As exciting as it is, planning a wedding comes with the unique qualm of having to order your family and friends by importance. You fine-tune the people who hold space in your life, and sometimes that one old friend from high school isn’t as special as you thought. If you’re engaged, in the middle of planning, or creating dream wedding vision boards, use these practical tips for creating your wedding guest list.

Keep the Budget First, People Second

Your budget will determine lots of factors, from venue capacity and guests to food and entertainment. The budget is at the core of it all. Lock in your financial details first, then brainstorm a rough draft list second. From there, you can get specific with accommodations.

The accommodations you provide should also go into your budget, putting them ahead of the guest list. For example, if you know you’ll need to rent portable restrooms, don’t wait until the last minute to book them when funds are tight. Book the portable restrooms as early as possible so that you can have peace of mind regarding guest accommodations.

Use a Tier System To Create Groups

The first guest list you create will be lengthy. Between family and friends from both sides, it’ll be easy to compile a list well outside of your budget. But how do you decide who to cut and who to keep? Consider using a tier system to group your guests into layers of importance. While all your friends and family are important, not everyone needs an invitation, especially with a tight budget.

You can label the tiers by priority order. The key players make it into the top tier without question. Meanwhile, a lower tier may hold space for plus ones, long-distant friends, or the friend of a cousin you’re not so fond of.

Be Mindful With Plus Ones

Speaking of plus ones, this is where the budget and your guest list grow tenfold. It’s easy to offer this flexibility to all your single guests, but the reality is that they’re not paying for the ceremony or reception.

If you have the space and budget for a few, be mindful of who gets this perk. If you don’t have the budget at all, then the solution is easy, and nobody gets a plus one. Remember, it’s your day and your money. Being your guest is an honor, not a right.

Privatize Your Process

One of the most practical tips for creating your wedding guest list is privatizing your process as best as possible. Many family and friends will have an opinion about almost every facet of your wedding, especially the guest list. By keeping things lowkey and private between you and your partner, you can reduce the amount of unsolicited advice you receive and hold firm to your boundaries.

Creating a guest list is easier said than done, but you should be mindful of your budget. Best of luck with your dream wedding!

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