Home | How to Cut Your Guest List Without Hurting Feelings

How to Cut Your Guest List Without Hurting Feelings

by Emma Arendoski

Hi lovelies! Emma here with our latest Ask Emmaline wedding etiquette question. Have you thought about how to cut the guest list for your wedding?

Maybe you are faced with cutting down the guest list for your wedding due to COVID, or you simply need to reduce the guest list size to fit a particular venue or your budget. Whatever the reason may be, we’ll tell you how to cut your guest list without hurting anyone’s feelings.

No one ever said planning the guest list was easy, and if they did, we determined that was a lie!

by bronze age antiques

Found this card the other day and it made me laugh, so good! By the talented Bronze Age Antiques.

And we laugh, but it’s serious stuff, cutting that wedding guest list. So we’re here to help you achieve the perfect number of wedding guests you’ll feel comfortable with… promise!

And before we get started, remember to relax. It’s so easy to feel guilt not inviting everyone and their cousin (literally), but sometimes you need to cut the list of guests and downsize the wedding. Such is life! We’ll get you through it without the guilt or hurting anyone’s feelings.

how to cut the guest list without hurting feelings

How to Cut Guest List Without Hurting Feelings

The inspiration of this blog post =comes from bride-to-be, Jennifer, who, like you, is faced with cutting the number of wedding guests from her list.

She writes,

“My fiancé and I just started planning our wedding and the guest list is getting too big, too quickly. The problem is, our reception hall doesn’t hold more than 150 people, which is less than what we already put on our list. How can we cut the guest list without hurting feelings?”

Ah, too big, too quickly: isn’t it surprising how quickly the number really adds up?

Cutting the guest list is one of the toughest things you’ll tackle on your wedding checklist. When you’re blessed to have so many wonderful and supportive people in your life, it’s hard to cut the guest list without hurting anyone’s feelings or getting guilt yourself. The good news? Once you get through it you’ll be past one of the most stressful parts of wedding planning… so there’s that. :)

The first thing you’ll want to do when making your guest list is to start with absolutely essential guests. These VIPs are the people you will absolutely invite to your wedding.

This is sort of an “A” list. It includes:

• Immediate family members
• Grandparents
• Close friends

Once you complete this list and add a “plus one” for each, how many guests do you have in total?

If space allows, great! Move on to the next list:

• Extended family members
• Friends
• Colleagues

If you add a plus-one to each of the above, who can you still include without going over budget — and overwhelming your space?

Chances are, now you’ll need to start cutting the guest list down a bit. Consider the following questions when you write down each person’s name: are you still very close? Would your wedding day be the same without them? When is the last time you saw them in person, or spoke?

Sometimes in our minds, we’re still extremely close to someone when in reality, we’re really not that close at all. Life brings us together, brings us apart, and sometimes brings us back around; other times, it opens up life to new people and experiences.

Try to whittle down the guest list until you get to a number you can be comfortable with… and then if you still need to trim the guest list, try these next three steps.

How to Limit Wedding Guest List

Here are three ways to cut the guest list in half — and limit the wedding guest list as a whole.

1. Inviting Guests from The Past

When considering a guest at your wedding, will he or she be a part of your future? Have you been in touch lately, in the past year at least? If you’ve lost touch, it’s OK to cut them from your list.

2. Including Your Work Friends

Also, don’t feel pressure to invite everyone from work: if you aren’t friends outside of work, it’s perfectly acceptable to not invite them.

3. Making an Adults Only Wedding Guest List

Another tip: consider an adult-only reception (without inviting children). Note: do this with your invitations to make inviting adults only a breeze!

Guest List Printable

Once it’s complete, try this handy guest list printable we spotted at CalvinLaneDesigns. It makes it convenient to include a full list of guests, keep track of RSVPs, and even place them at tables when the time comes for seating guests at particular place settings. (Let me tell you, that’s also a doozy — but we’ll get you through it! Ha!)

by calvin lane designs

And there you have it! The bottom line: once you finalize your guest list, stop feeling guilty! You won’t make 100% of people happy 100% of the time. So, relax. The hard part of cutting the guest list is done if you’ve followed the above steps. Move on and have fun planning!

It’s best to get the guest list out of the way so you tackle the next steps: save the dates, invitations, and themes.

Thanks so much for writing!

Discuss: Do you have to cut the guest list?

Do you have questions regarding how to cut the guest list? Did you find it to be an easy task or a difficult one to cut guests from your guest list? Are you having a big or small wedding? Comment below!

Hope it helps!


P.S. Want more wedding planning advice? Get the book!

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