14 Free Guest List Templates (Word | Excel | PDF)

No matter whether it’s a Tupperware party, murder mystery party, or wedding, chances are you’ll be responsible for inviting the guests. Knowing who to invite to a specific party can actually determine the success or failure of the party. For instance, if you invite a couple in the middle of divorce proceedings, then there’s a chance the mood of the event will be dampened somewhat. In fact, there’s a reason certain clubs deny entrance to those who don’t fit the club aesthetic: They’ll ruin the overall atmosphere. Sadly, most people are more interested in the menu they’ll be serving or the music they’ll be playing than the guest list, when it is the quality, caliber, and mix of guests. which has more leverage in determining the success or failure of the event.

What is a Guest List?

Whether you’re planning a Christmas dinner, wedding, bridal shower, or picnic, one thing is for sure: You’ll have guests. To keep things from getting out of hand or forgetting certain specifics, you’ll need to make up a guest list. A guest list is simply a way to keep track of who you are inviting to your party.

What Is a Guest List Template?

Do you host a lot of functions? If so, then a guest list template is for you. A guest list template is a form that is made only once, saved, printed out, and used whenever needed. By having a guest list template, you can rest assured that you won’t have to start a guest list from scratch again.

The easiest way to create a guest list template will be to use a spreadsheet program such as Microsoft Excel or Word. By doing so, you can create the columns you’ll need. Some guest lists will be simple; others, like wedding guest lists, will be complex. Once you have the basic guest list made in your spreadsheet, you are free to go back in and make changes before printing it out.

Columns to include in your guest list template can include: Guest name, guest contact information, special needs, invitation send date, did they RSVP, and so on. Also, remember that you are in control of how to design your template. For instance, it can be a form consisting of columns or a form that is a simple checklist with checkboxes.

Guest List Templates & Examples

    How to Create a Guest List

    Creating a guest list may seem intimidating, but once you sit down to write one, you’ll find that it’s as easy as pie. Remember that no two guest lists are alike. For instance, some guest lists just have spaces for names, while others will also have a column for people with food allergies or for any guest who uses a wheelchair. Below we’ve given you a good head start on how to create a basic guest list. Just keep in mind you may alter it according to your needs.

    What is Your Budget?

    This is a crucial step in the process of making your guest list. After all, before you can book a venue or caterer, you need to tell them how many guests you’re planning on having. In short, a budget tells you how many guests you can afford to have.

    How Many People are You Inviting?

    Once you are set with the number of people you can afford to have at your event, it’s time to prioritize your list. This may be tough, as some may have to be cut from the list, but just groups the guests into those most important to you and the event.

    Have a Column for Guests with Special Needs

    Aunt Edna is allergic to peanuts; Uncle Charlie uses a wheelchair, and cousin Sandy is expecting. All of the aforementioned guests have a special need. In order to avoid an allergic reaction, avoid foods with peanuts or Aunt Edna. Uncle Charlie will need special assistance due to his wheelchair and may have to be placed at a table where more space is provided for his chair. By noting which guests have special needs, you can be certain that everyone will have a pleasant time and be treated with respect.

    Guest List Managers and Party Planners

    If you are still confused or concerned you’ll leave someone off your guest list or invite the wrong people for the event; you can enlist the services of an online guest list manager or hire a party planner. Guestlist managers are just that; they help you to build and manage your guest list in an organized and orderly fashion. Party planners are people you hire who will do the organizing for you. Either way, if you’re new to all this, then feel free to use a guest list manager or party planner to do it for you.

    Do’s and Don’ts of a Guest List


    • Do have a working budget before you make your guest list
    • Do request dietary restrictions and put them on the guest list
    • Do have a column available for guests with disabilities
    • Do prioritize your guests
    • Invite guests who you know get along
    • Paper invitations are better than online invites
    • Do take advantage of online guest list managers if this is confusing for you


    • Don’t invite people who are currently fighting with one another
    • Don’t seat guests who have different political/religious affiliations and opinions at the same table
    • Don’t invite toxic people who are naturally overly argumentative or those who are known to drink too much and cause a scene
    • Don’t add more guests than your venue or caterer can support
    • Don’t allow yourself to be bullied into inviting people

    Things You Shouldn’t Worry About

    • Don’t worry about the number of people to invite. If you’re new to entertaining, keep everything small, it’s okay
    • If you accidentally forgot to invite someone, you can always do it later. You can invite them via phone, or in person.
    • Don’t be concerned about male to female ratios. Times have changed, and this is one of those old rules that have gone by the wayside.

    Things You Should Consider

    • There are a few things that may need your consideration when making up your guest list. First, if it’s a wedding or similar event where two or more people are involved in writing the guest list, make sure that you all work together on the list so everyone gets their priority guests on the list. Second, pay attention to any special needs the guests may have. Thirdly, keep the guest list within budget.
    • If the majority of your guests are couples, then adopt a “Plus One” policy for singles, so they won’t feel like a third wheel.
    • People’s special needs need to be considered.


    How to Decide Who to Invite?

    This question is trickier than it sounds. After all, guests can make or break a gathering. The type of guests you invite to a business banquet will be different than those you invite to a wedding. In other words, choose the best people for your particular event. Guests who are social butterflies and good conversationalists will help your event roll along without getting dull or drab. If the event is topic-specific, then only invite people interested in that topic. For instance, if you’re throwing a Tupperware party, you wouldn’t invite someone who loathes cooking.

    Guests Who Socialize Liven Up Your Event

    Unique and social people can really liven up your party. So look for guests who are great conversationalists, who enjoy dancing and meeting new people. Such people are likely to start interesting conversations or ask others to join them on the dance floor. In fact, it doesn’t hurt to ask one of your more social, close friends to purposefully mingle with the crowd. This way, if they see someone standing alone, they can go over and start a conversation or introduce them to others at the party.

    Add Newbies to Your Guest List

    Add people who you’ve just come in contact with. These can be co-workers, neighbors, and so on. When you invite new people, they infuse the party with fresh blood, so to speak. Friends and family will be excited to meet them, so conversations will run high.

    Tell Guests to Bring Someone Lively

    One sure way to liven up your event while meeting new people is to ask your guests to bring along a friend or family member who is fun to be around. As previously stated, one of your biggest assets when it comes to ensuring your party won’t be dull is to include guests who are social and good talkers. When you ask a friend to bring someone, then you’re upping the chances that your party will be one that’s interesting and spoken of in a good way.

    How do I Decide Who to Invite if I want them all?

    When it comes down to deciding who to invite, priority is everything. You can start by coming up with a list of people you’d like to attend. Once done, it’s time to prioritize. Place the “must-haves” in one group. These are the people you can’t leave out, period. Then look at the list again. Decide who are the ones that you really don’t need or want.
    The first list is a list of those you cannot do without; this is your tier 1 list. The second list is those who you don’t need or may not even want to attend. Put the first list aside, look at the second one and proceed to pare it down even further. Are there any people on that list that you’d like to attend? If so, move them to your tier 2 list.
    Put your lists away for a day or so, and chat with others, such as family members, to garner their opinions on who to add or leave out. When those discussions are completed, go back to your guest list, make the final changes, and voila, you’re done!

    How do you politely say no siblings?

    When you need to say no to your siblings, or anyone for that matter, decide early on to own that decision and stand by it. In general, your siblings will understand if you say that this party is a way for you to make new friends and acquaintances. Make the decision yours and explain how this decision for a ‘friends only’ party is for your social benefit.

    How long should a drop-in party last?

    A drop-in party or open house party is where there is no guest list; people just come and go as they please. Drop-in parties can be anything from baby showers to birthday parties. As for how long a drop-in party should last, a good rule of thumb is between 90 minutes to 2 hours. Of course, you are free to increase or decrease the time as you see fit. Just remember to put the start and/or end time on the invites, so people know when to show up.

    Final Thoughts

    You’ve just been presented with a bare-bones introduction to creating your very own guest list. We hope our article on how to create a guest list has helped. In general, making a guest list may seem confusing at first, but once you sit down and write it all out, it should resolve itself. Remember, if you are having difficulty, there are online guest list managers to help you out. If your event is a large one, then you could also consider hiring a party planner. Party planners are pros and make it their business to handle items like the guest list, the perfect go-between in case you’re new to all this and are concerned about hurting anyone’s feelings.