Nigerian Weddings

How to Reduce a Wedding Guest List to the Number of People You Can Cater For

Lately, we’ve written a couple of articles that show how to plan low-key, classy weddings in Nigeria  as well as how to save money when preparing your wedding on a tight budget. One of the biggest challenges with organizing an elegant small wedding lies in reducing the names on the guest list. Use the simple etiquette guides in this article to cut down the number of guests on your invite list to a manageable number you can cater for – in a way that frees you from feeling guilty, while ensuring that everyone that really matters stays on the guest list.

Photo credit: Dotun – Nigerian Wedding Photographer

When planning a wedding on a low budget, you are forced to make some tough decisions such as drawing a line on how many guests to invite, as well as deciding on who and who should or should not be invited to your wedding. After drafting your initial guest list, it’s normal to discover that the list is a lot more than your budget can realistically accommodate. So, the next logical thing to do is to cut down the number of guests to send the wedding invitation cards to. And that means, some people will not be invited. But who and who should be / not be on your invite list? I’m here to help you with that.

Simple Wedding Etiquette For Trimming Your Wedding Guest List

Now, get out a pen and be ready to cross out some names  until you have the number of wedding guests that match your budget. Here are simple wedding etiquette guidelines to help you establish the boundaries to trim down your wedding guest list:


If you have a large immediate family (like ‘all’ Nigerians do), make the cut at aunts, uncles and first cousins.

The Exception: If a relative/ family member is funding the wedding, allow them to invite a bit more guests.


You don’t have to invite anyone just because you attended the same school or live(d) in the same neighborhood. Well, you actually can if your budget is big enough to feed them all. Look at your friends and your fiance’s friends inside your wedding preliminary guest list. Strike out names of:

Anyone you’re no longer in touch with; don’t call often; don’t visit; don’t see regularly or talk to, even if they invited you to their own wedding in the past;

The Exception: Your married and engaged guests will come to your wedding with their significant other, whether you send them an invitation card that specifies it admits only one person or not – and the unplanned guests may rob the “real” invited guests of the small available food. So, here’s what to do:


If you have lots of office colleagues, it sure would be nice to invite them all. But when your catering budget cannot accommodate everyone, you need to cut down the guest list. The fact is that you’re not obligated to invite someone just because you work in the same office or have done business together.

The Exception: If your office is small and you’re close to all your colleagues, it’s appropriate to invite everyone (not appropriate to invite some and leave out some).


Cutting down the wedding guest list is one of the most stressful and dreaded parts of wedding planning, but once you get it done, you can breathe a sigh of relief. Don’t feel too bad about the people whose names you removed from the guest list. Just remember that Weddings are intimate affair, meant for family and close friends. Your third cousin from your Mother’s village and that office colleague will eventually forgive you for not giving them invitation cards. So, focus on how best to make your wedding special.

When trimming down the number of wedding guests to invite, it’s best to apply the above rules across board without making any exceptions, which may offend others. Note, however, to use your best judgment to make exceptions to the rules. Once you’re done reducing the name on on the guest list, the next thing to do is to start addressing the invitation cards.