Do you really need to invite great aunt marg, who you haven’t seen since that one family reunion 4 years ago, to your wedding?

The honest answer: Probably not.

Creating your guest list is hands down one of the most stressful elements of planning a wedding. Not only does it directly involve the people in your life in a way flower arrangements never could, but it is also the number one influencer of every other aspect of your wedding. 

The guest list, and it’s size, affects venue options, catering costs, and overall what kind of day you and your partner(s) are going to have.

When planning a small wedding the guest list is even more important as you need to get super intentional about who to include in order to create the experience you’re looking for.  

Figuring out your guest list can bring with it a dizzying list of dos, don’ts, family drama, and etiquette questions like:

  • Do you have to invite everyone that had invited you to their wedding, no matter how long ago?
  • If I invite person A then do I have to invite person B in order to avoid offending person C?
  • Will my entire family expect to be there?
  • Do I have to invite kids?


So, how do you make a small guest list and stick to it?

1. Set a target guest number

2. List the people you can’t imagine getting married without

These are your true loved ones. Your guest list can (and sometimes should) end here!

3. Set guidelines for who will be invited and stick to them

If you do want a slightly larger wedding it is important to remain intentional in who you invite.  Set guidelines for yourself like:

  • Aunts and uncles but no cousins
  • No children under 18
  • Friends from school but no co-workers

4. Create an ‘A’ and ‘B’ list

Have a second prioritized ‘B’ list, and invite people from that list to fill in spots from any rejected RSVPs. This will help you find a ‘spot’ for everyone you may want to invite and ensure there are no empty seats.

REMEMBER: You don’t have to invite anyone, this is about helping you build a guest list that makes you feel good.

5. Revisit your wedding purpose

Look to your wedding purpose to find the role of guests in your ideal wedding, use this to review the guest list you’ve built.

Check out our blog on finding your wedding purpose here.

Remember, the purpose of a small guest list is to create a community on your wedding day of people that unconditionally love and support you. Anybody that is not going to make you feel your best on your wedding day doesn’t get to be there. 

Stick by your list! Once you have decided on your wedding guest list it is important that you stand by it. There will likely be people that feel they are entitled to a spot in your wedding because of an arbitrary connection: be reassured that you created the best guest list for you and explain to guidelines you used to build your guest list. These guidelines are not only key in building your list, they are what’s going to help you stand by it. 

Your guest list should reflect the people in your life that you love and are loved by.  It is up to you to extend those invitations to the people that are going to make your wedding day YOURS.

Bottom line; Nobody is entitled to an invitation to your wedding. Your wedding day is about you and your partner(s) and surrounding yourself with the people YOU choose to include. Period. 

want to learn more about finding your wedding purpose and using it to plan your dream small wedding?