Wednesday, November 14, 2018

5 tips on who to include in your wedding guest list

Some time ago—I can't remember if it was last year or two years ago—my three little boys were looking at our wedding photo album. They said it was beautiful, everyone looked great, but "Where am I, Mama? Why didn't you invite me to your wedding?" Each boy asked this and no matter how I tried to explain that they weren't born yet when the wedding happened, they just couldn't grasp the terrible fact that their own parents didn't invite them to our wedding.

It's so adorable and hilarious!

You know, a guest list is really such a stressful part of the wedding planning. Our initial guest list only had 80 people (30 for my family, 30 for Vince's family, 10 each for his friends and mine). That was all we could afford. So Vince's parents said they'll foot the reception bill so we could invite 250 people. And we did! 

Well, only 160 showed up. I guess only 160 people really cared for us haha. No hard feelings! But that definitely changed how I related to many people, especially those who said they didn't show up because they had work. #AlamNaThis

Anyway, if you recently got engaged or are already in the thick of sorting out your guest list, here are a few tips based on my own wedding planning 11 years ago.

1. Talk to your partner first and foremost.

You spent so much of your life being single that it may be hard to understand that your separate worlds are now becoming one. That means talking about who in your barkadas, office, communities, and families will be invited. Don't promise invitations to the entire barangay if your groom is planning an intimate wedding. 

So talk it over first. The venue is a huge factor—a cathedral can fit hundreds, for example, while a chapel can accommodate maybe 30. Budget is another thing to consider. You may be dreaming of a 3-day feast for all your friends from preschool to present day but if your budget is only P100,000, then that dream will remain a dream. This is also a good time to talk about who you don't want to see at the wedding (exes, people from work, certain relatives, etc).

2. Talk to your family.

Now that you've both agreed on the important matters regarding your guest list, you need to talk with your immediate family next. Tell them what you and your groom talked about so that they won't get carried away with their own guest lists. Or, like in my case with the budget constraints, maybe they can offer to help out. Your parents will make sure you don’t miss any beloved relatives and key members of your community (if that kind of thing is important to them). 

Your parents' opinion - especially if they're footing the bill - matters a big deal!

3. Evaluate your groups.

Now that the families are happy with your guest list, you have to think of your friends. You might feel pressured to invite everyone in your prayer group, the whole department at work, and every single person in your college org because you fear for those who might feel left out. But what you really need to decide is who has been there for you through thick and thin. Think of the people who you know are going to be around for the long haul. Those are the ones you invite.

4. What’s the rule on other halves?

Nowadays guests often expect to have a plus one included with their invite, but that simply shouldn’t be the case. You can never guarantee that boyfriend-girlfriend (BF-BF, GF-GF) relationships are going to last so why spend on the plate of someone you don't know or may probably not be around for your friend by next year? Okay, hard to judge anyone's love life so the one and only rule on other halves is this: If they're married, invite the spouse, too. Some people also invite their guest's fiancé/fiancée. But if it's just a BF/GF, no need to invite them. 

5. It's okay to have 2 guest lists.

How does this happen??? Well, some couples get married abroad. Some couples have a civil ceremony. Some couples have their heart set on a tiny chapel. Some couples, like me and Vince, have different religions and quite a lot of my Born Again guests refused to attend a Catholic service (another story for another day). In those cases, you can have a ceremony guest list and an evening guest list

Vince thanking our 160 guests who made our wedding such a wonderful memory.

Now that you've trimmed your guest list, you can spend more on your luxury wedding invitations. I think a beautiful wedding invitation sets the tone for your wedding and gives your guests an idea on how big/casual/formal/fun/serious it's going to be. So don't go cheap on the invites! 

Your wedding is going to be one of the most special days of your life, so you want to celebrate with the people that truly mean the world to you. Don’t rush the creation of your guest list. Take your time and make sure you are completely happy before sending out those all important invites.

P.S. Anyone getting married soon? Can my littlest boy be part of the entourage??? He's the only one who's not been a page boy and I'm getting desperate haha

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  1. Do we have to explain to people why they wont be invited?

    1. My very honest reply: You don't have to explain your decisions to anyone at all.

      But because people can get really sensitive about these things, just be honest with them. The budget is tight, the venue is small, your parents are in charge of the guest list (hehe). Just say, "Thanks for your warm wishes! Let's catch up after the wedding/honeymoon!"

      One thing that works is have a huge guest list but get married abroad!!!

      I got married on a Thursday so that's why only around half of my 250-strong guest list showed up. Reasons were work and traffic. So that's how I knew that only the ones who showed up really cared for us because they took a leave from work and braved the traffic. =)


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