Writing your Guest List | UK Wedding Blog

guest list

Creating your wedding guest list is hard.

You’d think it would be easy: we know we want our nearest and dearest there to celebrate our day with us, but there are so many things to consider such as babies, plus ones, and more, things can start to get a little fuzzy.

To us, it was equally as important for our guests to have a good day as it was to us; otherwise we’d just nip off to the registry office and do it on the sly. We want the party! But as much as we want to invite everyone and their postman, you’ve got to draw the line somewhere

First things first

It helps a lot if you’ve got a rough idea of numbers before you book your venue, because a lot of places will have a minimum guest allowance. For example, our venue must have a minimum of 70 ceremony guests and 120 in the evening, which sounded like a lot to me, but Rob and I both have big families, so when you start writing down everyone’s names, it really adds up.

Write down the names of all of your immediate family and friends; people you really couldn’t imagine spending the day without. Then move on to your friends – a lot of our friends are mutual to be honest, so it made sense for them to be all-day guests. Rob has some friends and work colleagues I don’t know too well, and likewise with me, so they’re on our evening guest list.

Sounds easy, right?

Nope. There are so many hurdles that can get in your way, and the main one being family members getting involved.

Dealing with the parents

When parents are helping you out financially with the wedding, it may seem like you have to take their advice on who to invite. They mean well, but Rob has family members who I’ve only ever met once, and vice versa, and so you have to make things clear with your parents and in-laws on who you’re inviting and stick to your guns.

“Aren’t you having your sisters as Bridesmaids?” “I can’t believe you’re not inviting Uncle Gary’s cousins wife!” and “You HAVE to invite what’s-her-face to the ceremony because she invited you to hers” will probably crop up a lot. Block it out, girl! It’s your wedding!


Rob and I are at that age where a lot of our friends are having children, our wedding will be somewhat of a Kids Club, I’m sure.

If you don’t want children at your wedding, just say so on the invitation. In all honesty, some parents may be glad of the time off, and if some see it as a snub, then so be it.

I actually don’t mind having kids at our wedding, but we’ll be giving our guests the option of whether or not they want to bring them. I think a lot of evening guests will opt to find a babysitter for the night.

Work colleagues

Again, another tricky one. I spend a lot of my time talking about my wedding plans, and my colleagues are really interested. It’s even up on the work’s calendar in our office! But to put it simply – you shouldn’t feel obliged to invite them unless you actually want to.

I found myself in a tough situation because I’m working a maternity contract, with the view of going permanent. If I invited my colleagues, what if I got a new job and didn’t speak to them again? However, if I carried on working here, I’d love to invite them as I get on with them so well.

The simple solution here is to keep a couple of spare invitations to hand out a month or so before your wedding to those guests that you were undecided about. i.e. work colleagues, or plus ones, which brings me on to my final point

Those little extras

We’re planning on distributing our invitations next month; 6 months before the wedding. Realistically, a lot of things can happen between now and then.

What if things get serious between my sister and her new boyfriend? What if there’s an awkward fall-out between friends?

As I mentioned, holding back a few invitations is perhaps your saving grace in this situation. It means that if any of these situations arise, you can just hand out invitations a month or so before the wedding.

Whatever you decide for your guest list, remember: it’s your wedding, and your decisions are final. We set ourselves the rule that we wouldn’t invite anyone to our ceremony who we didn’t feel comfortable paying £70-a-head for dinner for. Because that’s the harsh reality of it.

We’ve had to make some decisions that may seem harsh at the time, but most people will understand that weddings are expensive, and it’s your day, so invite whoever the heck you want to!

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