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How to Scale Back the Guest List for Your Wedding

Is the first draft of your guest list looking a little bit too long or do you need to cut it back due to unforeseen circumstances? Here are a few cuts you can make.

Outdoor wedding ceremony

One of the first steps of wedding planning is crafting your guest list. While you may think it’s a piece of cake, it can actually get pretty tricky—especially if you want to host a micro wedding. If you need to scale back your guest list we’ve got a few pro tips and tricks for you.

Here’s how to scale back the guest list for your wedding.


Adults-only weddings are pretty common, so don’t feel bad about cutting kids from your guest list if necessary. Sure, they can be cute additions to photos and may do some LOL-worthy dancing at your reception, but they don’t need to be there. Of course, you’ll want to let the parents know way in advance so that they can hire a sitter.

Plus Ones

In a perfect world, everyone would receive a plus one to a wedding, but that’s not exactly realistic. Sometimes it just isn’t in the budget to double your guest list for the sake of your friends’ social comfort. The rule of thumb here is to invite the partners of people who are in long-term relationships or married but to skip sending RSVPs to flings, friends or recent flames.

Reciprocal Invites

If you attended a friend's wedding, you may feel an obligation to reciprocate the invite. However, this doesn't have to be the case—it really depends on the current circumstances. For example, if their wedding was five years ago and you're no longer in close contact, the change in your friendship status means you needn't feel obliged to invite that person. Alternatively, if they had a large guest list prior to Covid, whereas, your wedding plans call for a more intimate affair, I'm sure they'd understand.

Extended Family

This can be a pretty sensitive topic, but there simply might not be room on your guest list to invite all of your relatives. If you have relatives that you barely know or rarely see, your wedding doesn't also have to be a family reunion. One way around this is to include a virtual component. The hybrid wedding trend became a necessity during the pandemic and there are ways of making this approach fun and inclusive.


Unless you hang out with your coworkers outside of the office on a regular basis they don’t need to be invited to your wedding. Just remember, if they’re not making it onto your guest list, you’ll want to avoid working on your seating plan at your desk or discussing design details at the watercooler so that no one feels left out.


Ok, this one should go without saying, but don’t put your former flames on your guest list. Even if you’re super chummy, their presence could stir up some drama on your big day (and who wants that?). Sure, you could celebrate your nuptials with drinks or a group dinner, but they don’t need to be there when you tie the knot. Save the seats for your current list of loved ones.

People you don’t know

I know what you’re thinking, “why on earth would I have people that I don’t know on the guest list for my own wedding?”. Yes, it seems crazy, but a few names may have popped up on your list without you realizing it. How? Well, if your nearest and dearest don’t want to fly solo to your wedding, they may ask to bring along their BFF, roommate or coworker. It’s hard to say “no” when someone like your mom or dad puts in this kind of request, but you’ll have to if you don’t want to risk upping your headcount. They may be a little bummed, but they’ll totally understand your reasoning.

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