Any bride or groom will tell you that composing the guest list for your wedding can be an absolute minefield.

Once you have chosen the date, the time, and place of your wedding, it is time to begin preparing a wedding guest list. Before you start creating a guest list, you need to consider two things. First, your budget will strongly dictate how large your guest list can be. The more guests you invite, the more money you will have to spend. Second, your venue’s size also will also affect the number of people you can invite. If you are set on having a wedding at a venue that can only accommodate 60 people for the reception, then you’ll need to narrow it down to 60 people.

Some guests automatically make the list just for being family, as a general rule, always invite family first. Remember that the guests at your wedding are your “witnesses,” so they should be family and close friends whom you care about and will stay in touch with for many years.

Before creating a master guest list, you and your spouse-to-be make a list and if either set of parents are financially contributing then they should make a list. Compile these lists and work graciously together to come up with a final master list and reach the desired number of guests that fit into the budget.

Below are a few set of rules to follow by but Like any set of rules, there are always exceptions, so use your best judgment.

Work Colleagues
The age old question of what to do about inviting work colleagues to your wedding is one that troubles many engaged couples time and time again. For most of us, we spend a lot of time around our work colleagues and have grown a close relationship with a number of them, but there is often others you may not be as close to for one reason or another, it is not necessary to invite all your colleagues from work or your boss or your manager. If you’re inviting only a couple of people from a tight group at the office, stay low-key about the plans, and ask them to be discreet as well. If you decide to bypass all work friends but don’t want to hide the fact that you’re getting married, the best tactic is to be as honest as possible.

Before you send invitations, decide whether or not you want children to attend your wedding. Since you’ll have to count everyone in attendance at the venue, remember that children will likely cost as much as an adult. Many couples feel that it is important for children to join in the celebrations, so, make them feel welcome.
Keep in mind, though, your flower girl and ring bearer are part of your wedding party, so you should invite them, of course. If either you or your spouse-to-be has children, you should absolutely include them, too. If either of you has children in your immediate family (that is, brothers or sisters), you should invite them, as well

Plus Ones and Single Friends
Contrary to popular belief, a single guest does not always get a “Plus One” for the wedding. The rule of thumb is to invite the significant other of a guest if they’re married, engaged, living together or have been dating for a significant amount of time. You should be very clear on your invitation about additional guests. For example, if one of the people you want to attend is in a long-term relationship, you probably want to include both names on the invitation. If your budget allows, you may allow your single guests to bring a date. You can even include that in a note with the invitation. If not, be very clear that the invitation is only for the person named on the invitation.

Friends of Parents
Some brides and grooms are faced with family obligations. Perhaps the bride’s father has a business partner who would be hurt if he or she wasn’t invited. Or maybe the groom’s mother has a client who invited her to the wedding of one of her children. If the budget allows, by all means, invite friends of the parents. Goodwill is part of life, and this is a good exercise in showing the parents your appreciation – particularly if they are helping to pay for your wedding.
Finally, you need to be prepared for that incredibly painful moment when someone says, “Congratulations! Am I invited?” Here’s a wonderful opportunity to deploy a phrase that you’ll use countless times after you have said your vows: “Let me check with my spouse/partner and get back to you.”