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Mapping Out Your Guest List

Blog July 11 2021

After getting engaged, one of the first things that you and your new fiancé are going to want to do is tackle your guest list. Before booking any major vendors, it’s important to get an approximation of how many guests you will be expecting. The last thing you want to do is fall in love with a venue that only holds 150 people and you end up with a list of 250. Thankfully, we’ve got some tips on the best ways to map out your guest list.

Start Big, Pare Down

When you’re first putting your guest list together, think about everyone you’d like to invite to your wedding – friends, family, co-workers, kids, pets. Think of everyone first, don’t limit yourself. Once you have that initial list, if the list is too long (which it likely is for most couples), then you want to start narrowing it down. Create “cut rules” and follow them. Haven’t seen or talked to your high school bestie in 5 years? You can probably cut him or her from the list. That second cousin you only see at family reunions once every 2 years can probably also be removed.

Family Input

It is inevitable that both of your families will have opinions about the guest list. After you and your fiancé have created your own list, ask your parents who they would like to invite and have them section off their lists by must-haves, like-to-haves and nice-to-haves. Combine all of your lists and see where you’re at; if it’s still too high, it’s time to think about stricter cut rules or adjusting for it in your budget.


Deciding who gets a plus-one is really up to you. The key is to come up with a rule and then stick to it, so that everyone gets treated the same. For example, you can choose to give everyone who is single a plus-one, or only to those who are in a serious, long-term relationship. Or only invite those plus-ones that you’ve personally met.

For destination weddings, there is one caveat to this rule- if there is someone who won’t know anyone else at the wedding, you’ll want to give them the option of bringing a plus-one. Since they will be flying out to your wedding, you don’t want them to be lonely or potentially stay home simply because they’d feel alone. In that instance, you’ll want to give them a guest so that they’re comfortable and will have a good time.

Drafting your guest list can be one of the more challenging aspects of wedding planning, but if you go into it with a set of rules, keeping your vision and budget in mind and these suggestions, you should be able to fly through it!

Posts of Interest:

5 Ways To Finalize Your Guest List

Simplifying The Guest List

Making The Most of Your Prismm Account

Jamie Chang is the owner of Mango Muse Events, a leading destination wedding planning company based in the San Francisco Bay Area and serving destination couples all over the world. She is also the creator of Passport to Joy, a step-by-step program that guides couples in planning their own destination wedding.


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