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A Simple Stress-free Guide to Wedding Budget Planning & Guest List Management

Does creating your wedding guest list bring you anxiety?! How are you going to tell Aunt Stacy that she is not invited?! How can you plan your budget? Take a deep breath and you got this! Follow our step-by-step guide on creating your budget & guest list.

1.) First, create a budget, so you can determine how much you can spend on guests.
a.Your budget should include the following:

  • Venue/catering (40% of budget)
  • Stationary (invitations, menus, etc) (3%)
  • Decorations/Floral (20%)
  • Photographer/Videographer (15%)
  • Transportation (3%)
  • Ceremony/Priest (2%)
  • Hair/make-up (1%)
  • Cake/Desserts (1%)
  • Attire (6%)
  • Misc (1%)

b. Once you figure out your budget you have a better idea of how many people you can afford and then can start looking for a venue. Tip: Keep a spreadsheet to track all expenses: one tab for forecast and a second tab for actual costs.

2) Decide on the “rules”

a.Will there be kids? If you prefer not to have kids, but have to invite those that you are closely related to, then it may make more sense to get a baby-sitter in a smaller room down the hallway with a kid-friendly menu compared to paying for their seat.

b.Who gets a plus one? Anyone that is engaged, in a serious relationship that you have met and married couples all get a plus 1.

3.) Cut ‘em out: Once you’ve created your wish list of all the guests you would like to invite. Go through your list and make your “cuts”. I know it seems like your back in high school, but it will save you some money to determine who really needs to attend your wedding. Of course, you will invite those that you are obligated to invite, but think about these questions when making your “cuts:”

  • Will you notice this guest is missing if they are not their on your wedding day?
  • Will it bring you joy to have this person attending you wedding?
  • Do you hang out with this person and go out for dinner?
  • How long has it been since you’ve seen or hung out with the person?
  • Were you invited to this person’s wedding? (reciprocal invites are NOT a must)
  • If you responded yes to most of these questions then you should definitely invite the guest.

4) Back-up List: Create a backup list if you prefer and for those that RSVP no additional guests can be invited. Tip: List the names of people invited on the RSVP card, so unexpected guests don’t show up.

5) Save the Dates: You have accomplished your budget & guest list and now it’s time to send out Save the Dates. There is no such thing as sending the save the date too early, but normally should be done around 6-8 months in advance.

6) Happy planning: Now that you have finalized your guest list stick together with your fiancé and the decision you’ve made. There will always be haters, but ignore any negativity and focus on your big day and your fiancé!