guest list

Everything You Need to Know About Compiling a Wedding Guest List by Vanessa Larkey

An HOUR into our engagement, I was asked if we had set a date. I’ll let that settle in. AN HOUR.

I nervously laughed it off, quick to realize my new reality -- fielding wedding related questions to which I had absolutely no answers.

Fast-forward a month. Still no wedding plans, but we did polish off the third season of Orange is the New Black. Priorities, ya know? After bidding farewell to Tasty, Crazy Eyes and Red, we embarked on our first wedding related task – compiling a guest list.

 This excited me because:

a)    The whole “Holy Shit! We’re actually getting married!” feeling kicked in.

b)   It required basic math skills. YAY FOR BASIC MATH!

c)    With realistic numbers we could start researching venues and creating our budget.

Peter and I gave ourselves a couple of hours to compile our respective lists and met in our office* to discuss. What did we come up with and how? I’ve mapped it out below. It worked for us and hey, maybe it’ll work for you too.


Some wedding blogs suggest that parents create half the guest list. LOLOLOLOL. Our parents haven't asked if they can invite their friends and I doubt they will. But! If your parents are relentless in their quest to expand your guest list, I suggest showing them a $23,000 catering bill for a wedding of less than 130 people. They will (probably) change their tune. 


No kids? No problem! 

No kids? No problem! 

Okay I lied. We are inviting two children – Peter’s niece and nephew.

They’re 6 and 8 (read: old enough to behave…I’m looking at you, crying baby!) and we absolutely love and adore them.

Aside from the niece and nephew, going the “adults only” route not only saves us cash, but gives our friends with kids a great excuse to hire a babysitter and LET LOOSE!

When we say “adults only” we mean legal drinking age (in Ontario that’s 19).


What is our definition of a “serious relationship”? Dating someone for more than two years.


When it came to family, the list was non-negotiable. We chose to invite most of our Aunts, Uncles and adult cousins. 


(If you’re under 30 “peeps” means friends. It’s vernacular I JUST CAN’T DROP!)

(If you’re under 30 “peeps” means friends. It’s vernacular I JUST CAN’T DROP!)

The friend’s list was a bit trickier, but after asking ourselves the following questions, we were able to whittle down our guest list number.

Do we both know this person? Meeting them once doesn’t count.

Otherwise known as our “No Strangers” rule. We both want to recognize everyone in our photos.

Do we both enjoy this person’s company?

This is obvious. If someone makes us uncomfortable, we do not want him or her at our wedding.

When was the last time we spoke to this person IRL?

If it’s been longer than three years, it’s safe to say the person would not meet our next requirement.  

Where do we see our relationship with this person 5 years down the road? 10 years down the road?

This was tough. Friendships evolve and change overtime, and we are so lucky to have so many amazing people in our lives. We really had to think long and hard over this one.

After all of that we arrived at our magic number which is... drumroll please.... 128. And you know what? We want every single one of those people to celebrate our big day with us.  

So! Armed with our guest list, we were ready to tackle our next challenge – the budget.

*When you live in a 425 square foot apartment, your bed also serves as your living room, office, and sometimes dining room.