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Facing Guest List Woes? Follow These Steps

Knowing at least the estimate of the total number of guests for a wedding informs other important decisions like the choice of wedding packages most Philippine caterers offer. Practically, most caterers charge on a per pax basis. So that there won’t be any unnecessary excess, here’s how you solve guest list woes.

Interestingly, the guest list size is the most important variable that makes or breaks the wedding budget. Extra guests may mean certain compromises. Nevertheless, before we continue the discussion, let’s look at some of the most common guest list woes.

1) Discuss with your fiancé/fiancée

From the very beginning, sit down with your fiancé/fiancée to discuss whether you two want a small or big wedding. There are fewer guest list issues to deal with the latter. However, if both of you want a fairly small wedding, narrow down the list especially if the budget will not allow for a 150-guest reception.

Options are:

          – inviting everyone you know

          – inviting immediate family only (to avoid bruised feelings)

          – inviting immediate family and those both of you know

Consider inviting only those people who know you as a couple or those who knew both of you decently well. Also, include those who both of you cared about immensely. With these options, you will come up with a guest list of the most important people in your lives.

2) Follow the rule of thirds

The approach is simple: she invites the first third of the guests; he invites the second third the guests and both invite the last third of the guests. The approach may not work neatly as it depends on the size of the family of each party as well as that of the bride and groom’s social circle.

Further, the approach also works if you are footing the bill. Complications come in if the one family foots 90% of the bill unless that family is the groom’s. More guests can be invited if the paying family is willing to shell out more money. This does not mean that the paying family can have 120 guests and the non-paying family with only 30 guests even if the groom’s family is shouldering all the expenses.

3) Skip the kids

This is an easy rule of thumb unless the kids are members of the immediate family and entourage. Also, unless there will be a children-only zone setup where kids can be kids, it would be better to indicate in the invitation that although regrettably, you prefer a no-child policy at your wedding. Kids can get rowdy, and this can ruin the momentum especially when one of them starts throwing tantrums in the middle of the program.

Also, never conclude that parent guests are willing to make their tots sit on their laps. Kids, who can sit on their own, must be given a seat beside their parents. Such situation incurs additional expenses. Kiddie tables are not always a good idea since you might have no idea how young or old the kid attendees are.

4) Limit the plus ones

This is considered the grayest area in creating a guest list. Usually, the plus ones are total strangers to you both. Consider putting a line on the RSVP card that plus ones must only be someone that one of you knows personally. RSVP cards are so important for practical reasons. Unquestionably, you don’t want to have a wedding with mostly unfamiliar faces.

A sample timeline is:

          6 months prior – Work on the invitation layout

          4 months prior – Work on the save the date cards

          2 months prior – Work on the RSVP cards

This is just a sample; it can be 3, 2 and 1 month prior, respectively. The bottom line is there should be allowances for amendments, distributions and response times.

Typically, save the date cards are sent first so that the expected attendees can arrange their respective leaves and transports more so for out-of-town weddings. Optionally, the invitation along with the save the date card can be sent together in one envelope. Or, you can send the save the date card first and after a month or two, send the invitation along with the RSVP card. Whichever is convenient for you and your guests.

An RSVP card indicates whether the invitee is attending or not and if he or she attends, who will accompany him or her. Strive to get actual names for two reasons. First, it will help in assigning table numbers (who gets to seat with who). Second, it assists in confirming whether the person is already in the guest list or not.

According to tradition, not responding to RSP is impolite. Nonetheless, to minimize the hassle, you can indicate whether responding is for attending only or regrets only. The invitee should respond only if he or she is going to attend (RSVP attending only) or if he or she is not able to attend (RSVP regrets only). To further make the process easier, put your contact details where they can let you know if they are attending or not.

You would know if there is a need for extra allotments for original catering allotment or not since you know the estimate of attendees.

5) Involve both sets of parents

This is non-negotiable not because they are footing the bill (if they are) and tradition dictates so, but because you might be forgetting someone or anyone that should be on the guest list.

Understandably, they would want a distant relative or friend to be there at their daughter’s or son’s wedding. Might as well have a separate discussion with your parents. Politely remind them about the wedding budget. Consider giving them at least 10 to 15 seat allotments for each set of parents so that they can still invite who they want to invite. You can also politely tell them to invite people that you know personally as much as possible.

Stick to the guidelines discussed above for a more manageable guest list. No one will condemn you if you want to be practical even if it means inviting only those people who can genuinely share the joy and excitement with you. Anyhow, a wedding is a celebration of your union as husband and wife and must be witnessed by those who truly cares for you both. This is true even on a lavished budget!

About Hizon's Catering

For more than 30 years , we have been blessed to be a part of thousands of weddings, debuts, kids parties, corporate events, and private celebrations. In all these events, we make sure we are not only your caterer but more importantly your partner in every step from conceptualizing, budgeting and planning up to final execution.

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