11 Tips to Help You Manage Your Guest List

Let’s face it–guest lists are pretty tricky to handle. Filipinos are generally brought up in a very family-centric culture, which makes intimate weddings a bit hard to do. So how do you control the numbers from going up? What if they don’t reply right away? How do you really fix a guest list and do a headcount? Jets and Rhona from Canaan Celebrations share with us their wisdom in managing a guest list. Bookmark this page, loves–you know you’ll need it!

[Photo: Nicolai Melicor]
1. While creating your initial guest list, bear in mind that the most fun and heartfelt weddings are the intimate ones. Get the important names in there–this is your wedding, and you and your husband should ultimately be surrounded by people close to you.

2. Set a conservative number for your guests based on your budget and venue size. If your dream wedding venue can only hold a certain number of people, take it to heart. You wouldn’t want a cramped place!

3. Divide the guest list into categories.

You can’t just keep inviting people on your side of the crowd, can you? If the family members are pretty much balanced on each side, you can split the guest count and allot for the guests of the family. For example, out of 200 guests, 30 pax is allotted for the guests of the family of the groom and 30 for the guests of the family of the bride.

4. Indicate in the invitation how many seats are allotted to them. If possible, put the names of the actual invitees. You may also indicate that it is an adult affair if you don’t wish the guests to bring kids.

5. Inform the invitees early.

Distribute the invitations early, get their contact details, and remind them to confirm with you the names of those who are coming. This may be tedious, but this is an important step which you may have to repeatedly get back to in the course of the wedding.

6. A month prior to the wedding, actively contact those who have not answered the RSVP. Send another chaser a week after to those who have not replied.

7. Draft your seat plan early. Group guests into tens (or whatever number of seats are arranged in a table).

8. If you really can’t fit…

If the family is big or if there are too many relatives/family friends that your parents feel they need to invite, you can opt to have a simple dinner on another night in the comforts of your home or province.

9. If you have many friends that you find hard to fit in your set budget, you can invite them to an afterparty instead.

10. Usually, there is a greater chance to have a fallout than to overflow. So book a conservative but realistic guaranteed number of guests with your caterer.

11. You might get faster responses online.

Creating a Facebook event helps. It allows you to inform them about many things: directions, accommodations, dress code, reminders on the RSVP, etc. Especially if certain groups of guests are responsive, the others tend to be compelled to respond similarly.


As a couple, it helps to be firm with your decisions when making your guest list, so that at the end of the day the people you love will be present and celebrating with you! Those closest to you will also make time to be present in your wedding as well, so don’t stress too much. Go on and finalize that guest list!

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    1. Hi Mil, thanks for the inquiry! Typically, Save the Date cards are sent out 6-8 months before the wedding, while Wedding Invitations are sent out 6-8 weeks before the wedding. Note that these are just suggestions meant to guide you. It is entirely up to the couple when and how soon they are comfortable distributing their invitations.

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