Solve the Mystery of Your Guest List

One of the most important considerations for all of your wedding planning is your guest list. Almost every part of the wedding will be based on how many people will be attending, so you need to get a handle on this early on in the process. Inviting everyone that you know and love would obviously be the best case scenario if money was no object, but you have to be realistic. There are many ideas on how to do this, but we will give you a few rules to try to stick to so that you have all of the important people in your life without breaking the budget. 

Place setting for guests at a wedding

Eliminate Groups

 Try putting your guests into groups and eliminate entire groups if you need to reduce your number of guests. 

Groups could include: 
                Sports teams 
                Book club or church group 
                1st / 2nd cousins 

Usually if you invite one member of one of these groups, you have to invite them all. An exception to this of course, is if a person falls into two groups. Then it may be possible to invite them without offending others in the group. (Like if you hang out with one or two co-workers outside of the office and you decide to eliminate the office group.) 

Group photo of guests at a winter wedding


This is a tough one, especially if you have a flower girl and ring bearer, or if you have nieces and nephews that will be attending. Some parents will question why their children weren’t invited when they see other children, but you can’t turn away your own family. You don’t want to insult parents, but it is a huge expense, and small children can really steal the show at a wedding. Unless you are really into kids, this is an acceptable exception, and a wedding practice that is becoming more popular, especially with the added costs associated with today’s weddings. That being said, check with your venue to see if they have kids menu and reduced pricing for the children you will be inviting. 

Photos of children attending a wedding

Questions to ask to narrow your guest list down:

Would you take this person to dinner and pay? Because that’s exactly what you are doing. If the answer is no, cross them off the list. 
Have you spoken to this person in the last year? If the answer is no, cross them off the list. 
Were you invited to their wedding? (In the last 18-24 months- not 5 years ago) If the answer is no, cross them off the list. 
If you weren’t getting married, would you be hanging out with this person in the next 12 months? If the answer is no, cross them off the list. 
Have you talked to this person in the last year? If the answer is no, cross them off the list. 
Has your fiancé ever met this person? If the answer is no, cross them off the list. 
Would this person invite you to their wedding? If the answer is no, cross them off the list. 
Can you imagine your wedding without this person? If the answer is yes, cross them off the list. 

Photo of bridal party at a wedding

The Final Guest List

As a rule of thumb, 10-20% of the people you invite won’t attend, and that number will increase if your venue is far or hard to get to, if you are having your wedding on an off-peak day (or out-of-season), or if you are having a destination wedding. And more than 50% will not respond by your RSVP date making it even harder to narrow down your list and fill any gaps. 

It’s hard to say no to people, but you have to be strategic with your list, and if people ask why they aren’t invited, tell them that the venue wasn’t big enough to invite everyone you wanted to. 

Bride and Bridesmaid laughing

If you have any questions about your guest list, we would love to help you!  Visit us at Avalon Wedding Photography or click below to book a meeting with us.

We have questions about the guest list for our wedding

If you found this article helpful, feel free to share it with a friend, or post it on your own blog or social media.

Hope to hear from you soon! 

Guylaine and Gord 
Avalon Wedding Photography 

April 26, 2021

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