How to manage your wedding invitations


From drawing up your guest list to keeping track of RSVP's, managing your wedding invitations is a big job. Carley Roney, editor of The Knot, has some tips to make it easier.

How to manage your wedding invitations

Creating a guest list for a wedding can be difficult. To help decide who you should or should not invite and how to manage RSVPs there are a few rules you can follow:

Guest List

  • Coming up with a guest list may be the most daunting task of planning the wedding.
  • First, you need to decide on the number of guests you and your fiancé are going to invite.
  • Your budget and location will be the two major factors affecting the number of guests you can invite.
  • To avoid hurt feelings, try not to discuss the wedding with potential invitees until you grasp the scale of the wedding as a whole.
  • It is best to be honest with your invitees if you can’t afford for them to bring date.
  • If you would rather not have children at the reception you should include a card in the invitation and provide some kind of babysitter for guests with children.


  • Bold color is one of the biggest things for wedding invitations right now as well as fun shapes.
  • “Save the Date” cards are a trend that is almost required now when planning the wedding.
  • Ask your invitation supplier if they have a deal if you order the “save the date” cards, invitations and programs from them.
  • To help cut costs on invitations you can send out a simple card with the website for your wedding.
  • It is commonplace to have a website for your wedding that lists accommodations, dress code and directions—less expensive than including multiple cards within the invitation with all of this information.
  • Another way to save money on your wedding invitations is to choose thermography over engraving.
  • Keeping your invitation simple and a standard size will also save you money, especially on postage.
  • Pick your priorities. (e.g. rather than addressing the invitations with calligraphy address them normally and put the extra money toward a better band).


  • When deciding on how to handle RSVPs a new trend is online RSVPs. This takes a lot of the extra work out of the process.
  • Otherwise, when handling the RSVPs for the wedding the bride should have a spreadsheet and be checking off the RSVPs as they come in.
  • Write a number corresponding to each guest on the back of the reply card—when the RSVPs come in simply match up the number to the guest and check them off.

LISA: I'm Lisa Birnbach for If your planning a wedding you might find that doing a guest list is a mine field. Who do you absolutely have to include and who do you desperately want to leave off? And how do you manage the RSVPs? Here to lead up through this danger zone is the editor in chief of Carley Roney whose new book is The Knot Book of Wedding Lists. Hi Carley.

CARLEY:  Danger zone it is my friend

LISA:  The first fights I ever had with my then fiance were about guest lists.

CARLEY:  You fiance, your family is at odds. It's very difficult--it's one of the things we say is right at the top of the list of top priorities when you're planning a wedding. First of all don't invite anyone, don't even talk about your wedding until you understand the basic scale of wedding that you're having. The first thing to do is to decide on that number and this plays into your budget as well as your location size. If you know you have to get married in that same place your parents got married and it accomodates 150 people, then there's your number for you. If you don't have a control like that then it's your budget. The three big places that you end up cutting are, you know people say, it's people I haven't seen in over a year. Even if they were close friends--are they close friends now. Is it a family-focused wedding, is it not, what if I invite that aunt, that other aunt I never see. You need to make some decisions about those things. Kids too are a very big factor. 

LISA: Well kids and dates of people when you don't know the date. Is it okay to say to a single friend can you come by yourself?

CARLEY: I always say it pays to be honest.

LISA:  I don't know how you feel about it, but you invite two people and the assume they're bringing their three children?

CARLEY:  People don't know the basic rule. That's the main problem. It actually has to say family or list out everyone's names. If they're not there, you can expect that your kids are not invited. So, as a bride you can include this little card that says, you know, children are not invited to the reception. We have arranged for babysitting services please email so and so who's coordinating these services, whatever it is.

LISA:  Uh-huh. Okay. Now what about keeping down expenses when ordering invitations?

CARLEY:  One of the best tricks these days is to get a very simple card for your invitation and have your wedding website listed on it. It's sort of a trend now to have a wedding website--it's really not even a trend now, it's sort of required where you have a website that lists all the accomodations that you need for out of town guests. What is going to be the dress code for this wedding, what are the driving directions. Like that was the meat of all these invitations, eighteen extra inclosures. You don't really need to do that anymore because you have that website. So you're saving money. The other thing is to ask your invitation supplier, do you have a deal if I order my save the dates and my invitations and programs from you as well. You can have a standard invitation, you can save a dollar an invitation or even more. So just choosing thermography over engraving, it has the same elegant look and feel. 

LISA: Now are there trends in invitations right now?

CARLEY:  Bold colors is one of the things that's biggest in invitations or they'll have a custom design that's personalized of a theme. A green leaf for your spring wedding which will then carry through everything from your favorite tags to you know an emblem on the menu. So like the motif is very popular right now.

LISA: In the last century when I got married, people did not send out save the date cards. Is that a new and important trend? 

CARLEY:  Save the dates are a huge trend. They're almost required at this point. And it is a way, what they are are basically a notification of when your wedding day, reserving your wedding date with your guests and they should be sent out about eight months prior to your wedding.

LISA: Now what about RSVP's? You have to keep track of them, it can be complicated. Do you recommend that the bride be left in charge of the RSVP's or is there a better person to do that?

CARLEY:  Well one of my favorite trends is actually online RSVPing because it does all the work for you. The secret trick there is you actually number and lightly pencil on the back of each reply card you send out and in your little sheet you actually say what number it is next to every person. So if you get any back, you go oh number 37, oh Uncle Joe, Bob, he never did know his wedding etiquette.

LISA: Carley thank you so much.

CARLEY:  Thank you for having me.

LISA:  For I'm Lisa Birnbach. 

meet theexpert
  • Carley Roney

    Carley Roney Editor-in-Chief, The Knot Carley Roney is editor-in-chief of The Knot, the number one wedding brand worldwide, as well as The Nest. She has authored nine wedding books for The Knot and appears regularly on TV shows such as Oprah, Live with Regis and Kelly, The View and Today. more about this expert »