Creating Your Wedding Guest List

Hello readers!

It has been a whirlwind here at the RRE office, as we are in the thick of wedding season – the best time of year!! Today, I want to share some quick tips about how to create a guest list. While this is one of the most difficult tasks you may have, it is also one of the most important. Who you invite affects your event, your budget, your invitation mailing and much more. This step in the process is so vitally important that it's one of the first details we discuss with our clients before we dive into the more "fun" parts of planning and designing the wedding. 

Amanda Castle Photography

Amanda Castle Photography

Here are a few tips to keep in mind while collecting the information for your guest list:

  • When composing your guest list, make sure to keep just one master list.  We recommend sharing this master list with whomever else may be adding to/editing your guest list- Google Docs or Dropbox works great for this purpose. Having one master list versus multiple versions of the list will make sure the information is collected in the same fashion and nobody gets left behind (or listed twice) when combining the lists.
  • Our favorite tool for managing the guest list is Microsoft Excel, as all generations (bride/ groom, and parents) are typically confortable using this and it is easy to create a mail merge document later.
  • The more columns, the easier to manage- trust me on this!
  •  Listing out each piece of information in a different column, will be helpful in utilizing the list for different purposed such as creating a mail merge for your save the date and invitations addressing. 
  • This guest list can also be used for escort cards, place cards, tracking RSVPs and for tracking food allergies.

Here are some great column headers to make sure are in your list:

  • Formal Names: List the names of your guests exactly as you would like to appear on you wedding invitation.  Example: Dr. and Mrs. Jerry Smith
  • Name of Children: Keep a separate column for children’s names and list them in birth order.  Example – Sarah, Michelle, and Charles Little
    • Quick exception to the rule – If there is an only child, add a title to their listing.  Example – Miss Sarah Little
  • Address: Spell out everything and don’t use abbreviations – North Carolina, Street, Avenue, Apartment, Number, etc. We recommend 5 separate columns for each part of the address: Street Address, Optional additional info (such as apartment number), City, State, and Zip
  • Informal Combined Names: Keep a column for informal combined names that you can be used for your save the dates and escort cards.
  • Phone Number and Email Addresses: We always recommend adding these two columns and simply adding this information as you are tracking down addresses. Though it may seem silly now, these will come in very handy when you are trying to reach out to anyone who hasn’t sent in their RSVP in the final weeks prior to the wedding. Email addresses are great to have in case you need to communicate emergency information, such as weather issues.    
  • Dietary Restrictions/ Allergies: Keep another column for any dietary restrictions or allergies – that way you can easily manage your RSVPs and share that list with your caterer.

While that may seem like a lot of work up front, we promise you will be so happy to have started on your list the right way and have it perfectly organized. Good luck creating your special list!!