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What to Do If Your Partner's Guest List Is Bigger or Smaller Than Yours

Relax, this is a good thing. It makes for great conversations.

Contributing Writer
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Photography by: Michael and Carina Photography

Whether because your partner's family is double the size of yours, or your own guest list includes just a handful of friends, there's a possibility that you could have very different ideas of how many guests to invite to your wedding. What should you do if your partner's guest list is a different size from your own? Take this as an opportunity to discuss your priorities and the type of wedding each of you envision.

 

Related: What Should You Do If Your Parents' Wedding Guest List Is Too Long?

 

Discuss the kind of wedding you want.

If you've been hoping for an intimate wedding with just 35-60 of your closest friends and family members, open this idea up for discussion with your partner. If their idea of a wedding includes all their extended family and high school buddies, you'll likely need to find a way to meet in the middle. This could be one of the most important conversations you'll have about your wedding, as it sets the stage for everything else you'll choose.

 

Figure out your priorities.

Start talking through your wedding priorities with your partner. If you both agree that your number one goal is to be able to afford a beautiful, elegant event with exquisite details, a smaller guest list might be more realistic. If your partner, on the other hand, says they're biggest priority is throwing a huge party, it's clear that you're not quite on the same page. Find a way to compromise and decide what your ideal wedding really is, then work together to come up with a guest list and vibe that matches it.

 

Be realistic.

Depending on your venue, location, or budget, one or both of you may have to seriously consider changing your guest lists to accommodate your event. For some couples, it's helpful to start by creating tiered lists of guests by priority, or to think of their guests in seating groups to start making their way through which guests they might not invite if numbers get tight.

 

Develop a standard for who you'll invite.

Some couples find it helpful to establish a set of rules so they can start cutting back the guest numbers. For example, you might decide that you'd prefer not to have anyone attending the wedding that you haven't both met or that only engaged or married guests will get a plus-one. You can always make exceptions later down the line, but setting a standard can be a helpful tactic to get the guest list heading in the right direction.

 

Decide what to do with family.

Before you reach out to your families to get a guest list from your parents, you and your partner should have an idea of the total guest count you're aiming for. You can then be specific with each set of parents and let them know how many people they can extend invitations to.