Perfect 10 Weddings

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Top 5 Tips for Dealing with the Dreaded Guest List

One of my brides asked me for tips, so it got me thinking that if she needed tips, then perhaps, there are others out there who need tips as well. So here goes... 

1) Take RSVP matters into your own hands. 

Don't be shy about asking people if they can go to your big day. Send a generic text. If some don't respond, call them or send them an SMS directed at them only. If they don't pick up the call and refuse to answer the message, put all their names in the buffer list. Chances are, they won't be going anyway. (And if they do, well, they know they never responded; thus, the reason for their buffer table listing.) 

Sample place card (usually only those seated
at the VIP table have place cards) 
Oh, don't accept chair reservations, too. Ask for the names of those who are coming. That way, you won't spend needlessly for a chair reservation which never had a corresponding name in the first place. It will also help you later on when you do your guest list and print your escort cards. 

2) VIP tip 1

Put your parents, godparents, and their spouses in the VIP list. Ask your caterer if the number of people can fit into 1, 2, 3, or more VIP tables. That way, you will also be able to check regarding additional fees for floral arrangements and the like. 

Check with your caterer if you will need to make the place cards. If they will take care of it, get the deadline and send accordingly. Draw a seat map -- excel, powerpoint, word, photoshop, by hand -- for as long as the coords and the caterer's AE will understand where each person is seated. Make sure you put your couple's area as reference so your parents don't end up at the back. Inform them as well that they really need to follow the seat map you made. That way, they won't just put whoever, wherever. 

IMPORTANT TIP: Do not seat the partners in front of each other. Put them side by side. You will understand why when you start going around the VIP tables for pictorial with each pair. 

Don't forget to comment below or send us an email
if you will use this photo for your own wedding. :)
We would be glad to know we've been helpful. :) 
3) VIP tip 2

Seat them with people they know or with whom they may share a common interest. I loved it when Ms. Sonia Roco gushed at me during our wedding that her VIP table seat mate is her neighbour. Glad that she noticed how we sat her with someone whom she can converse with... :) 

If they know whom they are seated with or they at least have something to talk about, chances are, they won't leave right away. And you don't want them leaving right away because the VIP tables are at the center of the room. :)

4) Guests tables

Group the names according to their affiliations. If you have 11 in a group, then make sure you also have a group with 9 names, because you will take the 10th chair of that table to have 11 chairs for the 11 guests of another table. 

But if you can keep yourself from having 11 chairs, and stick to 10, better. It is tight to have 11 per round table. Oh! And don't take this tip at face value ok, ask your caterer regarding the number of people per table. Some only have 8 chairs per table, while others can go up to 12 per table especially if they are rectangular. 


Remember that this table that has to be kept empty in your guest list. If you have 150 guests, and you paid for 150, the 10 extra seats of the buffer table should be the allotment of those who might suddenly appear without having sent responses. You know them, they are in your buffer list, but they never responded; thus, they belong to the buffer list. 

If you assign people there, then you have guests appearing unannounced, the coords will not have seats for them right away. They will be made to wait by the registration area while the coords are going around asking guests if the seats beside them are empty. Although said guests did not RSVP, it's still rude to make them wait too long for a seat; thus, the function of the buffer table.  

It's also a good idea to have escort cards so coords know right away which tables still have extra seats and who came unannounced and grabbed the seats of those originally assigned to certain tables. Some guests do that as well. But with escort cards and people reporting that they do not have seats anymore, coords are able to relocate those who really did not respond to RSVP texts and calls. 

Oh, the suppliers table usually doesn't have a centrepiece, so it does not count as a buffer table. Sometimes, the chairs are even monoblocks, while the rest have ghost or tiffany chairs. So yes, it's not very polite to use it as a buffer table.

Photo by Metrophoto, grabbed from Vatel Manila's blog entry regarding the wedding
we handled as Perfect 10 Weddings last November 2012
Thank you, Oly, for making our escort cards look soooo nice... :) 
5) Kiddie Tables

These aren't so feasible especially if... 
a) the kids are too young to be on their own
b) the kiddie table is close to the door, the projector, or the dance floor/programme area

For me, it's still a lot better to have the kids seated with parents so they are safe and more disciplined. They are less likely to run around if the parent is beside them and checking on what they are doing -- unless the parent is the one encouraging them to join the bride and groom on stage. (This is sad, but it happens...) 

Kiddie stuff can be distributed by the coords (colouring materials, puzzles, clay, etc.) and the waiters (kiddie food). Ask the caterer if they are open to you ordering fast-food meals with toys, too. They are cheaper, yet the kids truly enjoy them. Channeling the thought of this kid who was walking around with her happy meal box all throughout the wedding reception... So cute! :) 

Of course, if you want it more formal, you can ask the caterer for their kiddie meals, too. :) I'm sure either way, the kids will enjoy having food suited to their palate. Oh, but if you're ordering kiddie meals, please count the kids and double check the number before ordering -- better yet, have extra plates/kiddie meal boxes. Some tend to take their kids along without informing the bride and groom.

This kiddie table set-up worked because it was nowhere near the door, not near the projector, and the kids
were old enough to handle themselves. In fact, when the food was served, they were able to eat on
their own. I do declare though, non-toxic clay really keeps 'em busier than crayons and colouring pages. :) 

You still have 8 days left to join the raffle and get a discount on my current emceeing packages. Just click on this link: join the raffle or get a discount now :) 


  1. This is reaaaally helpful for brides like me! Thanks a lot darlene!!!

  2. Thanks for sharing Ms. Darlene! This is helpful. Medyo stress kasi minsan ang mga guest. Hehe. :)

  3. Thanks for sharing this, Ms. Darlene. This would help us in finalizing our guest list and seating arrangement. =) - Dyan

  4. Thanks for sharing this wonderful topic. Looking ahead to our big day this would have been a big problem if not for your inputs.

  5. Very helpful ms.darlene for a smooth and relaxing wedding reception! looking forward on a stress free wedding reception see you on our wedding day! :) God Blesss