Compiling and managing a guest list

It is also critical that whoever is compiling and managing the guest list is familiar, and indeed compliant with General Data Protection Regulation legislation

  • 14 weeks before event - commence pulling the list together
  • 10 weeks before event - final (100% complete and accurate) guest list
  • 8 weeks before event - invitations out

The Events Office recommends that invitations are sent out eight weeks before the event as this allows invitees the chance to block the time out in their diaries and respond to the invitation. If your guests are travelling from far away or likely to have exceptionally busy diaries, then even longer is recommended. The two-week period between finalising the guest list and sending invitations allows the Events Manager sufficient time to use the guest list data to write out the invitations and merge the address labels for the envelopes (if sending via post).

The length of time it takes to compile a guest list is often underestimated. The following steps should be taken:

  1. Initial brainstorm of names/titles (see next item)
  2. Circulate draft guest list amongst colleagues for feedback (ensure it is password protected)
  3. Add names and all relevant contact details and information fields into the guest list template (available as a template)
  4. Double check accuracy of data

As an example, a standard guest list of 200 invitees could take up to two weeks to compile from scratch. Please note, you must ensure you have consent to contact people about your event.

There is not one set rule for “who to invite to what” and your guest list will have to be tailored to your event. Please refer to the table in the appendix for some guidance. Please be aware that this table takes the four most common types of event and highlights the types of guest you may wish to consider inviting. This list is not exhaustive. If you have a question concerning an invitee or type of event which is not covered in the table, please do consult the Events Office.

It is best practice to remember that colleges should be consulted every time their alumni are invited to events. You can check which college a particular invitee attended by accessing DARS.

  • Spend time initially collecting your data, gathering from reliable sources all the information you think relevant concerning the people you think should be invited.
  • Ask a colleague to give you feedback on the data you have collected. They may spot an error in someone’s name, or suggest an invitee you had forgotten to include on the list.
  • Begin entering the data into the correct template, taking care to ensure the information is as accurate as possible throughout. Where you source invitee data from should also be considered; a Google search will be less reliable than data held by the University. The Events Office would recommend using DARS (if you have access to the system) as a reliable source of contact information.
  • All guest list data should be treated as private and confidential at all times. It would be a breach of GDPR to circulate this guest list to anyone who did not need to see the information provided, and the document should remain password-protected at all times. Further information is available on GDPR and Events.