The Guest List


By Nicky Luis

If you are experiencing cold sweats and dread when thinking of your guest list – don’t worry as you are not alone! So many couples have issues when dealing with the tricky challenge of managing their guest list, and the challenges come in many shapes and forms. Which one are you facing?

It just keeps growing

Often the number of guests being added to the list is ever-increasing and, more often than not, this is due to family influences. Parents often want to invite friends and (distant) family members to your wedding who you may not necessarily want at your nuptials. I often say to my couples that the guests attending the wedding should be there because their presence will make my couple’s day that much better and more memorable. If not, they should be questioning why that guest is being invited. For the couple, this is a good test of working as a team and standing up to your respective families, politely standing your ground, and asserting that as a couple you are controlling the final guest list.

It did not say “and Partner” 

When you send out an invitation to a single guest and you have addressed it solely to that person, what do you do if they RSVP for themselves and a partner? It’s quite simple really – send a note, email or make a phone call to say that you are delighted that they will be able to join you in celebrating your marriage, but due to “venue capacity limitations/budget restrictions” (insert the most applicable response), the invitation is just for them and not for a partner, and you sincerely hope they will still be able to join you. Again, you want to have people at your wedding who will make your day better by being there – having a complete stranger there is not going to do that.

I don’t want HIM at MY wedding

Oh, if I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard this line! Admittedly, it is normally from a fairly irate bride and she is often referring to a close friend of the groom. A small point here: It is not just her wedding – it is his wedding, too. Often when I have sat and chatted to my distraught bride about this “fiend” who dares to show his face at her wedding, I discover that she has not even spoken to the poor groom, who is completely oblivious to her distress.

Ladies (and, yes, I am stereotyping here), you do need to talk to your fiancés about how you feel. As much as we wish they had the superhuman ability to read our minds, the fact is that they don’t. And it may come as a bit of a shock to you to understand that there may just be one or two girlfriends on your list who he is not all that thrilled about. Some key cornerstones to a great relationship are communication and compromise – so it is a great idea to talk to each other about any “fiends” who may have made their way onto the list – the most common one is the drunk, loud Uni friend who always tells the most inappropriate jokes. This way your Superman can have a quiet word to the offensive brute far in advance, thus causing you the least amount of distress.

And if there are any ladies (or men) whom your groom finds objectionable, you have the opportunity to have a little chat with them, too. Remember, while your friends are incredibly important and you always need to have them in your life, both you and your partner need to be respectful of each other’s feelings. You are a team now – that is why you are getting married.

Over the years, I have discovered that when it comes to couples who are trying to handle tricky guest list situations, they usually sit and stew on the problem, getting more and more worried. It is far better to make the decision jointly as to what you are going to do and take action immediately. You can then move on to other wedding matters and decisions. Do remember that it is a joint decision. There will be many times as a married couple when you are going to face family pressure, conflicts, friends being difficult, etc – this is a very good opportunity to have each other’s back and show what a strong couple you are.