Wedding photographer, Starbucks enthusiast, and lover of all things romance and weddings.

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Whether you’re deciding to cut your guest list because or your venue maximum. Maybe your budget doesn’t allow for a 250 person wedding, your budget is smaller or your wedding has been impacted by a global pandemic. Are you worried you may hurt peoples feelings or you will later regret not inviting someone? You are totally valid in those emotions. My hope is this guide will take the stress out making decisions that make sense. So pull that excel sheet out with all your guest names on it. Let’s dig in to how to cut your guest list with no drama.

Couple just married coming back down the aisle laughing as flower petals are thrown over top of them at Bluebridge Event Center in Grawn Michigan. cut your guest list

List your MUST attend guests

The start if your guest list should be your immediate family and close extended family. Yup that group of cousins you grew up with count. If you personally know the family member and have a relationship with them they should be invited. The easiest place to add a lot of people are family. I know you want family to attend, but do you really know your moms third cousins daughter Do you know them enough to spend $85 on their dinner or more? If the answer is no scratch them off.

Plus ones, yup kids count here too

Your sister, who is a bridesmaid, just started dating a new guy a week ago or your big sister in the sorority has been with her beau for eight months. Who do you say no to? Make this a hard fast rule across the board. If they are not engaged or haven’t been together a few years, don’t take up the space on the guest list.

A flower girl at a wedding reception looking at the camera holding a photo booth smile on a stick prop in front of her mouth. A little boy dressed in a T-Rex costume dancing at a wedding reception at Waldenwoods Wedding Venue in Howell Michigan. Cut your guest list.

Kids on the guest list, was always one of those questions I use to get in my planning days. Do I really have to invite kids to our wedding? I usually throw a few questions back to help you decide. Do you want kids on your dance floor during the party part of the night? Is there a chance you want their parents there, but they won’t be able to get a sitter because they’re also at your wedding? Do you want to pay for $15-$30 chicken nuggets for the kids meal? Do you anticipate most of the adults will be drinking heavier as the night wears on? If the answer to all of these leans toward not having kids attend, then I would say you have your answer. Still unsure then create an age cutoff, a good starting point I always say is 16 years old and up.

I was invited to their wedding am I suppose to invite them to mine

If you ask Emily Post this question she says if they invited you to theirs you should reciprocate. I however say there are other things that can factor in to this decision. How long ago was their wedding and have you seen them since? What is your relationship with them now? If you’re close then yes, but if you haven’t seen them since their wedding day and its been a few years then you have no commitment to invite them.

An entire wedding including guests standing outside of the Waldenwoods Lodge in Howell Michigan. Cut your guest list

Who to invite from work

If you’re like me and a social butterfly you make friends pretty quick. Maybe the ladies at work through you a work wedding shower. Does it mean you have to extend a wedding invitation? The answer is truly dependent on your relationship with the individual. If you spend time with them outside of work or consider them a close friend then absolutely. However you don’t have to include Pam and her husband Jim if you say hi in the break room.

Ditch the B + C lists

While they seem like a good idea in the long run, you know people talk. Even if you allow enough time to send these during the RSVP window. It’s likely Pam is going to ask Angela if she got an invitation. If Angela is on the B list you know there is going to be drama. So save yourself and ditch the extra lists. Don’t send pity invites to add to your guest list or because a seat opened up after you sent the final count to the caterer.

A couple celebrating and dancing at a wedding at Sutton Barn in Whitmore lake Michigan. A guest at a wedding dancing with their hands in the air at a wedding at the Ann Arbor Polo Club in Ann Arbor Michigan. Cut your guest list

When in doubt cut in groups!

If you decide your list is too large and you can’t find an agreement on some guests. Look at cutting groups. Maybe it is all 50 of your college friends & instead just the two couples you go camping every summer with. Same with those second or third cousins your parents are insistent should be there, but you don’t even know their names.

Final thoughts

If you choose to have a B, list then just make sure you have time to get those out without it being obvious to the guest. If you’re on the fence about inviting someone ask yourself, will they make your wedding more fun or ditch after dinner. Make some rules for you and your partner from the get go. Whether it’s no plus ones, no kids under 16, or you haven’t spoken to them in the last three years. Set the rules out clear from the start to avoid debating and arguing later on. Be realistic at the beginning of your planning. You know your venue can only fit 100 people so don’t build a list of 300. Finally, avoid last minute add-ons they end up costing you in the long run.

An entire wedding including guests standing on the stage at the Crofoot  looking at the camera.

These are just some things I have learned over time. We all wish we could invite everyone to celebrate with us, but the reality is no venue can hold everyone. Hopefully this how to cut your guest list with no drama will help you during planning. Not to mention let you off the hook on those obligations you thought you had to maintain from years ago!

Are you a couple impacted by COVID? Are you looking for a photographer or just trying to get guidance on how to get through this? This entire webpage is just for you!


How to: Cut your guest list with no drama

Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017


Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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