Making Your Guest List: Who Do You Really Want at Your Wedding?

newlywed couple in an embrace on rooftop

It’s your wedding, so ask yourself, “Who do I actually want there?”

There’s a rule I give to all my clients beginning their guest list. It’s very simple. “Are you actually going to talk to them?”

The guest list dictates everything. If your budget is below $15,000 and you have 200 guests you want to invite, your money is going to be stretched thin. Postage, save the dates, invitations, favors, food, drinks, tables, chairs, place settings, entertainment, dance floor size, cake size, just about everything is affected by how many people you choose to have at your day.

Maybe you have to invite certain people like your mother’s co-workers because she’s chipping in for the costs. Sit down and discuss with her that she’ll get a table of 8-12 guests depending on the size that is just for her. She’s got domain over that. If you start capitulating to everyone’s needs and don’t put your foot down, money be damned, you will not enjoy your day. You’ll be inundated with, “ I remember you when you were this small!” and “I’ve never met you but your parent talks nonstop about you!” It’s your day to celebrate your union with your family, not for your family to dictate how to celebrate you. Nip it in the bud before it becomes a problem (I say this fully aware that it would be difficult to put my foot down with my parents lest a flying chancla comes my way. #Solidarity).

Once you’ve established that or even better, if that’s not a concern of yours, it’s time to get real. Do you really want that person there? You see Karen from Finance five times a week, but are you really so close to warrant her a seat at your wedding. This will feel icky at first. It’ll make you feel like you’re judging people as if you’re some high and mighty figure. It’s not judgmental. It’s being honest. Do you want to feed them? Do you want to see their face at your ceremony? Do you want to dance with them? Do you want to talk to them for more than 90 seconds? Perhaps the most important question of all, do you really want to share your cake with them? Be real.

If you decide that you don’t want anyone there, elope!

Maybe you only cut a few people off your list, or maybe you cut 100 people off your list. It’s necessary to make those decisions. You deserve to be surrounded by people you love on your big day, not people you tolerate or have to put up with. If you’re afraid of office politics getting in the way, I’ve found that it’s easier to make a lot of people bummed than it is to make a few people royally pissed. If you really don’t want anyone blaming you or not letting you sign Linda from HR’s birthday card, tell them Jordan said you had to limit your guest list. It works for my clients!

Jordan Maney


Jordan A. Maney is a San Antonio-based wedding planner and owner of All The Days Event Co. She she started her company as a planning haven for all the couples the industry chooses to ignore. Instead of just making a brand, she's building a community. Find more of her sass, humor, and Southern hospitality at