Preparing the Guest List

When planning a wedding, the most difficult task is preparing the guest list, some couples end up creating this huge list of guest which 20% you have no communication with in years, then to realize they’ve moved or will not be able to attend, this is why I as a planner let my brides & grooms know how important it is to concentrate on your guest list.

Make sure you take time writing, re-writing, re-reading and decide together on who should or should not remain there. It has come to my attention how social media has taken a huge way of communicating with guests, I’ve seen brides create a wedding guest list or RSVP facebook page, Although e-mailing wedding invitations isn’t considered proper, asking guests to RSVP by e-mail is becoming more common.

Table plan black lace

Whenever I start organizing a party, regardless of how big or small, one of the first things I like to do is sit down and come up with the guest list.
Why do I do this so early in the process? The number of people at your event will effect every aspect of planning and decorating. Keeping this number in mind (even if its just an estimate) will help you focus and stay on budget.
  • Location: Home or outside the home? Everyone’s answer to this question will vary depending on (1) how many people you are planning to invite, (2) how much space you have available, and (3) your ability to adapt the available space to your needs. For example, if you have a large backyard and are planning a party you might be better off saving the money you’d spend on renting a space and spend it on getting your backyard party ready.
  • Tables and chairs: Guests need a place to sit! Despite what you may think, people awkwardly standing around hoping to land some space on the couch is not ok. The size of the guest list will help you decide on how many tables and chairs you’ll need to keep guests comfy. If you don’t have enough you can rent. Prices will vary depending on what part of the U.S you live in and what kind of chairs you want, but on average can cost anywhere from $0.75 to $7.00 a chair. Tables will be a few dollars more depending on size and shape (square v. round). Churches and local community centers are also known to rent/lend out tables and chairs for a small fee or donation and sometimes even for free.
  • Food, drink and snacks: Don’t invite people if you can’t feed them. It doesn’t matter if you’re only planning on serving a light meal or finger food, there should be enough of everything for everyone. The size of your guest list will help you determine just how much food you need to order/buy/make yourself. The same goes for the cake: Knowing how many guests you have will help you avoid the mistake of ordering a cake too large and wasting money or ordering too small and having to skimp on the servings.
  • Decorations: A small gathering that’s over decorated will look suffocating and the overall effect lost, while a large party with too few decorations looks rushed and not well thought out. With the number of guests in mind you’ll also have an idea of how much space you need and how to make it flow. It’s important to find a balance between the amount of people that will be there and the use of the space.
  • Party Favors: Show your appreciation for your guests by giving each a special favor. Whether it be small boxes of candies or a handmade gift with sentimental value, guests appreciate receiving something special. Knowing how many you’ll need will let you choose what kind of favors are within your budget for each person and what kind best fits your event.
  • Your time and energy: Be honest with yourself. Who do you reallywant to share your party with? Is the size of the celebration something you can handle right now, or would you be more comfortable with a more intimate get together? This is the time to really think about how much and what you can fit on your plate.


When coming up with my own lists I have one column for the number of adults and another for the children. I do this because children have different wants and interests. Even if it is an event aimed more at adults you should be considerate of your younger guests and think about giving them a space where they can play and be comfortable.


Once I have my list, I add up the names in the two columns and include 5 more just to cover myself in case I’ve forgotten anyone and remember later on. For a wedding or very large event three months before the date should be your limit for editing the guest list in anyway. For smaller parties, two  to three weeks.


Next time you’re planning a party, try this method and see how it works for you!




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s