Singaporebrides | Weddings 101

September 2011

Make The Cut!

A bursting-at-the-seams wedding guest list is more common than you think. A bridal couple is usually so excited to share their joy with everyone – and we mean everyone – that they just can’t bear to take anyone’s name off the list. But the more people you invite, the bigger your bill gets. SingaporeBrides lists some ways to trim your wedding guest list (hurt feelings not included).

1. Create a B-list

At this point, you must already have written down a long, long list of names; anybody you want to invite, write them down. Sit down with your fiancé and go over them. First, sort all the names into simple categories – family, friends and colleagues. Next, start a B-list for each of the categories you’ve created. A B-list includes names of all those who are NOT your closest and dearest, like that distant cousin you only meet at Chinese New Year reunion dinner, the primary school classmate you bumped into last week or the marketing manager colleague who works on Level 5. Oh, and Facebook friends you don’t meet in person.

Be ruthless with this list. First, look for names you don’t recognise – they’re likely to be your parents’ extras so politely ask if you can strike them off. Next, don’t feel obliged to invite your bosses, business associates and colleagues. Even if you cut the whole department out, they should understand that you want to keep your celebration within the family and close friends. Then, weed out friends you have not seen or heard from in over a year. If you don’t usually hang out with them, it’s all right not to invite them to your wedding… even if they have invited you to theirs. If someone on your “A” list couldn’t make it to the wedding, you can then send an invitation to the person at the top of your “B” list.

wedding guests; wedding party; wedding guest listConstance and Jason’s Kaleidoscope Flower Field Hall Wedding At Gardens by the Bay by Samuel Goh Photography

2. Leave the kiddos at home

These days, it’s not unusual to have adults-only receptions. It could be because you’re planning a particular theme for your wedding (like “Casino Royale”) that’s not exactly kid-friendly. Or it could simply be because you want to keep the numbers small. No matter what, leaving the kids out can trim a wedding guest list (and your budget) by a fair bit.

But do establish some guidelines (like “Only for those 16 and above”) and stick to them. For one, you don’t want to appear rude by excluding some, but not others. Also try to be fair. If a certain guest makes a fuss and insists that her two children tag along, explain that you can’t make exceptions because that would be unfair to other guests. Suggest that she hire a babysitter for the night but say it in a nice and positive manner, such as, “Perhaps you can ask your reliable cousin to help watch the kids? Then you can let your hair down and have fun at the wedding!”

3. Strike out the plus-ones

It’s always a nice gesture to invite single guests with a “plus-one”. After all, who likes to attend a wedding on their own – and listen to tales of how other couples met and fell in love? But allowing for plus-ones will definitely balloon your wedding guest list. So do consider carefully if your budget allows for this. If not, it’s actually not required.

Simply address your guest by name on the invitation card. Most people know that if there is no mention of “and guest”, the bridal couple is not catering for plus-ones. But you can always seat singles together so that they can mingle and talk. There is just one exception to this rule though – it would be the polite thing to do to invite your guests’ significant others and partners of those in long-term relationships.

wedding guests; weddding party; wedding guest list; skyve wine bistroKylie and Patrick’s Intimate Wedding at Skyve Wine Bistro by Pixioo Photography

4. Be gracious

Not getting a wedding invitation may be hurtful to some, so do be tactful and diplomatic about it. Instead of avoiding the issue and not saying a word, we suggest that you make the effort to apologise in person or via a phone call (saying sorry over SMS or MSN reeks of insincerity, so avoid that). Be straightforward and explain that you can’t invite as many people as you would like because it’s going to be a small gathering. That was just what art director Jeannie Neo and her husband, Ricky, did when they were planning their April 2011 wedding.

The happy couple faced a ballooning guest list but knew they couldn’t invite everybody. Jeannie explains: “There were 200 guests on my original guest list, but our wedding was to be held at a small and intimate venue, Chalk at Old School. The restaurant sits 150 people comfortably, so we had to shave 50 people off our list. In the end, we only invited some of our closest family and friends and colleagues. I felt bad that I couldn’t invite some people who expected to come so I went to their cubicles in the office or met up with them to apologise in person. Fortunately, most were truly understanding.”

5. Dump the guilt!

It would be an understatement to say that it’s difficult to trim a wedding guest list to perfection. Even as you use a marker to strike names off, you would have to struggle with feelings of conflict and guilt. You’re wondering things like “Isn’t it bad to leave Granduncle Lee out?” and worrying about how your primary school friend Sally would be upset that she’s not invited (because she invited you to her wedding!). There’s just so much guilt involved in the entire operation.

But now that you’ve done the necessary cuts, stop feeling bad! It’s your Big Day after all – you should be able to choose who you want to celebrate it with. There is one way you can assuage that guilt, though. Consider holding a separate celebration for those who weren’t invited. By this, we don’t mean everyone on your “B” list. Instead, we mean categories of people, like all the colleagues in your department. After explaining and apologising that you can’t invite all of them to your actual wedding, offer to treat them to a celebratory lunch at the team’s favourite restaurant. In other words, just show that you care.

wedding guest; wedding party; wedding gues list; 520 library photographyAndre and Bibi’s Romantic Rooftop Wedding in Taiwan by 520 Library


Trim the list together

Don’t do the dirty job alone. This is the time to join hands and face up to the terrible task as a couple. Sit down and discuss who to strike off the guest list. Doing it together ensures that either party won’t accidentally strike out an important guest. It also shows that you respect and understand each other’s opinion. You also have to answer to both sets of parents – who may even be chipping in for the wedding dinner – so sort out the names with your other half and update them accordingly. Remember – it’s all about give and take.

Credits: Feature Image from Germaine and Mitchell’s Glamorous Wedding at Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore by Antelope Studios.

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Make The Cut!