Planning a Smaller Wedding Thanks to Coronavirus? Here’s How to Cut Your Wedding Guest List

Planning Advice

Deciding on the size of your wedding and creating a guest list can be one of the biggest wedding planning headaches. And that’s in a normal year! In a time of Coronavirus, many couples are unfortunately having to reimagine their celebration as a more intimate affair. Perhaps this is to accommodate a new venue, a smaller budget, or for safety reasons. Whatever the cause, it can feel like mission impossible, but it IS do-able! The important thing is to have a strategy in place to help you cut your wedding guest list in an effective (and tactful) way.

I know you might also be worried about upsetting people you love. But, given the extraordinary circumstances, you will probably find that people will be more understanding than you fear. Remember: we’re all in this together!

Step 1: Decide on your new guest list limit

Before you do anything else, settle on the number of guests you will be able to accommodate. Talk to your venue contact to clarify their restrictions (as well as any state restrictions) so you have a firm number to work with.

Step 2: Identify the VIPs

Whatever the size of your wedding, there are always some people on the must-invite list. Start with your immediate families and wedding party, as well as their significant others. Then add your closest friends and family – the people you can’t imagine getting married without.

Step 3: Make the cuts

Once you’ve built this initial list, work out how many spots are leftover. You can then fill these places with a widening circle of people from your other list. Some of the people that may be easier to cut include friends or family members you haven’t seen or communicated with in years, work friends, and plus-ones you don’t know. If your parents or in-laws have added names to the original guest list, they may be willing to cut some of these as well.

Step 4: Check-in with your guests

Before you make any further moves, it’s a good idea to check in with the guests still on your list. You can do this personally, or via a survey. Ask them who would be able to attend on your original (or revised) date. Some of them may not be willing to travel or attend a group gathering, however small. (This may be especially true for older relatives.) If so, you’ll be able to include others in their place. And they will have made the decision for you!

Step 5: Communicate openly and honestly

Once you’ve settled on the revised guest list, it’s time to inform your previously-invited guests (if you have any). The best way to do this is personally. Reach out with a phone call or video chat as soon as possible. Explain the situation honestly, and let them know how disappointed you are that they won’t be able to make it. If you’ll be live-streaming the event, you should also let them know this.

Having to cut your wedding guest list due to Coronavirus is a difficult moment in your wedding planning for sure. But try not to let it overshadow your excitement at what will still be an incredible day!



Top image by Dennis Kwan