When you sit down to plan, it seems intuitive to start with your wedding guestlist. The logic makes some sense. To know how big your wedding will be, you should know how many people you have to invite, right? Well, not exactly. For your financial health now and in the future, we recommend starting with what you can afford. (If you haven’t already, check out our 1-Page Wedding Plan, and we’ll walk you through the whole process!) 

But what do you tell people in the meantime? Here are some of our suggestions. 

If you’re just not sure yet, or you’re worried about the budget

You can put the conversation off. Let us be the first to say that’s totally allowed! There’s no need to stress over the wedding guestlist—or let other people stress you out about it—until your budget and space are taken care of. 

  • PASS THE BLAME. “Unfortunately, we don’t know how many people we can host at the venue, so I’m not sure yet what our final guestlist will look like.” 
  • LEAN ON YOUR PARTNER. “My partner and I have decided to hold off on talking about who will be invited until we have had time to sit down and figure everything out.” 
  • FLEX YOUR FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY. “We are really focused on making sure we are starting our marriage off financially healthy, so we’re being cautious with our wedding spending. So, we haven’t made any of those decisions yet.” 

If you’re going for an intimate vibe

There’s nothing wrong with wanting your celebration to be a private event. Weddings don’t have to be an expensive blowout party for 150+ people, including all your distant family members and your dad’s golf buddies. You can go ahead and let people know early, while setting the tone for how you’d like them to respond.

  • KEEP IT SIMPLE. “Most likely, we will just invite immediate family and our wedding party.” 
  • LET THEM IN ON THE SECRET. “I know it might sound unusual, but we are actually doing something a little different and making this a pretty private event. Only a few people will be invited.”
  • MAKE YOUR EXPECTATIONS KNOWN. “The wedding is going to be fairly small and intimate. We have a lot of hard decisions to discuss, but we know those who love us will understand.”

If they’ve assumed they’re invited, but they’re not

Yikes! That’s hard to combat, especially if a third party has told them they are invited. There are ways to tactfully let folks know that they are not on the wedding guestlist. We definitely recommend clearing up any misconceptions as far in advance as possible. It will prevent chaos later on.

  • ADDRESS IT DIRECTLY. “I heard you mention coming to the wedding, and I’m happy you want to celebrate us! I wanted to give you a heads up, though—we already finalized our list. I’m sorry we weren’t able to include you.” 
  • HELP THEM UNDERSTAND. “I wish we could have invited everyone we wanted to. We had to make some tough decisions because we both have so many family members. Thanks for being so understanding. ” 
  • ACKNOWLEDGE THE SOURCE. “I know my mom really wanted me to invite you, and I’d love to if we had space and budget. Unfortunately, we are limited, and we just weren’t able to make that happen. I know we’re all disappointed.” 

If they won’t stop asking

Some people may not catch a hint or may feel entitled to keep asking you about the wedding guestlist. You’ll need to be a lot more direct to get them to drop their line of questioning.

  • ASK THEM TO STOP. “I understand you want more info, but I really don’t want to talk about it. It makes me uncomfortable to keep being asked questions I can’t answer. Can we put wedding talk on hold?” 
  • REMIND THEM. “Nothing has changed since the last time we talked. We still haven’t made our final decisions.” 
  • BE BLUNT. “I’m sorry to disappoint you, but we’ve already finalized our list and can’t add anyone else.” 

Bottom line

It’s your wedding; you can invite who you want to. 

Let us know how you’ve handled similar situations in the comments below. 

Looking for more wedding planning resources? Not only can we help with wedding budgets and honeymoon planning, but we’ve also got you covered for the whole wedding. Our 1-Page Wedding Plan takes a refreshing, streamlined look at planning your wedding from top to bottom.

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