How to Manage Your Parents’ Guest List: Wedding Coordinators Share Helpful Tips!

The wedding guest list has always been a critical topic among Filipino families, because there’s always the issue of inviting more people than you would want. Specifically, friends and acquaintances of your parents or even extended relatives you’re not particularly close to. How do you strike a compromise then? To gain a clearer insight on managing your parents’ guest list, we asked wedding coordinators for their professional opinions and tips. Read on!

(Layout) Open Up the Guest List Conversation As Soon As Possible
Set aside time to sit down with parents on both sides to discuss the guest list. If possible, make this a priority on your to-do list so the parents will have a clear idea about what your specific plans are from the very start. Prolonging the wait, and allowing news about your wedding to spread further among your parents’ relatives and colleagues, might make managing their expectations a bit more difficult.

“Bring up the topic of wedding planning when you and your partner have concrete ideas, preferably, with a specific venue in mind. This allows you to tell your parents that the venue you’ve reserved is only capable of fitting a certain number of people and you would want to handpick them.” Kam Tolentino, The Weekend Planner

(Layout) Allot a Specific Number of Seats for Your Parents’ Guests
There are times when parents would insist on inviting certain VIPs in their lives such as business partners, longtime friends, and the like. So, another good compromise would be assigning them a specific number of seats which they can fill-up with whomever they wish.

“If they would like to invite their own friends, tell them politely that you only have this much budget and can provide them with just “X” number of seats. If they want to invite more than what you budgeted, ask if they can share the venue and food expenses. Then adjust the venue size, with allowance for possible social distancing requirements, and guaranteed headcount with the caterer accordingly.” Jets and Rhona Battung, Canaan Celebrations by Jets and Rhona

(Layout) Host a Separate Celebration
The next option you can consider is having a separate celebration where your parents can invite their own guests. Your parents might even be willing to host and pay for it! You can think of it as a second reception which you can hold at home or at a restaurant.

“As a compromise, the parents may throw an engagement party where they have all the freedom to invite everyone they wish. This is a suggestion that may not be desirable to some, but it allows the couple to have a truly intimate wedding celebration where only their chosen ones are allowed to come.” Kam Tolentino, The Weekend Planner

(Layout) Ask Your Parents to Give You Specific Names of Guests
This is a helpful tactic! Jets and Rhona share that based on experience, there are times when seats and plates that were paid for go to waste because of no-shows on the day of the wedding. To minimize the risk of this happening, ask your parents for specific names to make the invitation more intentional.

“Ask for the specific names of the parents’ guests. That way, they will be pressured to invite ahead, follow up, and confirm with you in advance the exact number of seats.”Jets and Rhona Battung, Canaan Celebrations by Jets and Rhona

(Layout) Be Honest About Your Feelings
Respectfully opening up about how you feel towards the guest list is also a good idea. If a more intimate number of guests is what truly makes you happy, be sure to mention this. It’s still your wedding, after all. This is a celebration that only happens once in your life.

“Always mention you are hoping that everyone present on your wedding day is a witness of your love story. It’s good to appeal to their emotions by explaining how sad you may end up feeling if your intimate wedding is full of people you do not have personal connections with.” Kam Tolentino, The Weekend Planner

Need more help in managing the guest list? Check out our tips on how you can break the news about your small wedding to your big family. Happy wedding planning!

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