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The easiest way to get started on your guest list is to just start making a list of important people in your lives. Both you and your fiancé should make lists and like any kind of brainstorming session, there are no wrong answers. Give yourself some time to make sure you’ve written down everyone, and then compare and combine your lists.

The guest list process can get messy if one or both sets of parents are contributing financially and expect to invite their own guests. Be sure to set expectations at the beginning of the planning process so everyone will be on the same page. Even if you’re paying for the wedding yourselves, it’s a good idea to talk with your families about the guest list so there are no surprises.

Once you feel like you’ve got all the names down on your list, take a look at the number. You will most likely find yourselves at a cross roads. Do you start trimming down the guest list so you can afford your dream wedding? Or do you keep the guest list as is, and start to look for ways to accommodate them all? Our tip: remember that guests don’t come to your wedding for the fancy meal or the perfect decorations; they come to the wedding to support you and your fiancé.

You could certainly do a bit of both. If you need help with trimming your list, we have some tips. That uncle no one has heard from in 10 years? Feel free to cut him. The guy who sits in the cube diagonally from yours that you speak with on occasion? Invite him, and other co-workers, to a pre-wedding happy hour instead. That friend who invited you to their wedding five years ago? Don’t feel like you have to reciprocate unless they’re still good friends.

Don’t forget to include yourselves in the final count!

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