If you’re getting married in the time of corona, you may find yourself needing to cut your wedding guest list. And even if coronavirus isn’t affecting your wedding, you may still need to bring down your guest count. Most couples have to narrow down their list due to budget constraints, venue limits or, y’know, a global pandemic!

Weddings in this time are going to look different. There will be added hygiene measures and increased space between people. One of the main ways that COVID-19 is affecting weddings is that weddings are having to get smaller in order to keep everyone safe and healthy.

If you’re getting married under these new rules and need to cut your wedding guest list, read on for our tips!

*Note that all photos below were taken at weddings in pre-corona times when social distancing was not yet a thing! 

Get on the same page

The first thing you need to do is get on the same page as your partner. You need to discuss the guest list together and ensure you’re presenting a united front. Your guest list will balloon and feelings will be hurt if one partner promises a potential guest something the other partner doesn’t agree to. If you and your partner disagree about your wedding, work on that before you make any decisions.

Another thing you’ll want to do with your partner? Commiserate. It sucks that you have to change your wedding plans – whether that’s due to the pandemic, budget, family drama or something else. It’s totally fine if your first wedding re-planning meeting is more of a venting session fuelled by strong drinks and ice cream!

by Clint Bargen Photo

People will understand

The one silver lining about having to cut your wedding guest list during a global pandemic is that people are extremely understanding. How is anyone going to be mad at the poor engaged couple who have had to re-plan their entire wedding?

Hopefully, your guests understand that you’ve had to make a lot of sacrifices and that cutting your guest list isn’t personal – it’s now a legal requirement. If you’re struggling with how to deliver the news, check out our posts on how to tell your big family you’re having a small wedding and how to manage family opinions about your wedding.

Start simple

It might sound harsh, but some cuts are going to be easier than others. If you’re getting married during the pandemic, you can pretty easily cut any guests who would have to travel from your list. They likely won’t be able to cross regional or international borders, and they may not want to even if they could. You can also cross off elderly guests, like grandparents, or immunocompromised people who may be at greater risk in larger gatherings.

Remember, it’s also easier to invite people who live in the same household. People within the same household don’t need to socially distance from one another, meaning they would take up less space at a venue. It would be a lot easier to space out 10 couples or four families of five, then it would be to space out 20 individual people who need a two metre bubble around each of them.

Lastly, some people may choose not to come to your wedding. They might not be comfortable with large gatherings or local travel to get to your venue in these times. None of us have lived through a pandemic like this before and we all have different levels of comfort and risk. Prepare yourself to have some of your invitations declined.

by Erica Miller Photography
by Erica Miller Photography

Come up with a rule

It can be easier to cut your wedding guest list if you and your spouse-to-be come up with a firm rule. You may decide to cut all plus ones, only invite immediate family or only invite first cousins. With a rule in place, you can more easily make decisions and explain to guests where the cut-off line is. Of course, this might not work in all circumstances, and can get tricky if you have a rule but start making exceptions.

Celebrate differently

While you might not be able to invite all of your loved ones to your wedding, you can still find unique ways to celebrate with them. Many corona-couples are taking their weddings virtual and having guests join from near and far via video chat apps. That way, guests can watch and participate in your wedding from the safety of their own homes.

You could also involve loved ones who can’t attend in other ways. You could collect letters and well wishes from your family and friends to read at your wedding. You could arrange to meet up with local guests at socially distanced picnics afterwards. Or you could hold a big anniversary reception once it’s safe to do so!

Don’t want to cut your wedding guest list?

If you really do not want to cut down your guest list, you don’t have to. As we always say, it’s your wedding, your way. If you are committed to having 100 guests, then we think you should move forward with the guest list you want.

However, your wedding may look a little different. If you’re wanting a higher guest count, you will need to wait for a time when it’s safe to gather in larger groups. Even then, your wedding may not be exactly as you envisioned. You may still have to include extra hygiene measures and/or socially distance. You may have to change venues or vendors, depending on your new wedding date, or make new decisions based on your life and budget.

Have you had to cut your wedding guest list? 


by Riana Ang-Canning