Tips to Remember When Creating A Wedding Guest List

Creating your guest list is one of the more time-consuming and challenging parts of planning your wedding. You can’t forget any of your immediate family members or closest friends and have to know what the budget will cover. Consider the tips below to stay on track and not get overwhelmed when making the guest list.

Know Your Venue
Begin by laying out a set budget for your wedding. This figure is going to directly impact how many people you can invite to your special day. The budget goes hand in hand with having your venue booked as well. The site you choose will articulate the maximum capacity that it will hold. From this information, you will know precisely how many people you can invite and how much money it will cost. The venue cannot add space, and there are things to consider such as fire regulations. This will be an excellent place to start knowing the exact number you cannot exceed.

Wedding Style
Once you know the venue, you will be able to dive deep into how the atmosphere of your wedding will be. Is it mainly outside? Is there limited space? Is it more elegant or casual? Answering these questions will set you up to better understand the lengths of your guest list. One thing that can influence the style you’re aiming for is whether or not you choose to have an adult-only wedding. This is a tough decision to make. However, let your invitation break the news about excluding children. This can also help cut down on costs!

Immediate Family
If you have a big family, choosing who to include and who to leave out is a difficult task. Depending on the size of the venue and your budget, you might be able to invite everyone. If you can’t, consider who is the closest to you and your significant other. Each of your parents, aunts and uncles, grandparents, great grandparents, and first cousins should be the bulk of your list. If it’s adult-only, some first cousins might be cut out here. This will make more room for a second or third cousin you’re close to. Family is a hard category to exclude people from, discussing this with your parents might help.

The category of friends can be a tricky area, too. It is all too common to feel compelled to invite a friend who invited you to their wedding. This does not have to be the case.  Really think about when the last time you spoke with them was. If it has been over a year, don’t feel obligated to invite them. Life changes and relationships do, too. That is OK! Pick friends that you are the closest with right now and can’t imagine your special day without.

Plus Ones
Do you have to give everyone a plus one? No. When looking at your guest list, you should have a good idea of who has a significant other in their life. If it is unclear or they are in a new relationship, it is alright to extend only a single invitation. You can even decide to only give a plus one to couples who are married, engaged, or living with their significant other.

Seating Chart
Once you have gone through all of the tough decisions, you should be left with a final polished guest list. From here, invitations should be sent about two to three months before the wedding. If you send them any sooner, people will forget. You want there to be enough time for people to get the invitations, make a decision, and then RSVP in a timely manner. Once you have the final list, creating the seating chart is next. Seating charts add a decorative element to the wedding reception. One idea that goes with any theme is using mini picture frames to direct guests to their table. Get paper that goes with the theme and either type or handwrite the names of each guest and their designated table number. Each guest will retrieve their individual frame in order to find their seat.

When you have your final headcount, you now know how many favors you need, too. There are many different directions you can go with favors. The options are endless and can coincide with any theme. Think about using succulents. Not only are they a great favor, but they can also double as a seating guide! There could be one for each guest with a label attached that states their name and table number. If you want a separate favor, some ideas include DIY candles, s’ mores kits, or little jars of honey.

Start thinking about the guest list as soon as possible. It will inevitably take some time to complete and weigh your options. You want the people who are closest to you and your significant other to attend your wedding. It is a day to celebrate the love you share for each other, and having your closest friends and family there to share it with you will make it all the more special. Planning a wedding isn’t easy, start early to make everything exactly how you wish it to be. Find more on the top tips for planning your wedding here.

Meal Planning Monday on a Tuesday

Well, I tried two weeks of shopping in person and I learned something. 

1. It didn't save me the time I was losing with crummy pick-up groceries. In fact, it took just as long. 2. Shopping in person cost more and caused me to not have the savings I normally have. There's a few reasons for that being that prices are harder to determine in store at Walmart and you can see the discounts way better online.

So next week, it's back to grocery pick-up. Crummy Wal-Mart or not. The whole purpose of meal planning to the extent I do is to save money, and that hasn't happened. In fact, this past week cost me double my usual. 

Surely there was a door fee because I have no idea what happened. 

In the event y'all are interested I'll share my tips on planning ahead and how to save money shopping. 

Monday | Huli Huli Chicken with Asparagus

Tuesday | leftovers

Wednesday | Pasta with Broccoli and Pesto topped with a meat marinara (saw someone post this as a meal kit meal they had an I have to try it.)

Thursday | leftovers

Friday | Crawfish Étouffée for Valentine's Day!

Saturday | Eating Out

Sunday | Freezer meal from Trader Joe's

Friday Five | The Sneaux is Falling

The flu has finally left the building... and hopefully we don't get other strains either. 

I've never seen Harrison kicked so low, by the end of this he had lost enough weight that we could see his back hip bones. So you can go ahead and guess that we've let him eat whatever on earth his heart desires this week to try and gain it back. 

Does anyone else get excited about morning light. I love Saturday's simply for the fact that it is the one day I can slowly get up and appreciate the light in the morning. It's so pretty streaming in through the kitchen, any kitchen really, I've taken so many early morning kitchen photos over the years. 

So the Super Bowl? Man I love Louisiana fans. 

During math groups this week a had one of the kids cracking up at me and it brought back a memory of teaching those first few years... that I clearly haven't quit doing. 

So, when I taught at Coteau Bayou Blue in Houma the secretary had a "medicine drawer" in the office for the teachers. For months I heard people saying they needed medicine and wandering in there. Turns out it was a candy drawer will full size bars she got at Sam's Club. Since then, at every school I worked at, I've also had a medicine drawer. 

This week I needed the medicine drawer during math. Man I hate fractions. 

The new Simply Earth box for February came in much like every month... I love it! I wish I wasn't so whoo hoo about it. But I can't help it and I sure can't find other words to describe my love. 

They've got a ton of great discounts running this month (listed in my post) so be sure to check them out. 


It didn't stick, but it was really pretty with the heavy snow fall for a few hours this morning. 

I know I'm a nut when it comes to snow, Jeremy wasn't quite as quick to take off running outside. But I'm a born and raised Louisiana girl. We rarely get snow. Even this kind, it's super rare. I can also promise you I remember every time it did actually snow in my life. Then again I grew up with a mom who would get excited about it for us and funny enough a Granny who didn't know the difference between frost and snow and got excited more often than the rest of us. 

Bless it. Tropical dwelling individuals aren't great at spotting snow. 

The last time it actually snowed in Louisiana we were up at 6am before it had a chance to melt, having the time of our lives. I wish Harrison was a bit more sturdy, he was back in doors quick. I on the other hand, stood out there until it was gone. 

The only thing better than fall is snow.

Tell me what y'all've been up to this week!

I think this weekend I'm going on the hunt for a king cake and dragging my people to a The Rougaroux in Brimingham,  I've been a touch homesick. There will also be groceries and laundry, but we don't have to think about that.

Simply Earth Love Your Skin February Box!

Guess what came in?!?! 

Excuse the lateness and quality of the photos y'all... we have had a rough two week with flu and what not and now Alabama is under some nasty weather. 

The theme of this month's box is "Love Your Skin" and it's totally fitting considering the time of year. Winter does a number on us and having pretty supple skin is hard to come by during the drier months. 

This month's box includes Frankincense (I swear they can read my mind because whatever I'm contemplating having to buy more of it magically shows up in my box.), Coffee, a blend called Veins, and Fir Needle. This box also includes Rose Hydrosol (new to Simply Earth and totally new to me) and a packet of French Green Clay. 

I might be purchasing coffee essential oil as my go to for eternity now, it smells like the best Saturday morning you ever had. Just add some vanilla and I think it's what heaven smells like. 

This month has another bonus... 13% of sales are going towards the charity Disrupting Traffick that is working to stop modern day slavery. You'll notice the 13% logo on two of the oils. 

The recipes for this box include an espresso diffuser blend, a sugar scrub containing that Veins oil, a bath soak with the rose hydrosol, a body butter (with the French green clay as well as essential oils), a roller blend, and a face mask. 

Here's a little breakdown about the purposes of each oil::

Fir Needle - energy, deodorizing, pain relief, and decongestant
Coffee - warms and invigorates (let's be honest that's the only reason I drink it anyway)
Frankincense - fights germs, pain relief, mental clarity
Veins Blend - warms, reduces the appearance of spider veins

Rose Hydrosol - this is a natural by-product of making rose essential oil. It is water based unlike it's sister essential oil. It smells amazing and locks in moisture, promotes skin healing, and emotional balance. 
French Green Clay - helps to detox the skin by bonding to impurities making them easy to rise off the face. It's gentle, revitalizes, and nourishes the skin. 

There are also a few specials running this month - 

Feb 4 - 6, 20% off on the new Love Set  CODE: 20OFFLOVE
Feb 10 - 12, Free 80ml diffuser with your first box CODE: FREEDIFFUSERFEB
Feb 17, 25% off on CBD VIP Sale, CODE: CBDVIP
Feb 18-20, 15% off CBD Oil, CODE: CBDLAUNCH
Head >> HERE << to get you box for February (or give it as a Valentine's gift) and as always don't forget to use code LABRIDEFREE to get a $40 gift card with your first subscription box and bonus box.

Meal Planning Monday

I've been MIA, but its been a week of flu B. He's finally coming off out it and the past two nights I've slept so hard. The worst part was him not eating for days and you can see the obvious weight loss, it's a lot more obvious on someone so little. 

So this week I'm stuffing him with every calorie rich food he will consider and trying to pack the pounds back on his normally skinny frame. 

Monday | Egg Roll in a Bowl

Tuesday | Grilled Huli Huli Chicken with Grilled Asparagus & Trader Joes Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Wednesday | Leftovers

Thursday | Those glorious CFA copy-cat nuggets from Sam's Club and fries

Friday | Thai Peanut Chicken Noodles

Saturday | Eating Out

Sunday | Cheesy Taco Sticks with Taco Rice & Salsa

Instant Pot Elderberry Syrup

I've been making this elderberry syrup recipe for two years now and it's high time I share it here. I initially began making my own simply because it was cheaper.

Now, I kinda love how it makes my house smell too.

If this were a candle my feelings wouldn't be hurt.

Now, why should you use elderberry syrup? Much less, make your own...

Immune Booster
Cold & Flu Relief
Reduces Sinus Infection Sympotoms
Eases Allergies

My biggest and really the sole reason... immune boosting.

We need all we can get, especially in a household where mama teaches and the kids go to daycare.

Instant Pot Elderberry Syrup

4 cups water
1 cup dried elderberries
1 inch of fresh ginger (I use a tsp of powdered if I don't have fresh on hand)
2 cinnamon sticks
3 cloves
1 cup of raw honey


Add all ingredients except the honey to your instant pot, pressure cook for 12 minutes. Do a quick release, press cancel, and saute for 10 minutes with the lid off. Mash the berry mix with a potato masher and strain. Cool completely and add the raw honey. Store in tightly sealed mason jars in the fridge. 

This recipe makes 3 and a half 8 oz mason jars of elderberry syrup. 

If you don't have a pressure cooker, simply boil on the stove until it has reduced by half. 

Serving suggestion::
1/2 tsp for 1-2 year olds (do not give under one) 
1 tsp for young children
1 tbsp for adults

I give this out on week nights during the school year. We don't take it during the weekends or summer break. 

Here is the link to the organic dried elderberries I use. A 1 lb bag will run about 20 dollars, but I've been using mine since 2018. I've got enough left to make one more batch. So 10 dollars a year + the cost of raw honey isn't so bad considering what you pay in a health food store. 

Wedding Locations: Top Tips to Make Your Dream Venue Search Easier

How did you go about finding a wedding venue? Or are you currently on the hunt? Share you thoughts in the comments below. 
Did you recently attend a wedding and reveled in amazement at the spectacle of their reception and venue? That's great but keep in mind that what works for one couple might not be the best for you. 
You'll need to consider several factors when picking wedding locations. 
The good news is we're here to help. Learn more about finding a location for wedding receptions and ceremonies with our guide below:

1. Discuss With Your Wedding Planner
Before you visit places, before you even look any venue up online, discuss things with your wedding planner — if you have one. Not every couple hires one but if you do, take advantage of their knowledge and experience.
Planners already have a knack for understanding how to work a venue. Let them know what you aim to achieve and they can quickly figure out whether or not the venues you'll end up listing work for or against these goals. 
Your planner might already have a list of great Wedinspire venues prepared, places they already rented for other couples. Take some time to go over their usual venues and check if any of them satisfy your needs.
2. Know the Date
This is perhaps one of the most crucial steps when picking a venue. Finalize the date of your wedding.
Availability is going to affect the price of the venue, after all. You can expect higher fees if you aim to rent the venue during the summer and on the weekends. You can expect lower prices during non-peak seasons. 
The date will also help guests determine whether or not they can attend. This comes into play later on and we'll discuss that too. 
3. Stick to a Budget
You should also finalize your budget. Doing this ensures you won't list down venues that are outside your financial scope. Yes, it also means you might have to scratch off some places you initially wanted or even dreamed about because they cost too much. 
When figuring out your budget, make sure to leave an allowance for unforeseen costs. Some venues won't charge for wine until after the wedding night since it's likely you'll have to request for more bottles than initially planned. You might need to pay for an extra hour to use the venue or for more parking space.
4. Finalize Your Guest Count
The budget for your venue will mostly account for three factors: space rental, catering, and the number of guests. 
Venue owners/managers won't be able to give you a proper estimate of the costs until you have a guest list. You need to know how many people will attend so that they can compute how much you'll pay for catering. 
Don't settle for quick text messages or chatting online. Send formal invitations, even if it's only via email, and include an RSVP with a deadline. This ensures you get responses by a certain date. 
Still, leave room for 5-10 more guests. This gives some allowance for your planner and the venue managers.
5. Stick to Your Theme
Don't include a hotel reception hall if you aim for a beach wedding or a garden reception. This might sound obvious but many couples end up compromising their theme and goals and settle for the most affordable or most convenient venue available.
Stick to your theme and fight for it. 
Again, talking to your planner can be a big help. Let them know you want an evening garden reception with tons of string lights and a folk band! Let them know you want to accommodate 150 people but still keep it intimate. 
They can work their magic to find venues with you, venues suitable for the theme you want.
6. Consider Convenience and Comfort
Got a few venues in mind now? Listed a few places that jive with your theme and fit with your budget and guest list? 
Now it's time to scratch off those that don't offer a good level of convenience and comfort. Safety also falls in line with this. 
If you found a few outdoor venues, do they have a tent or a hall at the ready in case it rains? How large is the area and can it accommodate the number of guests you want? Is there air conditioning, sufficient restrooms, and escape hallways or windows in case of a fire, earthquake, or other emergencies?
7. Lighting & Audio
Lighting can make or break a wedding. It sets the mood and can make the venue look like a grand, romantic setting or make it look cheap and empty. Lighting can also affect the quality of photos and videos, especially if you hire professional photographers. 
Audio is another important aspect some couples forget to check when scouting wedding venues. You'll want to check if the audio equipment is up to date, if people at the back can still hear the music or mic, and if there's no annoying static coming from the speakers.
8. Food Is a Priority
Now you found all the places that fit your theme, are within your budget and meet all the other parameters. The next step is to eliminate choices based on their catering options.
You should prioritize venues that offer catering over those that don't. The latter requires you to hunt a separate catering service and that can lead to a whole other world of headaches. 
Taste-test the food. Check how much food each guest gets and how much you'll pay for their services. Make sure to check if the cost estimate also includes the wedding cake, desserts, a snack bar, and alcoholic drinks.
Pick the Best Wedding Locations Today!
Choosing the best wedding locations isn't going to happen overnight. You'll need to take all these factors into consideration and work things out with your partner, venue managers, and wedding planner. However, you can make the process easier and smoother with these 8 tips.
But why stop here? If you want more wedding planning tips or lifestyle tips in general, feel free to go through our other guides today! Continue to discover our other content!