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Friday, July 20, 2012

{Aisle Say by Candice}: Let the games begin - Guest lists & Seating plans

Guest lists and seating plans are the two planning issues that always seem to cause conflict. This is true for any wedding couple no matter how compatible they are. Understandably so, because the Bride & Groom are trying to keep a multitude of people happy.

The guest list is one of the first important tasks to tackle, as it’ll determine the size of the venue you’ll need and obviously the impact on your budget. You want to spend your pennies on the people that mean the most to you on your wedding day. However, it’s a good idea to invite 10% more guests than your target as statistics reveal that 10-20% of those invited will decline.

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For clarity and ease of reference, make two guest lists. List A will include essential family and close friends. List B will include the non-essential but nice-to-have colleagues and extended friends. To assist with categorising, ask yourself this question, ‘who is relevant in your life right now and who will probably still be relevant in 5 years from now?’

Co-workers: If you socialise with them beyond the noisy cafeteria at work, then you should probably invite them. After all, you want someone in the office to enjoy wedding chatter with.
Singles: Make it a rule that their partners will be included if they have been dating a ‘significant other’ for a year at the time the invites are sent AND you have met their partner a few times. Also note that for some of your single friends it can be more stressful for them to find a ‘plus one’, so encourage them to come alone.
Kiddies: If you decide it is a ‘nay’ then be upfront and make it clear that no under 18’s will be allowed. Most couples with children will take advantage of this as a ‘date night’ and gladly organise a baby sitter.

The seating plan is the next challenge. Do not even start this until two weeks before the wedding once you have received the RSVPs and know your final numbers. Be realistic that there will also be ‘plus one’ requests and cancellations.

Create a spread-sheet for your RSVP replies and have a column where you will indicate the relationship to Bride or Groom, for example: Bride’s Aunt, Bride’s cousin, Groom’s best friend’, Groom’s Grandparents etc. Also highlight Bride & Groom with two distinct colours. This will make it much easier when planning as if you group according to colour.

You want to make sure that all your wedding guests feel special and that they weren’t seated in any hierarchical positioning. A great solution is to disperse members of the wedding party amongst the other guests. Let both sets of parents ‘host’ their own tables, it is definitely more fun for them than being on display at an isolated main table.

There will be a fair amount of ‘musical chairs’ as you have to consider some estranged family members (no family is complete without them) you will want to seat them as far apart as possible. Other than a few older ‘fuddy duddies’, you shouldn’t get your garter in a twist. Most of your friends and younger family members will invariably be chatting up a storm after two drinks and that is when they will start to relax into enjoying the celebration of your special day.

With some good pointers and rules to apply, you and your Groom should now feel more confident that you can master these two trickiest of tasks efficiently. You are now free to enjoy the rest of the 120+ other matters on your wedding to-do-list.

Tip for the Bride-to-be: Instead of table numbers, you can be different and name the tables, for example: If you both love red wine then your tables could be named: Merlot, Pinotage, Shiraz etc.

Contact Candice* at Live Love Dream and invest in a Pre-Marriage Course to ensure your Happily Ever After... *With a Degree in Psychological Counselling, Candice Luck of Live Love Dream specialises in presenting fun, modern Pre-Marriage courses, that assists couples in building a marriage based on communication, transparency and connection.

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