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Our Top Tips for Building Your Wedding Guest List

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Building a guest list is typically one of the first challenges couples face in the planning process. Juggling family, friends, your parents’ friends, colleagues and plus-ones is overwhelming. Follow these tips to help build a list that allows all your loved ones to attend and your budget to remain intact.

Song lyrics displayed on a clear board with musical notes and green foliage and flowers behind.
Divya Pande Photography

SET PRIORITY LISTS

A

Priority List A are the guests that need to be in attendance at your wedding. This should make up the bulk of your list.

 

Wedding Party Members 

Immediate Family

Readers, Ushers, House Party 

Secondary Family (Grandparents,

Aunts/Uncles, Cousins, Nieces/Nephews)

 

B

Priority List B are those you would like to have there and those who expect to be invited.

 

Close Friends 

Extended Family 

Family Friends

 

C

Priority List C are the first guests you can cut should your guest list be too long for your budget.

 

Colleagues

Other Friends, New Friends 

Parent’s Friends

Colleagues

 

* 80% of in-town guests will most likely attend

60% of out-of-town guests will attend *

 
Wedding Guest tables displayed on 3 signs set on a wooden table
Josh Plus Dana Photography

TIPS FROM THE PROS:

 

 Matching your guest count to your budget (not just your venue’s capacity) is going to be key for setting yourself up for a successful – and less stressful – wedding planning experience. Keep in mind that each extra guest doesn’t just add to your food & beverage cost. Each additional guest requires more invitations, more escort cards, more slices of cake, more favors, additional linens, tables, chairs, and centerpieces, and a larger transportation vehicle.

 ALSO….

 If you’re having issues with parents who aren’t contributing to the budget insisting on you inviting guests who didn’t make your A-List, I’d recommend putting together a true per-person cost including the additional costs I mentioned above and request that, if they insist on including these people, that they contribute the amount to cover their attendance. Usually once people understand the “price tag” for adding more attendees, they’ll back off. 

Skylar Caitlin, Chancey Charm Houston

 

It’s most important to look at your budget first and plan to stick to it! Have a conversation with your planner and/or caterer to discuss the cost per person for food and beverage because this is where it’ll be impacted the greatest. From here – set your number of total guests that you can accommodate to build your lists (A, B, and C). Plus ones are tricky to figure sometimes out but a general rule I like to use is this: 1. Bridal party – if they are in a relationship then they are to be invited and written on the invitation) 2. Engaged couples – to be included in the invitation by name as well and lastly 3. Dating – if they are currently in a relationship, and if guest count allows, they can be included on the invitation as “and guest”. 

 

Alexandra Stephens, Chancey Charm Charlotte

ARE YOU READY TO HAND OFF THE STRESS OF PLANNING OR DESIGNING YOUR WEDDING?

 

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Our professional wedding planners are laying out their exact steps to build your wedding guest list. #weddingplanningadvice #weddingplanningtips #guestlist

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Welcome to Chancey Charm! We’re a team of experienced wedding planners, in destination wedding locations across the country. With over 150 published weddings and editorials under our brand, we’ve served 500+ happy couples with custom design boards and inspirational sketches since 2011. We’ve been named a top planner by Southern Living Magazine and featured on Martha Stewart.

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