July 10, 2019

Atlanta Wedding Planner / Creating Your Guest List

Wedding Tips

Lists become an everyday thing for most brides-to-be. Whether its writing down that day’s to-do’s or recording all the random thoughts that you’ll forget by tomorrow, making lists is a helpful method of staying organized. Today we’re diving in to the mother of all lists: the guest list. As your Atlanta luxury wedding planner, organizing and navigating the guest list is our specialty. Believe us when we say, there will be draft after draft of the guest list. Although you may feel like you’re treading in uncharted waters, fear not, we’re here to help each step of the way!

Know Your Limits

As much as we all wish money was not a factor, this is not Nick and Priyanka’s wedding day and there are usually limits on what can be done. Setting limits for yourself when it comes to the number of guests is so important. Catering & decor is where majority of the budget for the reception is spent and each additional person causes this figure to rise. Before sitting down to begin the guest list, keep this detail in mind. Here are a few guidelines from the Detailed I Do’s team, your Atlanta wedding planner, on setting those limits:

  • Budget – We know this is no fun, but keep this figure in mind. As your planner, we can help you estimate average cost per head if you haven’t decided on a caterer yet.
  • Venue Capacity – This is another very important factor when it comes to the guest list. What is the max capacity of your venue? This often comes into play when the venue is on the smaller, more intimate side.
  • How intimate do you want it to feel? – speaking of intimate, what do you picture when you think about your wedding reception: an intimate affair or a giant party? The more people you invite, the less intimate it may feel.

Through all of these factors, you will come up with the ‘golden number’. The perfect amount of guests that will suite you and your day oh so well.

Divide And Conquer

Deciding how to divide up your guest list into large categories can be difficult. This is also different for each couple because each family differs so much. Depending on who is paying for the wedding, you may or may not have a preference on whether parents decide on a portion of the guest list. Here are three ways of dividing up the ‘rights’, if you will, to who gets to invite who:

  1. Divide access up into thirds between your parents, your fiancee’s parents, and the two of you. Splitting the golden number up into thirds will give each group equal say-so.
  2. Divide the golden number in half. You and your beau get 50% and both sets of your parents get 50%.
  3. The last option is you and your fiancee have full reign over the guest list!

You two know best which option will work for you and your families. If dividing it amongst these groups is a viable option, this can sometimes take some pressure off you both!


Categorizing you guest list into an A List and a B List (and sometimes C) can help you stay at that perfect number. Your A List will include your closest family and friends, those that you must have there on your big day. Your B List can include additional friends and extended family that you are planning to invite, but may not be able to include everyone depending on venue capacity and budget. If guests on the A List can sadly not attend, you will then begin to sub-in B Listers. Some will create a C List that includes guests you would like to have there, but it’s not a must. As guests on your B List begin to RSVP, those on the C List can be subbed in as well.

Now, we know this may sound tough to navigate because you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. However, guests typically never know! Do not allude to the fact that someone may have been second or third choice. To your guests this process goes on completely behind the scenes. Do make it a priority to send out those invitations to B and C guests as soon as you can giving them plenty of notice.

And that’s a wrap on navigating your guest list. Remember, this process is between you two and your families. It is your big day and inviting loved ones and dear friends is such an exciting time in the planning process. Picturing guests’ faces as they open up your save the date or invitation suite is sure to bring a smile to your face. And to ours! As your Atlanta luxury wedding planner, we are here with you through and through.

Written By: Rachel Hegner

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