One of the very first areas that you will need to address when you start planning your wedding is your guest list. It may seem easy, but trust us, in reality it is the most daunting task that can be stressful for the bridal couple, and in worst cases, it may even lead to unhappiness and arguments in the family. There are often a lot of politics to be taken into account. Where do you draw the line for your extended family and your parent’s friends? Do you have to invite everyone at your office?
In this series of installment, we reveal valuable tips and advise from ex-brides on how you can manage your guestlist easily.
First things first, how you do start planning your guest list?
1) Discuss your shared vision of your dream wedding with your other half
Do you prefer an intimate affair at an outdoor venue, or a grand ballroom wedding? Keep in mind that depending on the type of celebration you want to have, the suitable type of venue will also determine the no. of guests you are able to invite due to capacity suitability. Do you want to invite people for the whole day or will you have a separate guest list for the ceremony and evening reception?
2) Create a draft guest list and categorize into ‘Must invite’ and ‘Would be nice to invite’.
Based on the ‘Must Invite’ list, you will then be able to start searching for your venue as well as setting you wedding budget. The ‘Would be nice to invite’ list is for guests who have secondary priority and should be included if your venue capacity and budget allows along the way, or to replace a guest from your ‘Must Invite’ list who are unable to attend your wedding after RSVP.
Note: It will be good to consult each side of the parents when doing this. The rule of thumb is that if your parents are contributing financially to your wedding, it is only reasonable that they get some tables and opinions on who they want to invite. After all, you are their precious gem and they want to share this moment of pride with people who matter to them! Even if your parents are not contributing financially to your wedding, it is only polite to seek their wishes on who they would like to invite, then consider if you can accommodate. Some people say that weddings are not just the affair of a couple, but the affair of the couple’s extended families. There is some truth in that. Very often, couples feel pressurized to invite extended relatives whom they personally have no contact with for ages, because their parents insist.
3) Set a realistic budget and stick to it.
Granted that your reception bill will likely to be covered by the ang pows from your guests, but do not that take that for granted. Always set a reasonable budget without taking this into consideration. In our last post, we mentioned that one of the methods to cut wedding costs is to cut your guest list. Thus if your budget does not allow you to host 500 guests, then you will have to plan your guestlist according to the no of guests that you are comfortable in paying for.
4) Once you have decided on your venue, stay disciplined.
Every venue has a maximum capacity limit. If the venue you have chosen can only accommodate around 100people, don’t try to squeeze anything more than that. It may seem like common sense, but trust us, we have come across couples whom were stuck in this sticky predicament and ended up hosting another reception to accommodate the ‘additional’ guests. The most extreme case that we’ve seen – the couple requested for the hotel to set up additional tables at the cocktail foyer area instead of inside the ballroom itself! That is an absolute NO NO! Be strict about the people you absolutely have to invite.
4) Send out Save the date 3 months before the wedding and request for the 1st round of RSVP
Although this is not a common practice in Singapore, it is advisable to do it anyway. Firstly, it may help you to save some cost on invitation cards for those who already know are not be able to make it for your wedding. Secondly, it allows you to send the invitation cards to the guests in your ’Would be nice to invite’ list’ whom are replacing the guests from your ‘Must Invite’ list but are unable to make it, and not making them feel like they are a last minute invitation.
5) Send your invitation card at least 2 months before the wedding and request for 2nd round of RSVP.
It is not recommended to send the invitation too early as your guests may forget! Neither it should be done too late either as you never know what may crop up. 2 months will be a recommended time frame, where you are still able to afford some delay if necessary. It is good to still request for RSVP on the invitation card as you may encounter some who realize that they are unable to attend along the way due to work commitments etc.
6) Give your guests a reminder SMS or call 3 days before your big day
Although not a must do, it will be good to do if time allows. This gives you a very good gauge on the final numbers, and allows you to quickly sought for a replacement for someone who suddenly falls ill and is unable to attend. On the contrary, it helps you to decide if you need to open up the ‘reserve tables’. Yes! – You may get some relatives or friends asking if they could bring along their helper, or boyfriend etc at the very last minute due to some unforeseen circumstance. Though very rare, but it happens!
If you are wondering what are ‘Reserved Tables’, these are additional tables that are provided by some venues (usually 1 or 2 maximum) that are not guaranteed by the host (which means you do not have to pay unless they are occupied on the day), where the table will be set up and food is prepared for any unexpected last minute turn ups.
Do look out for our 2nd installment of Managing your Guestlist – Trim your guestlist by eliminating these 12 types of guests from your list