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10 Big questions to ask before deciding your wedding guest list

Some couples would love to invite everyone they’ve ever met. Other couples would prefer to keep the guest list intimate and meaningful.

Everyone is different and that’s okay. In reality, there are plenty of other factors you will need to take into consideration when planning this crucial aspect of your wedding. Here are the questions you should ask yourselves before deciding who gets an invite.

  1. What is our dream list?

Start big and have fun! Sit down with your fiancé and create your dream list. Include everyone you’d like to have share your special day if money, space and family politics were no issue. This way you’ll know what your ultimate goal is.

  1. Is the split fair?

There will be some guests that both of you know, such as mutual friends, but most people will probably fall under the category of either one of you. Create a shared list and then ensure that the remainder of the guests are divided equally between the two of you. There may be instances where there is a compromise – for example if the groom has a huge family but the bride only has a handful of relatives. The important thing is that you are both happy with the agreement.

  1. Who can go on the B list?

If your dream list is just too big, split it into an A and a B list. Your potential guests don’t need to know this, but you can send a first round of invites out to the A list and then for each decline you receive, you can invite someone from the B list. The A list must include everyone you absolutely have to have attend your wedding. The B list is only for those you can possibly consider not having at your wedding.

  1. How many can our venue accommodate?

If you’ve already secured a venue you can’t invite more guests that your venue can comfortably accommodate. You also don’t want to book a very large venue and have it feel empty if you invite too few people. It’s best to have a good idea of your guest list before you put down a deposit. You might be prepared to tailor your list a little for the perfect venue! Best of all is falling in love with a flexible space like Hudson’s.

  1. What is our budget?

Your number of guests is the single biggest factor in determining the overall price of your wedding. Costs for venue, food, drinks, flowers, décor, stationery and favours will all be affected by this variable. The more guests you invite, the less you will be able to spend per person. Working out the true cost per guest by taking into account all of these wedding items can empower you to be a bit more brutal when it comes to cutting down on your guest list.

  1. Will we invite children?

If this is a question you’re grappling with, read our blog post that addresses this often-contentious issue.

  1. Will we invite partners?

It would be lovely to allow every guest to bring along a plus one but even if space allows, it’s expensive! In addition, if it is someone you’ve never met, why would you want a total stranger at your wedding? It might be helpful to apply some rules here – such as only inviting partners that your guest is either married to or living with.

  1. Have either us of spoken to them in the last two years?

If your list is out of control this is a great “cutting question”. If you’re not related and you’ve not been in touch for a long while you can consider crossing their name off the list.

  1. Are we inviting them because we feel we have to?

Try to avoid guilt induced invites. Most people understand that weddings are expensive and will be more understanding than you think. Developing a prepared stock phrase such as “of course we’d love to have everyone but unfortunately our venue and budget just doesn’t allow” can help navigate tricky conversations.

  1. Are our parents having their own guest lists?

Don’t forget to take your parents’ wishes into account from the outset, especially if they are contributing financially. You might be surprised by who they want to include. This is something best tackled and agreed early on before too many decisions are made.


At Hudson’s venue we have the flexibility to accommodate weddings of all sizes – from 50 to 300 guests. Take our virtual tour or book a real-life tour to see our beautiful venues.

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