How to deal with RSVPs and Guest Lists?

The non-VIP seats for our Entourage and Guests

Dealing with your RSVPs can be a headache unless you plan it out perfectly because realistically it’s not common in Filipino traditions. What’s worse is how to properly deal with them and explain to every single person included in your guest lists that they are important. Unfortunately, even if you pay extra fees for RSVP services since not all Coordinators offer free in their packages, it’s rare to get even 50% confirmation since a lot has to be considered before you’d get their sweet yes!

Below are some of the things on how to deal with RSVPs depending on your guest list type.

PRINCIPAL SPONSORS (Ninongs and Ninangs)

Typically, your standard seats for VIPs are for 2 people only (PS + spouse) since they will be seated on the limiyed VIP tables together with your parents and the rest of the PS. But, then if they have kids, automatically you have to ask if they plan to bring them on the wedding. Doing this will serves as a heads up you to plan your final guest list count. From here you would also be able to check if you need to add more people or drop others.

When talking to PS regarding RSVPs, as much as possible it should be done in a “formal manner” since they are considered as VIPs on your wedding.

How formal? If you can try to visit them or take them out for lunch/ dinner. Interact with them on a personal level while talking about your wedding plans. This way, they will feel connected with you (and your fiance) and would feel that as your “future second parents”, you are giving importance to their presence. Avoid informing them through Facebook chat, call or through your Coordinator. The worse thing that you might do would be to surprise them that they can only bring 1 extra person after receiving the formal invites because they will feel like you didn’t give them any options, which would clearly offend them and this could ruin everything!

ENTOURAGE (Secondary Sponsors, Maid of Honor, Best Man, Bridesmaids and Groomsmen)

Similar to your PS, they are also considered VIPs, but one level below your PS since unlike the latter, they will be seated together with the rest of the guests. And just like your PS, they automatically have 2 seats reserved for them.

In modern Filipino weddings, the 2 seats-allocation for the rest of the Entourage has been trimmed down to one usually because of budget problems. Although there are exceptions to the new rule, talking to them politely is still the best way for them to understand the situation. Since you get to personally choose your Entourage because of your close relationships with them, letting them know ahead of time in a friendly manner would be ideal. The concept of “lambing” is also encouraged so they wouldn’t feel that you are imposing this for some selfish reason but because there is a need for it.

RELATIVES

This catergory can be quite demanding as compared to the others since this category includes both sides of the family who are not part of the entourage. In most cases, majority of the problems with guest lists arise here because traditionally, weddings are considered as family reunions. Filipino culture actually expects “all” members of the families on both sides and even upto the extended relatives expanding until the 3rd or 4th degree to be invited to the wedding because it is a family affair. Now the problem comes in if the wedding is running on a tight budget and the invited guests are limited to a max of 100-150. Family drama would normally ensue to the point that burning bridges would even occur.

To avoid this problem, as soon as you start planning your guest list and RSVPs, clearly decide how many people from your relatives you want to be at the wedding. If you can’t accomodate everyone, might as well select the elder members or “heads (with the spouse of course) of each family” as representatives. With this, you’ll be safe enough not to offend everyone because you’re seeking understanding from the elders first who are considered the voice of the families. Just be sure that when you inform them about your guest lists and RSVPs, do it personally so that they will feel you are still respecting their authorities in the family.

OTHER GUESTS

Aside from your relatives, this can also be a little demanding because majority of your guests will come from this category. Since your relationship will vary depending on your connection, it is still best to inform them personally if you can. But similar to the other categories above, if you are based overseas, it is highly advisable to talk to them via personal chat or call. It is also good to remind them through a private FB event page where they can see all the details.

ON BRINGING KIDS

This is sometimes a senstive issue because some guests, including relatives, would prefer to bring their kids with them due to personal reasons such as not having any help or yaya around. So if you both are really decided to have an adult-only wedding, then you must clearly specify before hand that you are limiting your guests to adults only so they can prepare ahead of time.

But, in cases when you have no other choice but to say yes, check the option of hiring a Mobile Kid’s Playhouse or setting up a separate Kid’s area for them so the adults can still be focused on the wedding.

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