Weddings aren’t just about color palettes and décor pieces — in fact, a successful wedding depends on careful planning and logistical preparation. From the start of the planning process, your guest list is a defining factor in all of your major decisions.

From your budget to your venue to your catering menu, your guest list dictates the viable options that will play a major role in your big day. After all, an intimate garden setting cannot accommodate a guest list of 500.

Here are four tips for creating a guest list that suits your wedding vision.

Start with size

You’ll want to go into planning with a ballpark number of how many people you want at your wedding. It doesn’t have to be exact by any means, but you will need to decide whether you want a small and cozy celebration or a large and vibrant extravaganza. Weddings can be broken down into price per person, so consider that your guest count will impact your budget and your venue choice.

small wedding guest list

Determine any rules

A good way to limit your guest list is to agree on certain guidelines that are across the board. Some couples choose to have a no-kids policy, whereas others may draw a line for plus ones based on the seriousness of a relationship. Discuss your thoughts with your partner before setting any rules, so you can be sure that they are mutually agreed upon.

large wedding guest list

Stay organized

Wedding planning can feel out of control if you’re not keeping it organized, especially when you start to create your guest list. Start a shared spreadsheet with your partner to list out all possible attendees and see where that guest count falls compared to your initial estimation. From this list, you can curate it down to the guests that you truly want there. This is also an excellent way to keep track of guest addresses, RSVPs, and meal choices.

Stay true to yourself

For many couples, creating the guest list can feel stressful. There are worries that you may offend people by not granting them a plus one or, worse, not even inviting them. The stress grows if you have pressure coming from family members — a mother-in-law who wants to invite her circle of friends you’ve never met or a sister who wants to bring her boyfriend of the month.

When it starts to feel like it’s too much, remember this: At the end of the day, this is your wedding. You have all of the power to invite (or disinvite) whomever you want. When you’re looking down the aisle, you want to see the faces of your loved ones — so think about who you want by your side on that special day. If you can’t see your wedding day without them, they belong on your list.

Not sure if your guest count will fit in your dream ballroom? Shoot us a message — we can’t wait to hear more about your big day!