An expert guide into culling your wedding guest list

stressed woman reading a paper
Planning your guest list shouldn't be a stressful task. Photo credit: Getty.

Planning a wedding means a lot of decisions to be made: the food, the drink, the first dance, but easily one of the most stressful elements is the guest list. 

Do you invite your best friend from school that you haven't seen in 10 years? Do you invite your work colleagues, or your mum's friend she's hinting would love to come?

This is an issue close to marriage celebrant Zoe Wilde's heart. Owner of The Wilde Creative, a Northland-based mico-wedding and luxe elopement agency, she's an expert in weddings where smaller is better. 

Wilde says if you count on your fingers your best friends and closet family, the majority of us will get a lot less than 30 people. 

"Think of it this way; if you wouldn't have them over for dinner, why invite them to your wedding?" she asks. 

In a Facebook post on Monday, Wilde says extended friends and family surely now understand extravagant weddings are becoming a thing of the past. 

"People have better things to spend their money on these days and the people that really care would rather see you spend your money on those things too - like a deposit on a house or an epic honeymoon," she adds. 

Wilde gave some of her top tips for culling down that guest list for the micro-wedding of your dreams:

  1. Don't invite people who haven't met you or your fiancé… do I even need to go further into this?
  2. Say no to the plus one - don't feel like you HAVE to invite their other half if you don't want to.
  3. No kidding, no children - turn it around as an opportunity for them, and you, to relax.
  4. Think future - not past. Will they be in your life in five years' time? Don't invite old friends that live in the same area if you haven't seen them in over a year.
  5. F**k obligation - it's your wedding! Don't invite someone because you went to their wedding five years ago.
  6. Apply the 'if it wasn't for' test, ie. "If it wasn't for work, would I ever see this person?"
  7. You could always have a micro-wedding and have a massive backyard party afterwards… Invite your co-worker, your neighbours and that guy that feeds your chickens while you're away then.
  8. Blame us. If you still have Great Aunt Audrey guilt hanging over you, you can always say, "sorry we've booked a micro wedding with only a limited amount of guests but we promise we will send pics!" 

You can find more inspiration for culling that guest list in this New Zealand Weddings article, and more from The Wilde Creative here