Tag Archives: wedding guest list

Guests Wedding Etiquette

The Guest List: Family.

Photo credit: Urban Grey Photography via Wedding House

In this city where traditions are mostly kept and families are usually tight-knit, it’s no wonder why you see big groups of relatives gathering around for a family reunion dinner on Sunday nights. So when it comes to a family member tying the knot, the same applies. Suddenly, you discover you’ve got relatives you never knew existed: your Mum’s cousin’s children and you’ve been told by your parents to invite them. You’re now stuck with the daunting task of striking some of those twice-removed relatives off your guest list because honestly, unless you’re close, you shouldn’t be obliged to send them an invitation. You hardly see them, if at all, but how do you explain to your dear parents? It’s their proudest moment and they want to announce it to the whole world, so be tactical.

  • Play the budget card. The more distant relatives they invite, the higher the costs and if your Dad is forking out the moolah, he should understand.
  • Insist on intimacy. You want a small wedding and you only want those closest to you to be invited.
  • Tell them this is YOUR wedding, not theirs. Sometimes, it’s difficult to be harsh with family (and no way am I condoning this behaviour) but you’ve got to stick to your guns and tell them the truth.
  • If all fails, tell them you will budge by allowing your parents to host a separate family dinner.
  • Tell them you love them. That’ll buy you some brownie points.
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The Guest List: Friends.

Photo credits (from left): 1 Wedding Source, Candice K Photography

The Guest List. The dreaded task on every couple’s to-do-list. The unavoidable. No matter how well you think it’s been thought out, no matter how hard you’ve tried to be the gracious couple, you’re bound to have offended at least one person. Remember, this is your wedding, not theirs so don’t feel obliged to invite a guest just because you feel bad. This is not the time to act like you’re best friends with the whole world nor is it a popularity contest. The day is your most private, most personal, most touching and happiest point in your life. Spend it with those you care.

How to draw up your list:
1. List all your friends and categorise them into Tier 1, 2, 3 and so forth.
a) Tier 1 = those you’d meet up frequently (bumping into each other in a bar and saying a courteous ‘Hi’ doesn’t count), your best friends (even if you don’t see them all the time), you’d confide in, who’d you inform whenever you have news (good or bad) and you’d do anything for.
b) Tier 2 = those you may have been close to but for whatever reason you only see once in a while and those you’d have a good laugh with when you do meet up.
c) Tier 3 down = Facebook friends, ones you don’t even know why you’re friends with in the first place and if they’d invited you to their wedding, you’d think twice about.
2. Do not invite acquaintances. They’ll feel obliged to give you a present even if they don’t attend and you don’t even bat an eyelid as to whether they turn up or not so why bother?
3. The more people your invite, the more mouths to feed which means your wedding bill will inflate. It’s also more stressful coordinating hundreds of guests so keep it small. Unless you’re a Kim Kardashian, the celebrations should be an intimate affair.
4. Invite those in your Tier 1 category and depending on your venue size, wedding budget and how important you feel Tier 2 guests are to you, you can invite them as well.
5. It’s a matter of politeness to invite +1s and that applies even if you don’t like your best friend’s boyfriend. When it comes to the photos, you can photoshop him out.
6. Make it a balance between the bride and groom. If one side has a significantly larger party, the other is going to complain and get jealous. Talk it through. The last thing you want is to start off your marriage with ill feelings.

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Child vs No Child.

Photo credits from left: Frank Amado via Beauty and the Groom, Dulwich and South London Mum's Blog

The controversial dilemma that runs through every couple’s head when it comes to the all important guest list. You’ve got two schools of thought: awwww look at those little sweet cutie pies or get those small crying pests out of ma face. On the one hand, you run the risk of having your wedding morph into a mini-carnival and on the other, you may see your Facebook friends list slowly decrease. If you’re a kids lover and have a big budget (make sure to check with the venue and caterers for child prices as that can make a difference between whether you’re going to Maldives or Phuket for your honeymoon), you don’t have any problems but for the sake of the guests, you should still take into the below considerations.


Photo credits (clockwise from top left): Joanna Walker Photography, Boston Wedding Blog, Joanna Walker Photography

1. If you have budget and feeling tres generous, hire a qualified baby-sitter for the children so that the parents can let their hair down knowing their baby is being looked after and only a few steps away. What’s even better is to have a separate children’s play room with a TV.

2. If you’d like them to participate in the ceremony, you can:

a) have a small table in the corner with games, drawing pens and paper to keep them occupied; or

b) provide a kid-friendly activity bag filled with goodies.

3. Prepare a kid’s menu. The last thing you want is to pay HKD1,k per child whose not going to appreciate a good piece of steak and the only foods they’ll enjoy are spag bol or fish n’ chips.


If you’ve decided on having a peaceful adult-only wedding (not accusing you of being a child-hater here) and want to dance till the wee hours, then here are some tips to being a graceful couple.

No Children Policy:

Photo credits (clockwise from top left): Premier Wedding Planners Scotland, David Murray Weddings via WeddingBee, Roger Overal Photographer, Karl Maasdam My Portland Photographer, Craig Mitchelldyer My Portland Photographer

1. DO NOT explicitly state in the wedding invitations that children are not allowed. It’s impolite and bad form so start by addressing the invitation to just the adults e.g. To: Shirley & Peter Smith and not Shirley, Peter Smith and Baby Tom. If the invitees are clued up, they’d understand your slightly cryptic message.

2. Drop hints before you send out your invitations.

3. Should the guests play dumb and RSVP for their kid as well, politely tell them that you’ve got budget constraints or the guest list is limited and explain that you’d feel bad if the kid was bored (do you really want wedding photos of yawning kids in the background or kids throwing a tantrum??).


So, whatever school of thought you belong to, remember there’s no right or wrong. This is your wedding so you ultimately have the last word.