How to Create, Organize, and Narrow Down a Wedding Guest List

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Before you start narrowing down your list of wedding guests, you should have a better idea of how many people you will need to invite.  It wouldn’t make sense to invite 400 people if your wedding venue has a max capacity of 140 guests.  Also consider that if you invite 300 guests, only 200 may attend.  First you should ask yourself, “How many guests do I want to attend my wedding?”  After you figure out how big of a wedding you want, use our wedding guest count estimate calculator to know how many people to add to your final wedding guest list to end up with your wedding size goal.  The wedding guest calculator makes it quick and easy to know how many people to invite to your wedding.  If you are planning to celebrate with a destination wedding, use our destination wedding guest attendance calculator instead.

A simple way to organize your wedding guest list is to rank, or prioritize, your guests by how important it is to you and your partner that someone attends your wedding.  You can rank guests A, B, C, and so on or by priority of 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.  Guests on the A/1st list would be your closest family and friends.  In other words, these are the people that you want to have the best seats in the joint.  Then you will add your next tier of family and friends to your next priority list B/2nd.  Then, if necessary, you can add your next tier of family and friends to your next priority list C/3rd.  Don’t forget to include each guest’s plus ones.  Add up all guests on all lists and their plus ones to calculate the total number of guests to invite.  Continue this process until you reach the total number of people you need to invite based on your desired result from the wedding guest count estimate calculator.

By starting your guest list invitations with your A/1st priority list and calculating your wedding guest count estimate, you will have minimal guest list trimming to do.  If you do have to narrow down your list a little, you would look at your lowest ranked list and start from the bottom and work your way to the top if necessary.  If you follow this advice, you won’t have to take off too many names.       

As a bonus, prioritizing your guest lists will also help you create and organize your seating charts.  The higher the prioritization, the better seat a guest should be placed in.  On the other hand, guests on the lower prioritized lists will fill up the far back tables and chairs.  Hopefully your step-sister’s ex-boyfriend, Garrett, will understand.

We highly recommend using our simple-to-use wedding guest list manager to organize your priority lists.  With this free tool, you will be able to easily follow our advice to finalize your wedding invitation list.  You can also find our seating chart tool.  They’re both free if you sign up for a complimentary account on weddingdive.com.  If you prefer, you can use Microsoft Excel to add, delete, sort, and organize wedding guest lists too.

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Browse some of our other articles with helpful wedding ideas:

Getting Married in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Getting Married in Sintra, Portugal

What Percentage of Guests Attend Destination Weddings

Getting Married in Lake Como, Italy

Wedding Guest Count Estimate Calculator