Wedding Wednesday: the guest list

On my last Wedding Wednesday post I shared with you the two first things to tackle on your list when organizing a wedding. Today we will be talking about the wedding guest list!


Wedding Guest List

So you have set a budget and a date for your wedding, good for you! Now on to the hard part: the wedding guest list. Jokes aside, you don’t need to have the entire wedding guest list set before you get a location. But you should have a general idea of how many people you are inviting. Why is it important? Well, you don’t want to start looking at locations, fall in love with one and then realize they only have space for 50 people and your list has 150 people in it. Trust me, if you have a general idea of how many people you want to invite to your wedding, you can spare yourself some grief when it comes to the location!

This is also relevant the other way around! Imagine you find the perfect location, but it is big enough for 500 people and your guest list is only 100 people. They could end up looking “lost” in it and ruining your wedding. Although I didn’t experience that myself, sometimes minor details really bother brides, so better safe than sorry, right?


Truth be told, we did some changes to our guest list after setting the location. But we knew from the beginning more or less who we wanted to invite. Also, we set our budget before we even started the guest list and that made a whole difference in the number of guests we could afford. 

Some people are (usually) always invited to a wedding, like close family members and/or close friends. However, most of my friends don’t live in Austria and I knew they don’t have the means to come here solely for a wedding. I didn’t want to put them in an uncomfortable position, so I didn’t invite them. Everyone understood and was happy for us.

Familywise, I have a few cousins from my father’s side here, but the rest of my family isn’t in Austria. My parents and my mother’s siblings, with whom I grew up with, live in Portugal. I sent my aunts and uncles invitations and even explained we would understand if they couldn’t come, since it is an expensive trip. Only two answered my invitation. It was extremely hurtful to not even receive an answer, but I guess it showed who really care. The only part of my family attending our wedding were my parents and my cousins from Vienna. 

To have a general idea in numbers, we made a rough wedding guest list. Markus has a very big family and, since most of mine didn’t want to come, we ended up being able to invite more from his side. This is why it is so important to establish the budget beforehand, so you know how many people you can afford to invite. 


Unless you have an unlimited budget, it will be impossible to invite every single person you want to. If you don’t have a relationship with someone or they are not currently in your life, you don’t need them at your wedding. And there may be people you want in your wedding, but simply don’t have a budget to include. But ultimately, it is your wedding and your choice.

What if one of your parents want you to invite someone specific to your wedding, with whom you have no relationship? (Like a great-great-great-twice-removed-aunt-of-a-neighbor) Simple: it is your wedding and you don’t have to invite anyone you don’t want to. If you don’t care and have an open budget, you can invite the person and avoid a fight with your parent. If you don’t have a place for the person in your budget, but your parent insists they need to be there then you can always tell them they can pay for that person. Yes, it sounds “cheap”. But guess what? A wedding is expensive and you should think smart!

What about work colleagues? Well, that would depend on your relationship with them. You shouldn’t invite someone just because you work with them. A wedding is a very personal party, after all.


Another thing that can become tricky very quickly is what I like to call “Plus One Prerogative”. Should you give all of your wedding guests a plus one” option? We solved it by inviting the partners of some of our guests, directly in the invite, instead of offering a simple plus one option. Our “rule”, so to say, was: if we don’t know the person they don’t get an invite. It doesn’t have to be something personal, in our case it had to do with our budget. Having 50 guests in one thing, allowing half of them to bring a plus one would up the number to 75. And in the Wedding World, that makes a huge difference! 

Making a guest list, not just for a wedding, may seem easy and straightforward at first. Once you really start doing it, especially if you have a rigorous budget, you will realize it is harder than it seems. I hope these tips help you out! Let me know if you have any other tips to make a guest list. 


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