It is always difficult creating a guest list for a wedding. The first thing you have to do is set clear goals and guidelines. Make a master list of anyone and everyone you would like to invite to share the most important day of your life with you.
Begin with people that absolutely must be invited like immediate family on both sides and friends. The next step is to look at friends that you want on the list but haven't been in contact with lately. Lastly look at co-workers and distant relatives.
Now you have a clear first draft list. Remember the more people on the list the money you are going to shell out. Unless you are having a small wedding or have only a few family members, cutting the list is inevitable. Are there names on the list that you don't recognize or that are people that you hardly know? These names are probably parents and in-laws requests. Watch out here. If you are paying for and organising your wedding, then it is totally up to you who comes.
I personally am in the mind to say that even if your parents are contributing to the cost, you still have final say over the guest list. Guest lists get out of hand when other people are involved. If your mother wants you to invite Great Aunt Vera and Cousin Jim, who you haven't seen for 9 years, then you are going to have to put up a the good fight. It is your day and you and your partner should be the ones to decide if Vera and Jim are worth the $100 a head. Also when it comes to distant relatives, who else would you have to invite out of obligation?
Ask your parent if it is really important to them that these extra' guest are there and if not, chop them. Next, look at the friends you haven't seen in a long time' list. Have they been married recently and you weren't invited? If so defiantly chop them. If they are out of towners that you know wouldn't travel to your wedding, chop again. If you really having trouble with this one, why not set a time precedent. For instance, if you haven't seen or talked to them for 2 years, chop them too! Coworkers can be tricky. You are around them all of the time, they hear about your plans, but again they are people you have been put with, not by choice. Would you be their friend if you weren't working with them? Again set a precedent, perhaps if you have no association with away from work then get rid of them as well.
As with all big decisions, the guest list should be worked on together to save any unnecessary arguments. Remember, you are a team, work together!!