The 5 Step Guide To Planning A Modern Wedding - Guest List - The Maharani Diaries

Let’s face it, creating a wedding guest list is one of the most mind-numbing tasks that a couple has to go through during their wedding planning.

It’s not a fun task and can lead you to a lot of stress and anxiety especially when it comes to sticking within your budget. Your parents will more often than not have a say in this topic given that they are involved in contributing financially and as a result, emotions could possibly run pretty high!

As we’ve discovered though, the simplest and most effective way to plan your wedding guest list is to come up with 3 lists. This will include the:

  • must have
  • you really want to attend
  • invite if you can

By following these 5 tips though, we can assure you that creating a wedding guest list will soon become one of your favourite wedding planning tasks.


The number of guests you invite is going to depend on the budget and the style of your wedding.

As discussed in our previous post, it’s important to set boundaries and expectations with your parents.

Your list will most likely include close friends and work colleagues. As far as family members are concerned though, it might be wise to discuss this with your parents. Have a conversation with them and make sure your views are heard.

Decide on all guest lists and then divide in half for each side. It should essentially be an even number, but if one side does want to invite more guests, then they should chip in more.

Once you have completed this step, you and your partner can shop around for a venue tailored for your wedding guest numbers.

The 5 Step Guide To Planning A Modern Wedding - Guest List - The Maharani Diaries


Negotiating who makes the final cut of your wedding guest list is going to be a pain. As difficult it may sound, establishing tiers allows for movement in your guest list selection.

Always assume that 20-30% of your invitees will not attend your wedding, which means that you can include the guests on your second list, and in this case will be the “you really want to attend” list.

Once you have your venue and numbers confirmed, you can send out “save the date” cards or emails to the top tier guest list. For any “no” responses, you can invite the next tier.

The tricky part about this though is that RSVP’s must arrive on time.


Be realistic about the number of guests invited to your wedding to avoid the stresses.

Remember that each and every guest will add to the catering, cake size, wedding favours, and wedding and reception venues.

The number of guests that you invite should be higher than the capacity of your venue.

If you have budget restrictions, it would be wise to keep numbers on the lower side. However if there is room for movement, then you can play around with numbers to see how much you have to account for. Add or subtract wherever you can. There is nothing wrong with cutting back. After all, it is your wedding guest list and you can decide who attends and who doesn’t.

The 5 Step Guide To Planning A Modern Wedding - Guest List - The Maharani Diaries


Specify in your invitation whether partners, spouses or children are allowed to attend your wedding. Address the guests’ names on the RSVP cards and this way you can avoid any confusion.

Children are always accounted for in your catering budget. Some venues will cater for children’s menus, which cost significantly less than an adult menu, but again if your budget doesn’t allow for it, then there isn’t a need to include children on your wedding guest list.

If the guest includes additional names on their RSVP card, then appropriate action may need to be taken. Politely give the guest a call and explain that whilst you would love to include everyone in your wedding, space and budget is restrictive.

The 5 Step Guide To Planning A Modern Wedding - Guest List - The Maharani Diaries


There might be a point when you realize that not everyone you invited will be able to attend. Don’t feel disheartened about it. This is a good thing. It actually gives you the option to tweak your budget.

Perhaps you don’t reach the minimum spend of the venue, so how about you pimp up the drinks station or dessert bar! Those people who missed out will be uber-jealous when they see what they missed out on hey!

In all seriousness though, be prepared for something like this to happen.

The final tip of course is to choose fun people to invite. The last thing you want at your wedding is unhappy and jealous sods (I’m sure we all know a few peeps like this) spreading their misery guts.

Happy wedding guest listing!

What are your tips for choosing a wedding guest list? Let us know in the comments below.

*Images from top, Away Lands, Especially Amy via Rock My Wedding, Tec Pataja via Brides and Knotty Days

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