The Dos + Don'ts When Putting Together a Guest List
June 26, 2017
Creating your guest list can be one of the most fun – or most dreaded – tasks when planning your wedding. Between keeping your parents happy and managing your budget, who and how many people you invite will have a major impact on your big day. That's why the experts at Cristen & Co. are here to help! From b-lists to plus ones, they share the dos and don'ts of putting together your guest list.

1. Establish Your Budget First

Think about your total wedding budget before you create your guest list because the more people you invite, the more you will be spending. The average cost for a wedding here in New England for 150 guests is between $60,000 - $70,000. You have to choose – and pay for – a venue with the capacity to fit your total guest count, and you'll have to pay for food and beverage, invitations, stationery, rentals like place settings and chairs, florals for centerpieces and more based off of the number of people you invite. The cost of a wedding adds up quickly, and you need to be realistic about how many people you can afford to have attend.

2. Begin With Your Nearest + Dearest

After determining your total wedding budget, begin writing down your immediate family members and closest friends. The be mindful who is footing the bill of your wedding – if your parents are gifting you the budget for your wedding, make sure you give them the opportunity to invite some guests, too. If you have the budget, then feel free to add more guests after that.

3. It's Okay to Be Exclusive

You don't have to invite everyone under the sun! Remember, you don't necessarily have to invite work colleagues – you may or may not be at the same job forever, and if you aren't super close with them, then don't spend the additional money to invite them. Ensure all the important people are there first!

4. Should You Have a B-List?

I get this question quite often from my couples, especially if we are working within a certain budget but they have super large families or friend groups. You can definitely expect roughly 10-15 guests that won't be able to attend, so if you are going to have a b-list, create it early on. Don't put close friends or immediate family on a b-list, instead think acquaintances, colleagues or extended family members. Have a second set of RSVP cards printed with a later date for your b-list group. Remember, don't send a save-the-date to your b-list.

5. The Rules of the "Plus One"

If you’re inviting a family member or friend that is engaged to be married, it is expected to give them a plus one. If your friend or family member has a very serious boyfriend or girlfriend and you know their significant other, it would be proper etiquette to give them a plus one as well! However, if it is a single guest, and they aren't dating anyone, you do not have to give them a plus one. Most single guests tend to expect a plus one and can sometimes be a little upset if they don't get it, but it is up to you and your wedding budget if you want to allow it or not. However, be mindful of your single guests and seat them around mutual friends so you know they will have a good time!