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(updated June 2021)

Planning a wedding can be difficult and stressful at the best of times. And that’s before you throw a pandemic into the mix.

The uncertainty around weddings at the moment will be making planning even more difficult for so many couples.

If you have a wedding coming up in the next few months, you might be quite anxious around how many guests you will be able to invite.

You may have already posted your invites and are now worrying about how you will downsize your guest list and essentially un-invite guests. Or maybe you haven’t posted your invites yet, but are afraid do so because you are still unsure how many guests you will be allowed bring.

To try and help ease the burden with this, I have included 6 steps below to help…

Your guest list…

Step 1 – Decide on Your overall Plan

If you are planning a wedding in the next few months, you will have to sit down with your fiancé and discuss your options going forward.

If you have your heart set on a large wedding, you might need to consider pushing your wedding out to a later date.

If you are postponing your wedding you probably won’t need to follow the rest of this post. You can just follow the “normal” guide to planning your guest list.

Another option could be to change your wedding to a micro wedding with just a small gathering of your close family and friends. Or you might want to go ahead with your wedding as planned, while keeping it in line with public health guidelines.

If you are going for either of these options, you could follow up with a larger celebration at a later date.

If you do choose to go ahead with your wedding as planned and need to downsize your guest list, then the following steps should help.

Step 2 – Discuss with your venue

If you want to go ahead with your wedding, you will need to make sure it follows public health guidelines. At the moment, the number of guests allowed attend is limited to 25 guests. This is due to increase to 50 and 100 guests over the next couple of months.

You should check with your venue, just to confirm that they will be able to accommodate your wedding in any of these scenarios.

Step 3 – Start working on your Updated Guest List

Now that you know how many people your guest list will be limited to, you can start working through your revised list to complete the very unenviable task of trying to downsize the list.

The first step should probably make note of anyone who won’t be able to attend. This is likely to include anyone living abroad who might be unable to make it to the wedding due to travel restrictions. You will know that you won’t need to include these on your list.

Next step will be to update the list to include those people who are absolutely essential to the day. This will include close family members, the wedding party and some of your best friends.

Once you add these to the list, you will be able to check to see the summary of the total number of guests you are inviting so far. You will now know how much room you have left on your list.

You and your fiancé should then sit down to decide who else to invite. You can add guests to the list under three different categories; your guests, your fiancés guests and your mutual guests.

The guest list is probably going to be smaller than you might like it to be. You and your fiancé are both going to have to exclude some people that you would love to have at your wedding. Because of this it might be fair to try and find a balance and agree how many guests you will include in each category.

The Guest List Manager will let you keep track of this very easily.


Step 4 – Finalise Your Guest Lists

In a previous post about how to manage your guest list in “normal” circumstances mentioned that you should aim to finalise your guest list and post your invites about 12 weeks in advance of the date. However, in current circumstances, I think I would aim to finalise my list about 4-6 weeks in advance of the wedding date.

This will mean you will be as up to date as possible when it comes to restrictions & guidelines before finalising your list. For example, if guidelines change, you might have time to update your guest list

In that post, I also mentioned that once you identify the number of guests you can invite, you should treat this number as a ‘limit, not a target’.

However, under these circumstances, I think I would definitely try and target getting as close to the limit as possible. Especially, as you may have to exclude some people that you would love to invite to your wedding

How could you do this?

You could spend a day or two,  making some quick calls to the guests that are on your invite list just to make sure they are able to attend.

If for example, 5 people inform you that they can’t make it, then you could mark them as ‘declined’ on the Guest List Manager, and (provisionally) mark the others as accepted. This will free up room to add 5 more people to the guest list.


Step 5 – Inform all of Your Guests

The next step will be to inform all of your guests of the updated plans.

Unfortunately, this may involve letting some people know that you won’t be able to invite them to your wedding. There will be a difficult conversation to have. I think if it was me I would try and do it with a phone call, or in person.

I think under the circumstances most people will understand. If you are planning to have a larger celebration at a later date, you will be able to let them know that you still have plans to celebrate your wedding with them.

Step 6  – Your Guest List for the Part 2 Celebration

If you are planning to go ahead with your downsized wedding now, and hold a larger celebration at a later date, you should easily be able to plan your Guest List using the Guest List Manager as well.

If you are doing this, I would recommend creating a separate JaneyMac account for this guest list. Maybe your fiancé could create an account for this part of the wedding.

The reason for this, is that it could get a little messy and complicated trying to plan the guest list for two events under one Guest List Manager.

With this guest list, you should be able to add as many guests as you like. 😃


Thanks for reading, and I hope you found this post helpful. You might also want to check out my posts on managing your budget and managing your task tracker during the ‘new normal’

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