Making Your Guest List – Tips from a Raleigh Wedding Planner

by | Jan 25, 2017 | Tips

Feature photo by Casey Rose Photography. Knots ‘N Such is a Raleigh wedding planner & florist.

A wedding, to some, is nothing without guests. Having your friends and family there to support you on your big day is a beautiful thing. They’re participating in a moment of transition in your life; it’s part of what makes weddings so special. But before you get to that moment, there’s the arduous process of making the guest list. Here are a few tips for making sure everything goes smoothly.

Who do we invite?

First of all, every couple has different needs and wants. It’s part of my job to help them figure these things out. Planning out the number of guests to invite is a big part of starting the rest of your wedding planning. As soon as we have a ballpark range of guests, I can move forward with finding venues, planning food and other details. So it’s something we think of early in the planning process.

Raleigh Wedding Planner & Florist

Stationery from Cute Buttons. Photo by Riley McLean Weddings. Styling by Knots ‘N Such.

We have all sorts of social mores that determine who we have to invite. But my best advice is to consider who you most want to be at your wedding, especially if you are working on a limited budget. Who do you want to be there? For many people, this is an easy question – parents, siblings, close friends. Get those people on the list first. Then you can begin deciding if you have the capacity to invite your uncle’s second cousin-in-law. This is a great litmus test: Will you see that person in your wedding photos 25 years from now and think “Who was that guy?” If so, he should be cut from the list!

When do I send out invitations?

Something we need to keep in mind when sending out invitations: The earlier, the better. An even better option is to send save-the-dates as soon as you have your venue booked, and at the latest 6 months in advance. Your guests are living their own busy lives; things like vacation, business trips or other life events can easily be a conflict for your friends and relatives. The sooner you send out your wedding date, the more likely it will be that people will be able to attend. Traditionally, the actual invite goes out 8 weeks before the wedding.

Always ask for RSVPs.

Send out RSVP cards with your invitations. Send them with an addressed and stamped envelope, so it’s easy for them to send back to you. Your caterer, planner, and florist, will want to know exactly how many people are attending, so they can plan accordingly. So be sure to track all the responses as they arrive. At Knots ‘N Such, we provide software to help track the “yeses” and then add them to a seating chart.

What do I do if I don’t want to invite someone?

This is a tricky subject. People have all sorts of complicated social expectations when you’re getting married. If they know that you haven’t invited them, your boss/office acquaintance/hair stylist might get a little testy. They might try to guilt you or ask you uncomfortable questions.

This is always difficult, but I recommend being 100% upfront with people. If you’re not planning on inviting someone, have an easy explanation: Tell them it’s family and close friends only, or that you’re working on a budget. If you offer a genuine explanation, then it’s up to them to decide how they feel. Remember that it’s your big day; if you don’t want to invite someone, you don’t have to. You want your wedding to be a celebration of your life, and if someone doesn’t play that big of a part in your life, then you’re entirely within your rights to not invite them.

As a Raleigh wedding planner I offer many services, including helping brides plan their guest lists. If you would like to see more of my work, please visit our gallery at  And if you’d like to read brides’ comments on how PBD made their wedding planning & design process amazing, check out our Kudos (testimonials) page!