The First Steps

Questions to Cut Your Guest List in Half

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small intimate wedding reception

Image: Decorismo

Perhaps you didn’t expect the number of people who would have a say in your wedding guest list. Things can get a little stressful when your mom begins adding her high school friends you’ve never met, and your younger brother wants to bring his girlfriend of two weeks. Nobody wants to have the tough conversation where you tell someone they can’t invite everyone they want to. That’s why we created a helpful list of questions you, your fiancé, and your family should all be required to ask if you are trying to downsize — and ultimately save money.

So find your lengthy guest list and start asking these questions for each person you are not sure about. You may try dividing your entire list into two categories: “must invite” and “maybe invite.” For any person in the “maybe invite” column that leads to the answer “no” from the following questions, mark them as someone to possibly cross off the list.

  • Have you known this person for at least six months?
  • Have you talked to this person in the past year?
  • Has this person been a positive and influential part of your love story?
  • If this person wasn’t there, would it greatly affect your enjoyment?
  • Are you inviting this person for yourself?
  • Does this person realize you are engaged?
  • Has this person met your fiancé?
  • Will this person be a part of your life forever?
  • Is this person an adult?
  • Would this person be able to get to the wedding easily?
  • Do I have this person’s phone number?
  • Does this person know your address?
  • Would you feel comfortable going on a coffee date with this person?
  • Would you feel comfortable calling this person?
  • Does this person know how you and your fiancé met?
  • Does this person know how your fiancé proposed?
  • Would you notice if this person wasn’t at your wedding?
  • Is this person someone you spend time with outside of work?

These are some guiding questions to help you cut down your list, but of course there are always exceptions. Our advice is to play several rounds of this question game until your guest list deadline is around the corner. You will be more realistic after giving yourself some time to think.

Kate Wilke is the senior digital content producer at 301 Digital Media, and she's the editor of, and When she's not paddle boarding or skiing, she's informing someone about global warming (or cats) over a local double IPA. Follow her on twitter — @Kate_Wilke