Burlap & Bordeaux

A Luxury Event Planning, Design and Floristry Experience in Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and Beyond

How to Control Your Wedding Guest List

Your wedding guest list is one of the very first things to tackle once you get engaged. Sure, it might not be fun to simply list names on a piece of paper – but knowing a rough headcount will help you plan ahead and find the right venue, set the right budget, and make the right choices as you plan your Big Day.


Your guest list is also one of the most expensive items on your entire list of to-do’s as well – precisely because they will majorly influence your venue, the kind of wedding you want, and so on.

How do you keep the guest list under control, then? What are some of the most important things to know when you want to shorten your guest list as much as possible?


Talk to your parents from the very beginning. Parents tend to get really excited for their children’s weddings, and, in all this excitement, they sometimes forget that their children should have an actual say in who all attends. If your parents are paying (and even if they aren’t), be sure to discuss with them the matter of the guest list. Allow them to invite a fixed number of people – and explain to them very clearly why you don’t want more people invited.


Establish some ground rules for yourselves. For instance, don’t invite to the wedding anyone you haven’t seen in real life over the past one or two years. Or, don’t invite relatives you haven’t seen since you were in third grade. Discuss this with your fiancé and decide your own ground rules to make sure you keep your guest list under control.


Ask yourselves: would you be actually sad if a person couldn’t make it to the wedding? If the answer is yas, then add this person to the list. But if your answer is negative, you most likely don’t actually want to invite that person to the wedding. This is an easy way to filter out the wedding guest list and come up with a list of people you genuinely want to celebrate your love story with.

No matter what method you may choose to control your guest list for the Big Day, remember this: do what makes you happy. For some, this means a big wedding with hundreds of guests. For others, it means a small and intimate event. You set your own rules!