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  • Writer's pictureEvent Planning by Annie

How to Narrow Down your Guest Count

As a general rule of thumb, you should anticipate spending at least $100 per guest on your wedding day, if not more. If you just finished creating your guest list & now you’re worried about how to fit your guests within your budget, here are some tips for how to narrow down your guest count:

wedding guest count

Photo by Conner Koch Photography


1. Eliminate Plus Ones

No, Uncle Brad probably does not need to have his girlfriend of two days at your wedding. If you’re worried about guest count, generally, the only people that should have a plus one are those who are engaged or have been together a long time, or guests who may not know a lot of other people at the wedding. Of course, this decision ultimately comes down to you, your budget, and who you want at your wedding.


2. Create an “A List” and a “B List” of Guests

I know, it sounds like this is in poor taste. However, your guests don’t need to know if they were on the A list or the B. Your A List should be filled with people who you absolutely cannot imagine not being there on your wedding day. Once A List people are done RSVPing, you can begin to invite your B List, filling each “no” RSVP from the A List with a member of the B.


3. Consider Not Inviting Kids

Unless a large majority of your guests have kids, or you want kids at your event, make this occasion a kid-free event and invite parents to have the night off. There are many polite ways to indicate that you don’t want kids in attendance. Check out a few ways to word this on my blog post “How to Politely Say “No Kids” at Your Wedding.”


4. Know When to Say No

Your parents might remind you of some family members you’ve forgotten on your list, but they may also want to invite some of their friends. If these people cannot be accommodated, or you’ve never met them, let your parents know the reality of your situation and come to an agreement. Gently remind your parents that this is a celebration of your love, not a chance for a family and/or friend reunion.


Some other notes on your guest list:

  • A harsh reality - your parents should be able to have a say in who you invite to your wedding day only if they are financially contributing to your event, unless you've made another agreement.

  • Consider who you’ve talked to consistently in the past year. Have you talked to your freshman year college roommate? If not, does he or she need to be invited?

  • Be easy on yourself. Weddings are expensive, and every venue (and budget!) has a maximum capacity. You may not be able to accommodate everyone who has ever been in your life, and that’s OKAY!!

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