How to Make Your Micro Wedding Guest List

Wedding invitation suite with white and pink theme

Having a micro wedding is an exciting decision and there are many benefits to throwing one, but one of the hardest things some couples run into is creating their guest list. This is especially true if you come from a large family, or have a huge group of friends.

While some couples might know exactly who they’re going to invite, others will struggle with those beyond their immediate family. Here, we’re helping you navigate the sometimes confusing (and occasionally awkward) process of creating your micro wedding guest list.

Set Boundaries

The first thing you should do when putting together your micro wedding guest list is to set boundaries with those around you. Remember, this is YOUR wedding. Not your families wedding, or your friends, or your colleagues. It’s a day that you and your partner want to remember for all the right reasons.

Make it clear to whoever needs to hear it that you’ve chosen to have a small wedding, and the guest list is going to be incredibly limited. This means that mom and dad won’t be able to invite their business partners, and your little brother won’t be able to bring the girl he’s been dating for two weeks. The people who are attending are the people who you and your partner want to spend this special day with. No ifs, ands, or buts.

Being upfront and firm with these expectations early on will ensure that no bumps form in the road later on. Being firm certainly doesn’t have to mean being combative or rude, but don’t waver in your expectations or boundaries, as this may open the door to other situations that will simply become more complicated.


Communicating often and early with your partner about how many and who you’d like at your wedding is vital. Since you’ve already decided to have a micro wedding, decide together exactly how micro you’re going to go. Set a goal number, and do your best to stick with that.

Then, talk about who the most important people are to both of you, and talk about why those are the people you’d like to attend your special day. Don’t assume that your partner understands exactly why certain people make your list, and don’t assume that you understand theirs either. Giving each other space to talk about these things will help you create a list that you both feel good about and prevent frustration.

Immediate Family

Immediate family is at the top of many people’s lists (though each list is unique) and is a great place to start. Only inviting immediately family is a helpful way of explaining to other family members why they haven’t received an invite. Immediate family generally includes parents, siblings, and grandparents.

If you hear that someone is upset, don’t avoid the situation. Instead, give that person a call, and simply explain that you’ve decided to have a very small wedding, and are only inviting immediately family for that reason. Affirm that they are still special to you, and suggest that you arrange a get together with your partner to celebrate before or after your vows.

Feelings may inevitably be hurt, but stay firm in your decisions and remember that you don’t owe anyone an invite to your wedding simply based on lineage.

Close Friends

After you’ve chosen the family members that will attend your micro wedding, move on to close friends. This is another place where decisions can get sticky, and it’s helpful to sit down with your partner and reflect on your relationship and who has been an integral part in it. While you each might have an extra close friend whose presence is non-negotiable, knowing which people share the relationship with both of you will help make it clear who you should invite.

And no, you do not need to feel obligated to invite someone to your wedding just because they invited you to theirs. Intimate weddings are exactly that – intimate. Remind yourself of why you chose to have a micro wedding – to surround yourself with those people you couldn’t imagine the day without.

Just like with family, you do not owe anyone an explanation as to why you didn’t invite them, but if you hear they’re upset, directly address the issue and let them know you’d love to connect in a different way.

Another way to involve friends who may not have made the cut is to throw a bigger bachelor/bachelorette party and invite all of your friends to attend. Emphasize that while you’re having an intimate wedding, you’d love the opportunity to include them in the celebration.

Wedding place cards on silver tray

Questions to Ask

Sometimes, having a set of questions to guide you will help determine which people make the cut. If you’re feeling undecided about a specific person, then ask yourself:

  • How often do you see this person? 
  • When is the last time you saw each other or had a call?
  • Does this person know you both as a couple?
  • Has this person been there for you throughout important events in your life? 
  • Are there any negative feelings or emotions associated with this person?
  • Will this person cause drama in any way?
  • Do you feel comfortable sharing your most intimate feelings and vows in front of that person?
  • Is this person being invited due to external pressure (ie from an outside family member or friend)?

Adults Only

Having an adults only wedding is an easy way to help keep your guest count low, especially if you have a large immediate family. If you’ve got multiple siblings with numerous kids, that can quickly take up space in your otherwise low guest count that you’d like to reserve for other people.

Although it may sound harsh in your mind, most parents are more than happy to find a sitter for the night and have a date night to celebrate your nuptials.

If you have the budget for it, look into options like coordinating and hiring a sitter for numerous families to share, or hiring a hotel sitter for the night. Offering alternatives will help the parents feel supported, while also ensuring that your wishes are honored.

Limit Plus Ones

Plus ones can quickly eat up guest list space, and while it can be tricky, limiting plus ones will hold those spaces for the people that you love and can’t imagine the night without.

If you are limiting the invite to the person who is on the card, be sure to communicate your expectations with them beforehand. A simple call is enough to let them know that you’ve decided to keep your celebration intimate and the space is incredibly limited. If they feel frustrated with this decision, let them know that you hear and understand their feelings, but stay firm in your decision.

Keep Your List Private

Once you’ve finished your final list, consider keeping it between you and your partner. Chances are it was difficult enough to come up with a final list, so the last thing you need are outside voices and opinions letting you know that someone was left off.

A wedding guest list is a private thing, and a micro wedding list is even more so. You shouldn’t feel obligated to spend time defending your choices to others, so keeping your list between you and your spouse ensures that you won’t need to.

Don’t Justify Yourself

Regardless of who makes the list, don’t feel the need to justify your decisions. While it’s perfectly okay to address hurt feelings or confusion with a personal phone call, don’t spend the time trying to force the person see your point of view. Be concise and firm, and let friends or family who weren’t invited know that they hold a special place in your heart, and while it was a difficult decision, you don’t want it to affect your relationship. If the person chooses to hold a grudge, then there’s probably a good reason why they didn’t make the list in the first place.

At the end of the day, your wedding is a celebration of the love between you and your partner. It should not be about pleasing everyone around you. Stay true to the vision that you decided on together, and remember, those who truly love you will be happy for you whether they received an invite or not.

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