Why Should I Add My Guests (and Group Them) on the Guest List?

Whether you’re using Joy to plan a wedding, birthday, or another celebration, everyone can agree that an event isn’t truly an event without the guest list. From friends and family to coworkers and acquaintances, many guests will likely have a plus one, or their family, accompany them.

Joy, of course, does not technically require you to populate the Guest List before collecting RSVPs. This is because when guests RSVP to the event by entering their name and email, Joy is designed to automatically add the guest and their response to the Guest List, saving you a step or two. Pretty convenient, right?

Some Joy users choose to not populate their Guest List and also, therefore, do not have guests grouped together — who should be grouped together — such as couples, friends, families, or another group dynamic. At the same time, these users do not turn on the Allow Any Guest to Add +1s setting, which can either be found under the Security & Privacy tab in Settings, from the Settings tab on the RSVP Questions page, or from the settings/gear icon on the Guest List (as pictured below).

But…what’s the problem?

There is a potential problem that can occur with this setup if you’re expecting guests to be able to add their plus one(s) or RSVP for their families. Let’s break down a couple of head-scratching user scenarios.

Scenario A: You fall into the above category and are planning to send paper, text, or social media invites. Guests receive the event handle and password to RSVP to your event, but it’s unclear how they can RSVP for their plus one or family. This may leave them frustrated by the RSVP process as they’re forced to reach out to you, or Joy, for assistance.

Scenario B: You fall into the above category and are planning to send email invites through Joy — with one caveat. Although you may have populated the Guest List and added email addresses, you have not grouped guests into parties. Guests receive an email invitation to RSVP to your event, but it’s unclear how they can RSVP for their plus one or family (as the only name they see on the invite is theirs). This may leave them frustrated by the RSVP process as, once again, they’re forced to reach out for help.

So…what’s the best way to avoid each of these sticky situations?

Case Study #1:

Let’s walk through what guests experience if you do not populate the Guest List, and therefore do not group guests, before sending a text invitation (although this applies to paper and social media invites, too).

You pull up the contact details for Regina Dougherty, a close work colleague, on your mobile phone because you want to send her a quick invite to your wedding. (Note: You recently had a conversation with her in-person about bringing her husband and son, and you’re expecting she’ll be able to RSVP for herself and her family.)

Regina receives your text, navigates to the URL, and locates the RSVP Here button on your wedding site.

After clicking RSVP Here, Regina is prompted to enter her first name, last name, and email address to access the RSVP form.

To her confusion, Regina notices that she only has the option to RSVP for herself — and not for her husband and son — on the RSVP form.

Regina proceeds to respond for herself and answer any RSVP questions you’ve laid out, hoping to see an option to enter her husband and son at the end of the form. Unfortunately, she realizes there is no such option.

Although Regina submits her RSVP, she now needs to reach out to you to find out why she couldn’t RSVP for her family.

As you can see, because the Guest List was not populated, and pertinent guests were not grouped together prior to guests RSVPing, Regina was only able to respond for herself because:

  1. she wasn’t able to view any other guests she was grouped with on the Guest List AND
  2. she wasn’t able to add a guest to her RSVP since the “Allow Any Guest to Add +1s” feature was turned off

(Note: Click here to learn how to group guests together. Guests who are grouped together can RSVP together. Again, if you choose not to group guests, you can just turn on the “Allow Any Guest to Add +1s” feature so guests have the freedom to add their own plus ones).

Now, let’s explore how Regina’s RSVP experience for her family would have improved if you populated and grouped your guests. . .

We’ll use 2 scenarios here — if you know the names of the family members and if you don’t know the names of the family members.

Scenario 1: Regina Dougherty, Ricky Dougherty, and Robert Dougherty are added to the Guest List and grouped together (if you know the names of the family members):

Regina receives your text invitation:

After clicking on the URL, Regina locates the RSVP Here button on your wedding site:

Regina proceeds to enter her first name, last name, and email address:

Regina sees there are three options on her RSVP form, enabling her to respond for herself, her husband, and her son:

Regina responds for all three people and submits the RSVP:

You will then conveniently see all three responses populated on the Guest List:

Scenario 2: Regina Dougherty is added to the Guest List with 2 plus ones allocated to her (if you don’t know the names of the family members):

After Regina clicks on the URL in your text, locates the RSVP Here button on your site, and enters her name and email, she is redirected to an RSVP form that lists her name, Guest #2, and Guest #3:

Regina notices that she can edit the display of Guest #2 and Guest #3 to reflect the names of her husband and son:

Regina has used a nickname (“Robbie”) for her son, Robert, when entering his details in the form. Because she was granted 2 plus ones (and because the names were not already listed on the Guest List), she is able to enter and save whatever name she’d like:

Regina is now able to respond for herself, her husband, and her son. She also notices that as she responds on behalf of Guest #2 and Guest #3, the form requires her to enter the contact details for each guest (Note that their email is only visible to you, the event host.):

After Regina submits the RSVP form, she receives an email confirming and detailing not only her responses but also the responses of her husband and son:

Verdict? You’ll notice that by taking the extra step of populating the Guest List and grouping guests together, you’re sparing everyone from unnecessary headaches down the road which makes for a better RSVP experience.

Case Study #2

Let’s walk through what guests experience if you populate the Guest List and add email addresses, but you do not group guests before sending email invites.

In this example, you list your friend Bridget Wickens on the guest but do not group her in a party with her partner Colby Daniels, whom you also list (because you happen to know his name and know that they plan on going to your event together).

You also do not have the “Allow Any Guest to Add +1s” setting turned on, although you are expecting Bridget to be able to RSVP for Colby.

Because Bridget and Colby are not grouped together on the Guest List, only Bridget’s name is listed on the e-invite she receives through Joy.

As a result, when Bridget RSVPs to your event, she only has the ability to respond for herself — not for Colby.

When Bridget responds to the event, she will then receive an email that confirms her RSVP and details her responses to your RSVP questions. Again, this email will only list her name.

As you can see, because Bridget and Colby were not grouped together on the Guest List, Bridget was unable to respond for both of them on the same RSVP form.

Now, let’s explore how Bridget’s RSVP experience would have improved if you grouped your guests. . .

Bridget and Colby grouped as a party:

Bridget’s and Colby’s name listed on the e-invite through Joy:

Bridget can now respond for Colby on the RSVP form: 

This time, Bridget will not only receive an RSVP confirmation email about her answers, but she will also receive an email record of the RSVP answers she inputted for Colby:

Verdict? You’ll notice that by taking the extra step of grouping guests together, you’re sparing your guests — and yourself! — unnecessary headaches down the road.

The Simple and Rewarding Benefits of Populating and Grouping Your Guests on the Guest List

Although you’re not required to add guests to the Guest List before sending any paper, text, and social media invites, or email invitations through Joy, taking this step anyway (and grouping guests where relevant) provides a great value and experience for you and your guests:

  • Invited guests are directed to an RSVP form that is tailored to them. If they plan to bring their family, the form will either list the names of the family members (if you added them to the Guest List) or show an option for the guest to enter the names of their family and respond on their behalf.
  • For e-invites through Joy, the first person to open the email invitation (if more than one person in the grouping receives one) will be able to RSVP and answer RSVP questions for everyone in that grouping. This saves time and essentially kills two (or more) birds with one stone.
  • The RSVP responses for solo guests, and those who are grouped together, are automatically populated on the Guest List so you can keep track of everyone’s plans in one place.

Note: If you still don’t choose to group pertinent guests together, for whatever reason, you have two additional options to ensure the RSVP process is smooth for your guests:

  1. Allow each guest (or some guests) to RSVP for up to 20 plus ones as described in our article Adding Plus Ones and Parties. This is particularly beneficial if you don’t know the names of your guests’ partners or families, but you want to give guests on the Guest List the ability to RSVP on behalf of whomever they’d like, given the number of plus ones you allocate.
  2. Toggle on the Allow Any Guest to Add +1s setting. This will essentially allow anyone on the Guest List to RSVP for themselves and anyone else. There are no restrictions on the number of plus ones a guest can bring if this setting is toggled on. We understand, however, that you may not want to use this feature in case you prefer to have a more “controlled” Guest List. But if you aren’t worried about guests adding in extra guests (if you already communicated your expectations about plus ones, for instance), then you should consider using this feature.

Although we know this is a lot of information, we want to leave you with one main takeaway. You should aim to set up your Guest List settings in a way that mirrors how you expect guests to RSVP. In other words, if you want certain guests to RSVP as a group, establish those groups on the Guest List prior to sending invitations; alternatively, if you want all guests to be able to add their own plus ones, simply toggle on that setting. By taking the time to set up the backend of your Guest List, know that you’re creating a better RSVP experience for guests in the long run.

Still have some questions?


Ask us directly! Click on the black and white chat bubble in the bottom-right corner of this page to ask us your questions, or you can email us at support@withjoy.com. You’ll get a friendly response from someone on our team! 🙂

Updated on January 28, 2021

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