Micro Weddings: How to Decide on the Guest List
March 1, 2023
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With a limited number of guests, it can be challenging to decide who to invite and who to leave out. Here are some tips from wedding experts on how to create a guest list for your small wedding. From starting with your essential invitees to asking yourself the all-important question, narrowing down the guest list with your partner, and making sure the day is about you and your fiancé, these tips will help you make the tough decisions.
Invite your A-list.
“Start with your “essential” invitees first, which most likely include your immediate family and BFFs—and your parents’ VIP guests if they’re helping foot the bill. Take into consideration any “plus ones” or children that come along with this list. Then, take a look at that total number. Is it under the guest count you have in mind? At this point, you can either call it a day or invite a few extra guests to hit your guest count goal.” – Jenna Miller, Creative Director of Here Comes The Guide
Ask yourself the all-important question.
“When on the fence about inviting someone, ask yourself: Would I expect to be invited to their small wedding? If the answer is no, don’t feel bad about leaving them off the list. People understand that weddings are expensive—and due to the pandemic, you have a built-in excuse for wanting to keep things small and intimate.” – Jenna Miller, Creative Director of Here Comes The Guide
Be strategic with additional invites.
“Two easy ways to cut down on your guest list include: making your celebration “adults only” and limiting “plus ones”. If one of your guests is engaged, is in your bridal party, or has been with their significant other for years, it’s considered polite to give them a plus-one. Otherwise, it’s totally up to you. And don’t feel bad for inviting some guests solo. You’re treating them to food and free champagne, after all!” – Jenna Miller, Creative Director of Here Comes The Guide
Create the guest list with your partner before involving anyone else.
“Especially if you’re looking to keep your guest count small, the fewer voices adding names to the list, the better! Start out by sitting down with your partner and talking through your list together. The first people that come to mind for each of you as you write out your guest list are likely the most important to attend. If you’ve decided on a set number of people in total, it’s easier to limit outside additions to the guest list after you’ve each noted who you’d like to invite – I.e. “Sorry mom, our guest count is already full so we won’t be able to invite your friends from yoga class!” The focus should be on you and your partner anyways, so this is a foolproof way to get the guest count you want with the people you want!” – AJ Williams, Founder & Creative Director, AJ Events
Make sure it’s about you and your fiancé.
“Cutting your guest list can be tricky for some. You’ll have to list your priorities with your fiancé, but your goal should be to have the people in the wedding that you are closest to. This will probably mean that extended family, colleagues, and friends that you haven’t talked to in months will be cut. You could also consider which guests will be able to afford to come to the wedding, or are able to get the time off work, etc. Your wedding day should be about you and your fiancé celebrating the beginning of your lives together with the most important people to you.” – Anna Rodenbeck, Whitehead + Co.
It’s not always your family.
“Recognizing fully that family is not always blood, I tell all of my clients to start with those that have supported, upheld and encouraged their relationship from the get-go. These are the humans you want surrounding your day of love, and those who will be most appreciative of being in attendance. It also makes designing a great guest experience easy, as you’ll want nothing but the best for these cherished few joining you as you take your vows.” – Ashley Lachney, Owner of Alston Mayger Events
Who can’t you imagine the day without?
“It’s hard to narrow down a guest list if you were originally planning for a larger wedding or just planning for a small wedding in general. Many of us don’t want to hurt people’s feelings but start by narrowing it down to immediate family and then the closest friends that you spend the most time with on a regular basis. Ask yourself, ‘who can I not imagine not being at my wedding?’ and make sure they are on the list.” – Kari Dirksen, Feathered Arrow Events
Blame COVID when breaking the news.
“A trend that was mandated in 2020 and 2021 is now one of choice in 2022. Some of our couples are opting for intimate celebrations in which they can spend time spoiling their guests. We also predict that the other component of these smaller celebrations, the digital invite to those guests who are unable to attend in person will continue on as a must-have in 2022. There is no time like the present to plan a micro wedding and get away with it with the fewest amount of upset friends and family. Blame it on COVID! So many couples have been able to have the wedding they actually wanted but were afraid to hurt feelings, as a result of COVID. One way for narrowing down guests? Only invite those that you invited to your own home in the last year. That will cut your list WAY down. Or, choose guests that are close to both of you, rather than just one side of your coupling. You are not required to share with anyone your plans. In fact, I think it’s more fun to share after the fact with a recap of the day in photos or videos. That being said, if you are not including immediate family, or people very close to you, communicating beforehand can save you some future uncomfortable conversations.” – Nora Sheils, Founder Bridal Bliss and Co-Founder Rock Paper Coin
When in doubt, invite immediate family and closest friends.
“Guest lists can be the hardest part of wedding planning, no matter the size of the wedding! In particular, micro weddings come with tighter constraints. We recommend limiting your list to immediate family and your closest friends for these intimate affairs…. rule of thumb, invite those that raised you and those that will grow greys with you!” – Jaime Kostechko, Wild Heart Events
Who are the most important people for your most important day?
“Perfecting your wedding guest list can be an absolutely daunting task, especially for those who make friends everywhere they go! However, 2020 has opened our eyes to all the splendors of an intimate gathering, one that involves your nearest and dearest instead of acquaintances that may not make it to the wedding photo album. Instead of focusing on those guests you can’t forget, focus on those you can’t imagine the day without. Whether that means your immediate family members or your closest childhood friends, you will take comfort in the presence of the most important people on the most important day of your life.” – Ashlie Fastino, Infinite Events