Managing Your Wedding Guest List

December 29th, 2014

Many of you are newly engaged and in a whirlwind of ideas on where to start your planning.  Your wedding guest list and budget are two of the first things you need to discuss before you can start looking for venues, florists, etc.  Everyone is busy and I see so many people waste time and effort on managing their wedding guest list.  If you do it right the first time, you’ll save yourself a lot of hassle later on in the planning process.

Consider that you’ll use this list for multiple things – addressing invitation outer and inner envelopes, addressing shower invitations, escort cards or place cards, managing menu selections, tracking RSVP’s and addressing thank you notes.  Use the tips below to help you manage your wedding guest list from the beginning and make this part of the planning stress-free.

  • Use exel: In this case, exel is your friend.  If you don’t know how to use it, find a friend or family member that does.
  • The initial list:  Start with a tab for “groom’s guest list” and “bride’s guest list” so you and your families can create your own complete lists and then merge them later.  By complete, I mean every column (below) is filled.  Also, make sure sort by “must invite” down to “would like to invite”.
  • The columns:  Titles, first names and last names should have their own columns, then street number and street in one column, and city/state/zip in one column.  Once the list is complete and the two lists are merged, you’ll add a column for # of guests.  I use this as the RSVP column.  Number of guests is 0 if the RSVP is “no”.  Add a column for # of kids if you’re inviting them.
  • The final list:  Have a tab for “master guest list” which is the final wedding guest list from both families.  This will look like the first photo below.  If you are having guests reply with a food choice, you’ll copy and paste your guest list into a new tab and give each guest their own row so you can track the food choices as well as the guest count (second photo).  You need both so you can appropriately print the envelopes and escort cards.
  • Remember: Gathering the appropriate information and organizing it correctly from the beginning will save you time later!  The formality of your wedding is your choice, and if you prefer to be less formal, by all means…it’s your wedding!
    • Use proper titles and full first names (Jonathon, not Jon, if that is his name)
    • Write out words like “West” and “Street”
    • You’ll need an escort card for each person if there are entree selections, but for a buffet or family style you can put couples on one card
    • Whenever possible, get the name of the “plus one” for the escort cards and use their name on the invitation if the couple is established

guest list exel 2

guest list exel

There are many ways to manage your wedding guest list, but using exel and keeping columns will allow you to sort as needed, automatically keep a guest count and merge for addressing fairly easily.

At this point, you should have discussed your budget so you know how many guests and what type of wedding you can plan on your budget.  If you’re newly engaged, click on the links below for more information on getting your planning started!

Cost Saving Tip – Stay within Your Budget

Start Planning!

Protecting That Ring

Luck in Planning!  xoxo


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