the guests you will invite if your budget and venue permits

This is where compromises and sacrifices need to be made. These people are the guests you do not mind inviting, or it will be awkward if you do not invite them. However, when it comes to the wedding venue, you might want to draw a line. These guests are:

  1. Plus ones you do not know very well
  2. Old friends, you are not in touch with
  3. Sports team buddies
  4. Travel buddies
  5. Co-workers


D- list: he people who might or might not make the cut

Depending on the kind of wedding you are having, and what the budget is, these lists come under the not-so-important category. These people are acquaintances or those you meet once in awhile and might feel obliged to invite to avoid embarrassment once you meet them after the wedding.

  1. Neighbours
  2. Friends of parents
  3. Parents of friends
  4. Children of guests
  5. People at the local club
  6. People who invited you to their wedding
  7. All your collegues at work.

This categories are arbitrary and might differ for couples, however it includes all the major groups to be considered.


Follow this guide to make an effective guest list, without missing anyone important out:

  1. What is your wedding style: Are you envisioning an intimate affair with you near and dear ones or looking to have a big gala wedding with hundreds of your friends and relatives from all over? Is it going to be an adult only affair or will kids be a part of your celebrations too? Is it going to be destination wedding, or are you tying the knot in your hometown?
  2. The Budget: Nowadays both the parties share the financial burden of the wedding and split equally between them. It is important to invite only as many as the allocated budget allows. There are a million other expenses to look into in a wedding, so being strict about this is essential.
  3. How to split the list? The easiest and most practical way of splitting the guest list is to divide it into 3 parts- the guests from the bride’s side, the guest from the groom’s side and the guests of the bride and groom. Parents must be informed before hand to stick to the allotted to them and in case they have lesser people to invite do not indulge in filling slots for the sake of it.
  4. Fix your priorities: If the budget is high, then priorities can be a bit blurred, however for a strict budget wedding, there will always be a list of people who are more important than the other. Your immediate family, close relatives and close friends will take precedence over your golf buddies. Do not forget to include neighbours and childhood friends to this category. You have to invite your professional friends and their significant others since you meet them every day and spend a significant time of the day with them. Lastly you must include fellow close members of your club, sport team or any other group you are a part of. Make sure you add the plus-ones, kids and aides.  These numbers are very crucial since number of things such as catering, venue; wedding invites, favours and transportation depend on the number of people being invited.
  5. Stick to the list: Once the list has been made and revised a couple of times, do not change it unless it is to remove someone. The only time you must consider adding someone new is if someone on the list sends their regrets or if the budget increases or you choose a larger venue.
  6. Learn to handle plus ones: If a relative, friend or co-worker you are inviting is married, or is engaged, you must invite the fiancé too. You must also note, that many unmarried people wish to bring along a date along so they do not feel lonely at the wedding. However if you plan on not getting bankrupt by the end of the celebrations, break the news to them that they cannot bring a date with them. Might seem a bit rude, but it is a necessary step.
  7. Figure out who to cut out: Discuss with your family how many members of the extended family should be invited. Relatives you have not kept in touch with for years do not need to feature in the list. Weddings do not necessarily mean a family reunion. You could send them a email announcement after the big day. From work, if you work in a corporate setup, invite your boss and your assistant. Consider inviting your department or the small team of which you are a part. Friends you lost touch with after school or college too do not make it to the list.  Only next-door neighbours and those you grew up with find a spot in the guest list. Calling the entire housing complex to the wedding makes no sense. If you have a friend who has a history of unruly behaviour, you might consider taking them off the list for the sake of others well-being.
  8. Do not get pressurised by your parents: When it comes to making a guest list, drawing boundaries and sticking to them is very important. In most cases, the venue puts the cap on the number of guests, so your parents cannot invite anyone and everyone. It will not be easy to refuse them, but if you bend now you will have to accept requests later on.
  9. If they send a gift, are they invited? : To be honest, this is a tricky question. The answer depends on the equation you share with the person who has sent you a gift early on. Beit a friend of a parent from their yoga class, or sports club, you do not need to invite them. Inviting one such acquaintance can open a can of worms, and you do not want to let anyone felt left out. If the gift comes from a long lost friend, then you could send an invite considering you know this person on a personal note.
  10. Keep buffer space: Usually you start making the guest list a year prior to the wedding date. It is possible that new people will enter your life in a year, and you might want to add new people to the list. It might so happen that you are invited to a wedding of someone who was not in your initial guest list, add them too, that is basic courtesy.


When it is an Indian wedding in question, you cannot please everyone. Amongst your relatives, friends, work mates and acquaintances there will always people who will left out and might feel offended.


Who and how many should you invite to the sangeet, mehndi, wedding and reception?

No, it is not important to invite the same people for all the different wedding rituals. The modern generation is well aware of how expensive hosting a wedding can be. However, the older generation tends to take offence, so it is important you know who should be called for what. Mar on your guest list who is invited to just specific rituals and who will make it to all. It depends on you if you want to inform the guests why they are invited for a specific event and not for all.

Avoid verbally inviting or mentioning the wedding to people, you do not intend to invite in the first place. It will seem rude and might people’s feeling at the end. Even if someone expresses excitement, try to resist the urge of inviting for the sake of it. Keep chanting the mantra “ its an initimate family affair” to anyone who enquires about the wedding. Lastly, consult with your to be spouse if they are comfortable with all the guests invited, if inviting someone makes your better half uncomfortable, avoid extending the invitation.

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