On your wedding day, you want to be surrounded by everyone who helped you get there. However, it’s not always possible to invite every single person in your life to the actual event. 

So, how do you determine who gets an invite? And how do you avoid hurt feelings or awkward situations? Here’s some expert guidance to help you create the best wedding guest list for you.

1. Confirm your venue’s limit 

Before you even start making a list, you need to confirm your venue’s maximum capacity. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that may be lower than normal, depending on your region’s restrictions. This will let you know exactly how many guests you can invite – just don’t forget to factor in any vendors who may be attending in person (i.e., the DJ, wait staff, photographers, etc.) 

2. Start with your must-haves

“Couples should start building their guest list with their most important guests, which are usually family members, close friends of the family, wedding party attendants, and who they can't imagine getting married without,” advises Ivy Summer, a certified wedding planner for Voulez Events and author of “Poise Over Panic: How to Plan a Wedding in a Pandemic.”

Once you’ve reached out to these guests and confirmed that they’re available on your intended date, you’ll know exactly how many other guests you can still invite.

3. Invite who you actually want there

Ultimately, this is your day, so don’t worry too much about pleasing everyone else. If you don’t want to invite your father’s coworkers or that childhood friend you haven’t spoken to in 10 years, don’t. 

“I wish that couples understood that this day is all about them, all the way through,” says Summer. “The couple shouldn't be looking back on their wedding day and realize that they actually don't really keep in touch with anyone within their wedding party or any other guest at the wedding. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity to truly create a day for themselves, and in that sense, the couple reserves the right to be a bit selfish about who makes the guest list and who doesn't.”

4. Eliminate plus ones

If you need (or want) to keep your guest list as small as possible, consider skipping the plus one option on your invitations. Another simple way to make cuts is by disallowing young children from attending. While this may feel a bit harsh, guests who know and care about you will understand.  

5. Offer other ways to celebrate with you

No matter how far in advance you plan or how large your venue is, not everyone will be able to attend your wedding. But that doesn’t mean they can’t still participate in the celebration.

One easy way to incorporate extra guests is by giving them the option to attend virtually. Just be sure you have someone on hand, like a planner or photographer, who can help set up the Livestream. You can even make the experience interactive, so guests still feel like they’re a part of your day.

“Ask your wedding planning consultant about ways to incorporate your virtual guests into your cocktail hour to mingle with in-person guests, virtual photo booths with entertaining backdrops or the dancefloor when it's time for the Macarena,” suggests Summer. “Make sure that your key virtual guests know how to submit a request for a song to the DJ or can make a toast when it's time for speeches. These are small details that can create unforgettable moments on the wedding day.”

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