One of the first elements of wedding planning, and often one of the most stressful, narrowing down your guest list is no easy feat. Whether you’re looking to keep it intimate or cut down on costs, editing down your numbers is a daunting task to undertake. We bring you our top tips for culling your numbers.

Distant relatives

First to go are the distant relatives who you don’t see or speak to. Normally the pressure to extend an invitation to these individuals stems for a parent on either side but remain firm that you want to keep things intimate and you would rather the seat were allocated to a close friend than somebody you don’t particularly know. Your parents are most likely proud and want to show you off so try and be tactful when letting them know

Old friends

Don’t allow history to dictate invite rights, while you may have been close once before, people do grow apart so if you have lost touch with an old friend and no longer feel particularly close to them, it’s ok to cross them off the invite list. A good way to judge this is to consider if they have even met your partner, if not – chances are that your paths probably won’t cross much in the future anyway.

Family friends

Similar to distant relatives, it’s common for parents to want to invite some of their friends to join the celebrations which is totally understandable, as long as this is within reason. If either set of parents are contributing to the wedding or even paying for it all, this naturally gives them a certain amount of input to who they want to invite. A good idea to avoid any arguments is to sit down and discuss everything from the beginning when they first offer their contribution to ensure you are both working off the same page. You don’t want to appear ungrateful, but you also don’t want your parents’ friends to outnumber yours!

Work colleagues

This can be a tricky area to navigate, you want to invite your work wife but feel that it may open you up to having to invite a whole host of other colleagues? Office politics can be a total minefield, but we think it’s completely acceptable to not invite colleagues, you may spend five days of your week with them but chances are they may not have even met your partner! Similarly, it’s also acceptable to invite colleagues but not their plus ones. If you do decide to extend an invitation to a group of colleagues, they can attend together so don’t worry about feeling obliged to include a plus one.

Plus ones that you don’t know

The old saying of “no ring, no bring” is outdated in this day and age with lots of couples skipping the marriage step and buying houses or having children together so I would advise a more tailored approach to this. Extend plus one invitations on the basis of how well you know the couple, if you consider them a friend then it’s a no-brainer. If it’s a friend who has a new partner every few months, then it’s fine to not extend an invite.

People who didn’t invite you to their wedding

This group of friends are the easiest people to narrow down as they have been in your exact situation and will understand the intricacies of guestlists. Simply explain to them that you would love to have them there but unfortunately you are so tight on numbers. Most couples will completely understand so don’t sweat it!

People you wouldn’t normally go to dinner with

Are they on your list of most recent calls or messages? Have you been out to dinner with them in the past year or 18 months? If the answer is no then you shouldn’t worry about not inviting them. Your wedding is essentially a giant dinner party for all of your close friends and family so if they wouldn’t be on your normal list of invitees then why start now?


This is an entirely personal decision at the discretion of the couple but by sticking to an “adults only” wedding, you can automatically cut numbers. Some venues charge the same cost per head, whether they are adult or child, so bare this in mind when you could be forking out €100+ for a plate of chicken nuggets and chips. To avoid upsetting anyone, we would advise imposing a blanket rule of no children though instead of picking and choosing certain friends children ahead of others!


Again, a tricky topic, if they are somebody who is still part of your everyday life and there is no weirdness amongst them and you as a couple then, by all means, extend an invite but if your partner shows the slightest hint of unhappiness at your suggestion to invite them, then the safest thing to do is leave them off the list. Never allow them to believe they are invited until you discuss it fully with your partner. Remember this could work both ways so imagine yourself in your partner's shoes!

Other Tips

Save the dates

Only send save the dates to your closest friends and family, that way it ensures your nearest and dearest have the date marked out in plenty of time but allows you longer to mull over your final list. Plus, the later you leave it to invite the rest of your guests, the more chance they may have a clashing event and are unable to make it.

Destination weddings

Having a wedding abroad is an easy way to curtail your guest list. The perfect excuse for an intimate wedding, colleagues and older relatives won’t be offended with not being invited to travel. Weddings abroad are expensive for guests travelling what with flights, accommodation and spending money so naturally only those closest to you will want to go to the effort and expense.

Choosing a small venue

By choosing a venue with a smaller capacity, this is a sure way to force you to be rigid with your guest list. If you can’t physically fit people in, you’ll be forced to sit down and consider who you simply can’t imagine not being there to celebrate with you on the day.