How to Create a Useful Guest List for your Wedding

Two weeks ago I blogged about how to organize your wedding folder while planning your wedding. Today, I want to dive a little deeper into that organization and help you create a guest list that will be easy to maintain AND that will help you as you move through the planning process!

When brides draft out their guest lists for the first time, they are typically just jotting things down in a notebook or a Word document. This can be totally fine for a first draft, but once you have your guests finalized, it’s better to throw out that scratch paper and recreate your guest list in a more organized fashion. It’s hard when you’re at the beginning of the planning process to think forward a whole year and understand everything that you will actually use this list for – and it’s a lot!! I’ve come up with an organized way to store your guest information so that you can use one guest list throughout your entire planning process – and I’m going to give you an example today! Let’s get started!

1. SELECT YOUR GUESTS

Obviously, the first step is to finalize your guest list. As I mentioned above, it’s perfectly ok to work through this step drafting your list on paper, or on the computer, just writing down names. This is your chance to list out every single person you may want at your wedding and then have the ability to cross out entries as you narrow your guests down to your ideal count. Keep in mind that you should expect about 15-20% of your total number to RSVP with a “no” – this will help you have an idea of how many people to invite.

2. DECIDE WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

I mentioned above that you will use this guest list a lot and refer back to it a number of times throughout the planning process. There is specific information that you may need to know for each individual guest, and it is important to store all of it within your single guest list so it is easy to access. Below, I’ve listed categories of things to think about so you can decide what information you’ll need from each guest. I highly recommend using Google Sheets within your Google drive wedding folder to store your finalized guest list – this will give you the ability to make changes on your guest list from any computer and even your phone! Each of these categories listed below should correspond to a column within your guest list spreadsheet.

Full Name. Your first draft list may have “Mom, Dad, Aunt Susan, Grandma, etc.” listed, but your final list should have full names – first and last – with the correct title (Mr., Mrs. Miss, Dr., etc.). And, if you’re really fancy, put these in alphabetical order 🙂

Address. As you collect addresses, save them under their own column next to the corresponding guest. Yes, you will have the same address listed for multiple people (for example, your mom, dad, and sister may live in the same home), but still, make sure to enter the address for every guest. This way, you can filter on a single address and see how many guests are within one household.

RSVP. You won’t be collecting these until closer to the wedding, but as they come in, note them in your guest list right away. You can even have “totals” at the bottom of these columns so you know how many total “yes” and how many total “no” RSVPs you have.

Age. This one may seem weird. When I say age, I don’t really mean that you need to know the exact age of every guest. Mainly, you just need to keep track of who is under 21 years old. That way, when you go to give numbers to the caterer/bartender for drinks, you’ll have an easy way to know exactly how many people you need to pay for.

Dinner Choice. You may or may not have an option for a dinner selection, but if you are giving guests an option, this is a great way to keep track of who ordered what. Add this in when you receive the RSVPs and even if you aren’t giving a dinner option, you could use this category to mark which guests are vegetarian.

Table Number. Ohhh seating assignments 🙂 They’re just the best… If you mark which table each guest is assigned to next to their name, then you can filter by table number and get an easy view at which guests are at each table.

Extras. I like to include a “notes” column for any extra information that may need to be stored. Maybe you have a relative that is handicapped and so a seat needs to be removed from their assigned table. Or maybe a guest has some kind of special dietary need. Any miscellaneous information can be stored right here.

Having all of this information in one central location for each guest will make it extremely easy to reference throughout the planning process as you’re getting RSVPs, giving numbers/selections to catering, and deciding on seating assignments. Creating this template within your spreadsheet from the beginning will allow you to easily maintain guests’ information as you receive it over the next several months.

3. MAINTAIN YOUR WORKSHEET

Once you have your guest list sheet template complete, you must maintain it throughout the planning process to ensure the information stays up-to-date and nothing gets lost in emails or notebooks. Having the template will make it easy, but you have to make sure you stay on top of it! In addition to adding information as it comes in, you should also check on your sheet at least once a month to make sure everything looks up-to-date 🙂

Trust me, storing all of your guest’s information in one central location will save you SO much time throughout the planning process! The organization is key when it comes to planning, and you’ll be so happy to have your template organized and ready to go at the beginning of your engagement so you can easily update it leading up to your wedding day! I hope this post helps you create your own guest list template and motivates you to get your guest info organized!

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