Ultimate Guest List Planning Guide 

 You’re engaged and…everyone is congratulating you and maybe expecting an invitation, right?  

But unless you have an unlimited budget, you can’t invite everybody!  

Nailing down the guest list is key – not only for being surrounded by your ideal group of people on your special day but also for staying within your wedding budget and within your venue’s capacity!  

Usually, the larger the guest list, the larger the costs you will incur (but there are exceptions). 

Here are our best tips for getting your guest list right:  

  • Decide on a method! – Some couples use the “rule of thirds” method – one-third of the guest list for the bride, one-third for the groom and the other third is split between both sets of parents. Other couples find the 50-25-25 rule is better, where 50% of the guests are chosen by the couple and 25% goes to the bride’s parents and 25% to the groom’s parents.
  • Pick a rule – What’s your golden rule? Are you inviting a limited group of extended family (e.g. only first cousins but not second cousins)? Are co-workers invited? Are kids above 12 invited, all kids or no kids at all? Are plus-ones invited for everyone? Just remember that typically, plus-ones are required for those who are married, engaged or in a common-law relationship. Single friends or co-workers do not have to be invited with a plus-one, but that decision is at the couple’s discretion.
  • Start off with a huge list – Yes…go ahead and put down everyone you would like to invite. Then, put a tick next to each name based on: if you absolutely want them there and/or whether you saw them in the last 12 months. The people who have one or two ticks beside their name, go on your “A List.” The others can be divided into a B or C list.
  • Stagger those invitations – Those on your A list should get their invitations first, ideally about 8- 10 weeks before the wedding (or a longer time-frame for foreign guests, since they need more time to plan). After you start receiving RSVPs from your A list (give this a 2 week maximum. If you don’t hear back, you can call and follow-up) then you can start sending out to your B and C list, depending on the A-listers’ response.



  • Inviting Your Boss or not? – This really is a personal choice. It depends on how much you want to keep your work life and personal life separate. You definitely don’t have to do so out of any obligation or “wedding rule.” Think about whether this would make you comfortable or not? And what type of rapport you currently have with your boss? It also depends on your work environment – is everyone social and grabs drinks together end of the week? Or is it a much more professional environment, where people are not close outside of work? If the work environment is small and the atmosphere is friendly and you are inviting other co-workers but excluding your boss – then he/she may feel left out. If you really don’t want to deal with any office drama at all, it is OK not to invite anyone from the office!