How To Cut Your Guest List For A Destination Wedding

Wedding guestsA common problem for wedding couples is that they can’t decide who to invite without busting through the wedding budget.

Most couples have a large guest list that has to be pruned because they can’t afford to invite everyone to their wedding.

And yet many don’t bother pruning the list because they feel guilty.

Krystal M., a bride at a San Francisco trade show says “I feel guilty about not inviting people. I feel like everyone is expecting an invite and that our relationship with them will be all downhill if we don’t”.

The concern above is shared by many brides when they are going over who to invite. While you may feel guilty about not inviting people, remember that most people are very understanding about not being invited to a destination wedding. It is assumed that you are only going to be inviting your closest friends and family so most people won’t expect an invite anyway.

Secondly, guilt is never a good reason to put somebody on the list. By adding them to the list, you may have to cut someone who you want at the wedding.

Finally, host a small celebration dinner after you come back for the people that were not invited. If that is not possible, then make it a point to invite them over for dinner within the first few months of your wedding.

So how do you go about pruning this list? And how do you do it without offending people?

In this article, we are going to go over some simple strategies to ensure that the people you want most are the ones that attend your destination wedding.

Let’s start narrowing your list by taking out groups of people that won’t be offended if they don’t receive an invite.


We all have friends that we see once in a while but are not necessarily close to. Should these people be invited to your destination wedding? Not at all. In fact, most won’t even expect an invite since destination weddings are thought to be for close friends and family anyway.


Another easy group of folks that you can leave out are people at your workplace. While it’s okay to invite someone at work that you are really close to, it is not necessary to invite everyone like you would if you were having a tradition in town wedding. The expectations are very different when you are having a destination wedding so most of your co-workers will not be offended if they don’t receive an invite.


Children are tougher to exclude from destination weddings than traditional weddings. For an in town weddings, if you choose to exclude kids, all the parents have to do is find a sitter for a few hours.

But what do you do if the wedding is in Jamaica over a weekend? Not all guests can leave their kids unattended.

A practical option is to only allow family members to bring kids to the wedding while providing some babysitting options for other guests. A lot of all-inclusive resorts offer babysitting services that can be utilized by wedding guests during the event.

Remove People Who You Haven’t Spoken In A Year

Are there people on your list who you have not spoken to in the past year? Are there friends from high school or college that you no longer hang out with socially? If so, then these folks can be safely taken off the list without offending anyone. Focus on the people that are relevant to your life now, instead of the people that were important five years ago.

By excluding some of the groups above, you will be able to pare down the list quite a bit. If you still have a ways to go, then try some of the following strategies (Tread carefully as they can be tricky to pull off).

Send Solo Invitations

You and your other half are both going to have friends that are single or don’t have a significant other that you know. In order to cut your list, send out a solo invite.

Cut Out Your Parents Guests

Talk to your parents to see if they would be okay with you not inviting their friends to the wedding. Most parents are fairly understanding when it comes to their kids needs so if you have to cut your parents friends, ask them. Simply invite them to the post wedding celebration after you get back.

Use the A-B list strategy?

Take your list of guests and divide it into two. An ‘A’ list and a ‘B’ list. The A list should consist of people that you absolutely want to attend your destination wedding. The B list should include the people that you would like to attend but are not an absolute necessity.

Start by sending invites to your ‘A’ list with an RSVP date. If people on your ‘A’ list can’t make it to the wedding, then start sending out invites to the people on the ‘B’ list. This strategy ensures that you have no empty seats at your wedding. Just make sure people don’t know that they are on the ‘B’ list as it will offend many.

While you may feel bad about cutting so many people off your list, remember that you and your fiance have to be disciplined about your destination wedding budget. The last thing you want is a large credit card bill that the two of you will have difficulty paying off. Use the strategies outlined above to cut down on the list of potential guests.

What to do next?

Take a look at some popular destination wedding locations.

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