The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Guest List

Creating a guest list that is well-organized and problem free can be a tricky task. Spiraling questions like, who to invite, wording, and RSVP options that are the best fit for your guests can flood your mind and make the creation of a guest list a dreadful task, but with some tips and tricks that we’ve collected here at Charlotte’s Bridal, we are here to help make your wedding planning feel like smooth sailing. Here, we listed our favorite tips for adding, removing, and inviting people on your master list.

1. Create a “Master-List”

One of the most beneficial ways to get a solid base for your master list includes reserving a time where you and your fiancé can sit down together to build a list that works for both of you. One way you can start this process is by separately forming two lists, and then arrange a comparison later to see which names match and which one’s stand alone on each other’s guest lists. Once you both have your own lists, it makes it easier to rule people out. This makes certain that you both know who your “MUST HAVES” are. Comparing guests really makes the most important people stand out. In addition, having a master list makes sure that you don’t stray away from an initial headcount, and it helps confirm that you are not over inviting for your venue, catering, etc.

2. Knowing When to Draw the Line on Who is Invited to Your Wedding

As you begin creating your list of desired guests, you may be feeling pressures like when to draw the line on who you want there. There are a couple ways to handle this stressor. One of our favorite ways to ask yourself who you’d like to invite would be the use of a simple flow chart. Don’t worry, we’ve formatted it for you!

Ultimately, there are a lot of other factors that can influence your decision on who you choose to be guests for your special day. For example, maybe they did fit all the categories of ‘no’ in our flow chart above. You may still have a feeling that it wouldn’t be right to celebrate without them on your wedding day.

3. Don’t Feel Pressured to Invite Anybody

Family and friends can have a positive influence on wedding guest selections, but they can also have a negative influence as well. Feeling pressured is never a good feeling and sometimes it can be unavoidable. However, in order to feel less pressure from your loved ones to invite the people they want there, make sure to set your boundaries with them so that they don’t step on you and your fiancé’s toes when selecting your much-loved guests. After all, it’s your wedding, which means you should get the final say on who should be there! Now, we may be biased, but we know you’re strong and confident so make sure to stand your ground and make the decision that best suits you.

4. Don’t Invite Anyone Until You Have Your Final List

We know getting engaged is one of the most exciting things you will do throughout your life, but try to keep calm and hold off with word-of-mouth invites. Sometimes we can get overly excited and invite individuals as we see them. This is great and all, but you don’t want to bite off more than you can chew. Think about your venue (if you have one) and the budget you are working with. How many people can you accommodate? What is the meal costing per plate? Who is paying for the meal? These are all valid questions to keep as a mental note in your head before inviting a distant friend you may pass in the grocery store.

5. Making Certain Guests “Reception Only”

Wording is everything when it comes to inviting your guests. It is what ensures there will be minimal to no confusion. It also makes certain that you presented the appropriate time for select guests to come celebrate you and your fiancé. With this topic in mind, how do you word circumstances like this? We think the best way to word things like this is with the least amount of confusing wording as possible. Phrases like “Celebrate with us!” versus “You are invited to join us later to celebrate our marriage!” both invite them to celebrate with you, but only one gives greater detail to the overall invitation.

6. Allowing a Guests to Bring a Plus One

When you are looking to invite someone to your wedding, it’s a good idea to make sure they are going to feel comfortable. A great way to maintain a comfortable setting for certain guests could be including a “plus one” attached with their invite. So how do you make sure your guests stick to the “plus one” allowance? With this question in mind, we noticed that there are multiple ways to address this. One way would be using words like: designated, provided, granted, and allotted. When placing a phrase on your invite, you could put something along the lines of, “We have designated you 2 seats with your invitation, which means you allowed to bring one special someone with you!”. A saying like this will make sure that you are still being respectful while still setting limits for your event.

Another thing to think about when inviting guests would be what category they fit under. Are they a family member? Out of town guest? Family friend? How long have they been in their relationship? When do you draw the line? Do you know their plus one personally? How many people do they know/ are comfortable with at your event? These are questions that may help you decide who receives a plus one and who will not. Ultimately, it’s your decision, but it’s always nice to keep these inquiries in mind.

7. How to Request an Adult Only Wedding

One thing you have to remember is you cannot please everyone. While it is considerate to involve the whole family, including the little ones, sometimes it can be a little stressful and tiresome. A day like your wedding should be spent with people that make the atmosphere feel romantic and elegant. Sometimes this means leaving the kids at home… One way you can get your wishes across could be including a Q&A on the back of your Save the Date/ Invitation to make sure that your requests are made clear. After all, it is your wedding day so you want it to be one of the most memorable days together. Of course, there may be exceptions you may make for some little one’s in your family, just be mindful on how you choose to break the news. Some wording you may use to break the news could be: “We love your little ones, but we thought you’d like the night off! Please join us for an adult ceremony and reception” or “We want everyone to have a relaxing and stress-free day, so we have chosen to have a child-free reception. We hope you understand and would love to help arrange childcare if needed!”

More information on Save the Dates can be found in our previous blog post titled, “Save the Date Inspo”!

8. RSVP Options

Once you’re finished inviting people to your wedding, it’s nice to know who plans to attend and who is not. Options for RSVPing have an array of formats. Here at Charlotte’s Bridal, we are drawn to the classic method of mail in RSVPs, but we also love the simplicity that comes with formatting an online RSVP option as well.

Mail in RSVPs can present questions that tag along and create extra stresses as well. One example of these questions could be whether to provide a stamp with a mail in RSVP or not to. This could be a question that guides you to take a look at your budget as well. Can you afford to purchase double stamps for your guests to politely send they’re decision back to you? Or will you expect them to purchase their own stamp? You do not want to seem cheap by not supplying the stamp, but you also do not want to seem uncourteous by leaving it out. There are a lot of factors here. This also could guide you to using online RSVPs also.

Online RSVPs are easy to use and becoming even easier to those who are less tech savvy since online formats are becoming more popular. In addition to this, you wouldn’t necessarily have to only pick one format. You could most certainly select who receives certain formats for an RSVP depending on the guest as well. Ultimately, this could mean sending paper invites to some and digital invites to others.

The final thought you should keep in the back of your head for RSVP’s is to keep your RSVP due dates clear and legible that way you make sure you receive all of them back in a timely matter. Making due dates clear will ensure that your guest understand how important it is for you to know approximately how many will plan to attend. This helps with so many factors such as informing your venue, caterers, photographers, and potentially other guests as well.



of your guest list will attend your wedding.