Wedding 101: The Guest List

When my husband and I attended Mandaue Foam x Meream’s watercolor workshop, he introduced me as his wife. It was awkward and I’m sure I blushed to the ninth degree of red because I am not yet to being called as such. When my husband said I was his wife, I was reminded that I have yet to share some things with you about our wedding and our wedding process. There were a lot of things we learned in year’s-worth of planning and preparing and a lot of things that we omitted just so we can have the most comfortable and best wedding. After all, we may get married only once.

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Making the wedding guest list is probably the most difficult to complete as it would serve as the foundation for the budget, the choice of venue and catering, the food to be served, and seating arrangements. The guest list would also determine how busy the couple and the couple’s family and friends would be before and after the wedding day entertaining out-of-town guests.

Our wedding preparation period was a few days short of one year before the wedding. After my husband and I decided on the wedding date (April 18) we started our guest list. Our two requirements were: (1) both of us would know each other’s guest and (2) no guest should be put in an awkward situation. Let me explain requirement No. 1. My husband and I have attended numerous weddings prior to our own, and, one time, we were attending his friend’s wedding when the bride asked “Who are they?” during the group photo. The bride did not know many of us, especially me being my then-boyfriend’s +1. I thought it was an awkward situation and I don’t want to be that bride asking who the guest is, nor do I want to put my groom into that situation. That means, both of us should have known each of our guests prior to our wedding.

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With No. 2 requirement, we also took from experience. We don’t want to invite a guest who could not connect to anybody in the party. We don’t want even one guest to be left starting into blank space because he or she don’t know anyone else. We thought it is already too much to ask a guest to attend our wedding, much less ask the guest to attend a party where he or she doesn’t know anybody else. So, all our guests know at least one or two of the other people invited. That way, they would be able to talk and catch up and not hurry to escape.

Our final number of guests totaled less than 115, including us (the couple), the pastor and his wife, our wedding singer, and the van driver. Of the 115, only 10 did not attend as they were from out-of-town or out-of-country and the wedding date did not fall on their vacation.

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My thoughts on making an effective and efficient guest list:

  1. Edit, edit, edit. There will be many people in your life as a couple and your life as individuals. Unless your wedding is a political or business affair, you do not need to invite every one. Even if you have lots of money to spend for your wedding, it is still not necessary to invite every one you know. My husband and I made separate guest lists and then fused together that list to come up with a comprehensive guest list. For every guest, ask yourselves whether he or she is so important in your life as a couple that you do not want him or her to miss your big day.
  2. Make the guest list a priority. Because the guest list will determine how many save-the-dates or invites to print, souvenirs to prepare, seats to arrange, hotels to book, cars to rent, and food to prepare, creating it should be a first priority. Create the list as early as possible and revisit it all the time to add or delete personalities. My husband and I completed our guest list two months after creating it. This means, we had an early start and we were able to inform our guests early regarding the date and venue of the wedding. Because the announcement was made early, about 95% of the invited guests confirmed to be there.
  3. Be unapologetic. Our guest list was not made hurriedly. It was made with so much thought that we know all the people we listed would be there. Coming from typical Filipino families, we still get the “Are you married? Why didn’t I get an invite?” question. Do not apologize for not inviting some or certain people. This will be difficult especially for us Pinoys, but, trust me, they’ll let it slide off.
  4. Invites do not beget invites. You are not required to invite all the people who invited you to their wedding. Yes, you’re not. People invite you to their weddings (or special occasions) for different reasons. There are your close friends who invite you to every family event and you invite to your every celebration. These people are the people who should be in your wedding not because they invited you to their wedding, but because they have become a part of your life.

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I was tasked with listing the guests. I used a simple Word .doc file I’m sharing at Scribd to help other couples who are planning their own weddings. I loved that this template has a “Notes” portion at the bottom of the page. I used this “Notes” section to indicate who should be seated next to other, etc.

Here is a wedding guest list infographic that summed up the principles my husband and I used while making our guest list.

weddingguest
Graphics from PostNet of Minneapolis

P.S. To everyone who joined us in our celebration, your presence means a lot to us. Until now, we are still appreciative of the fact that, despite your own schedules, you were there to be there with us. We thank you not just for being a part of our wedding, but also a part of our life as a couple.

All photos by Christian Toledo

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