Organizing your guest list is probably the first thing I tell anyone that gets engaged. While most people are asking if a couple has set a date, I’m over here asking, “did you do your guest list yet?” It’s critical! Your guest count determines your capacity needs. Your capacity needs determines your ceremony and reception location, and these locations’ availability determine your wedding date. DO YOUR GUEST LIST FIRST.
With that said, I’m making this guide to give you what I think is the best way to format your wedding guest list.
Use Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets.
Hey–I hear you. As a creative, I hate these programs. But to keep data organized, and yep, this is your first set of data for your wedding, this is the way to go. You’ll be able to alphabetize your guests easily (this comes in handy later!) and make sure you have all the information you need from each guest.
Break down the information as much as possible.
Title/first name/middle name/last name/suffix–the more you break it down the better. This means that later you can easily make changes to your overall envelope design by eliminating any unnecessary pieces, but also making sure you include everything you need. It’s better to have all the information upfront and parse it down later.
Don’t get lazy on the details.
You have to spell everything out. The initial effort here makes it much easier down the line when formatting addresses. States, roads, lanes, northeast, third, post office box…the only abbreviations should be Mr. and/or Mrs. because Mister and Missus are kind of crazy in full-form.
Change the zip code column to “plain text.”
In the spreadsheet that I provide to my couples, this is already done, but if you’re making your own, this step is key. If you don’t make this simple change, you’re going to end up with family and friends who live in Connecticut and New Jersey with zip codes that are less than 5 digits. 06830 will suddenly drop the 0, which can be a mistake that costs money when your envelopes go to print.
Add columns to track details like rsvp responses, relationships, and more.
Use this spreadsheet to track everything beyond just personal info.
You can create additional columns for additional information from nicknames to relationships and rsvp responses. A bonus feature with using a spreadsheet is each guest is designated a row #, which you can use if you’re planning to assign a number to each RSVP card (yes, you SHOULD do this). You’ll also easily know how many guests you have on your list at any given time and have the ability to calculate how many are attending with a simple SUM feature.
Go beyond your wedding day–
Track gifts after the wedding. I used my own guest list spreadsheet to track my progress on handwriting my thank you cards. I continue to use it for addressing my holiday cards every winter. I love updating addresses when friends move and knowing it’s up to date if I need to mail a birthday card (I may or may not have added a birthday column!).
If you want a copy of the revelry + heart Google spreadsheet, you can find it here.
And if you know someone who gets engaged, share this post!