How to decide which guests to invite to a wedding

Emily Barske

Many couples getting married obviously choose to have guests at the wedding to celebrate their marriage with them. Each couple will have budgetary and personal restrictions when putting together the guest list, and it can sometimes be difficult to choose who makes the cut. Here are some tips couples can use for setting the lineup.

The first thing a couple should do is decide the amount of guests they would like at the wedding, according to In this first step, couples should keep in mind what their budget is and their personal preferences for the number of people they would like in attendance.

However, sometimes the couple is not the only stakeholder in choosing wedding guests, but so are the parents of the couple. If this is the case, a couple might decide to choose 50 percent of the guests themselves and let the parents of each person decide on 25 percent of the guests, according to

To make sure tensions don’t arise with in-law invites, couples should set ground rules and stick by them so one person’s parents don’t overrule the guest list, according to

After deciding the number of wedding guests, the couple might start the list making by putting together a “dream list,” according to On this list, the couple should put every person they may possibly want at their wedding.

While this list may be far too lengthy for their budget or preferences, it will give the couple a starting place to begin eliminating guests. Deciding who to cut from a list might be difficult for some couples, but they can make it easier by setting rules for the process, according to

One rule might be allowing only family members to bring a “plus one” and not extending an extra invite for their friends to bring a date. Or the couple might only invite family and friends they see on a regular basis.

If the list is still too lengthy, the couple might separate the list into two lists — one with people they must have at the wedding and one with people they want at the wedding, but not as much as those on the must-be-there list, according to  

Couples might send out invites to the must-be-there list and depending on the number of RSVPs they receive, continue sending invites to the latter list at a later date.

Ultimately, the couple should choose the best guest list it can without sacrificing personal and budget preferences, but they should also prepare to answer any questions people have about why someone wasn’t invited. suggests having a response prepared such as, “Of course we’d love to invite everyone, but unfortunately with the venue space and our budget, we aren’t able to.”