The most important exercise of inviting guests to your wedding is probably also the most demanding one. But there is no denying that even before you send out the invitation cards or book the services of a caterer to cater for the food, you need to get a clear picture on whom you are going to invite for your wedding celebration. The numbers are important. You need to know who is in and who is not. How?
In most western countries wedding celebrations can often be with a pretty small guest list ranging from 20 to 200 on the higher side. If these weddings are held outstation in places like Goa, the guest list might water down even more since there is an added cost, most often borne by the bridal couple to ferry the guests to Goa and back including footing the bill for their stay in Goa. There have been foreign weddings in Goa with only the bridal couple and a few members of the family and friends maybe numbering to even 20. There have also been extravagant affairs when it comes to foreign weddings in Goa with guests numbering to around 200 or more, who have all landed in Goa only for the wedding from various parts of the world.
However when it comes to a core Goan wedding, there is the normal extravagance of pouring invitationswhich normally extends not merely to family and close friends but also to neighbors, relatives ,cousins and acquaintances some of whom may be known only to the parents of the bridal couple or to their siblings. No wonder many wedding sin Goa have guests numbering in thousands . It’s the fat Goan wedding for sure.
Why guest lists?
However, sometimes when you invite more than you can handle you can be in a spot of bother leading to crunch situations with paucity of seating places, shortage of snacksand maybe even the main course buffet food getting a hit. Very often an estimated guest list of 500 extends to even 800 and if you have catered for the original number without making a due diligent assessment of the expected crowds, you could be in for an unpleasant surprise. Do you need such surprises on your big day? Obviously not.
It is therefore very important for wedding couples to make a proper estimate of their guests in advance and not leave too much of uncertainty about the guest numbers. You may not be able to get the exact number of people attending your wedding but you can surely get pretty closeand that is probably good enough. Compiling a wedding guest list is therefore the key.
The situation at Goan weddings
One must remember that at Goan weddings, a good number of guests are expected from both sides of the bride and the groom. With wedding costs normally divided equally between the bride and the grooms family in Goa, both sides freely invite their guests without making an assessment of the impact on the wedding celebration as a whole. It is important that wedding couples make such an assessment to ensure that thewedding celebrations pass of without any glitches. A sense of openness and accommodative outlook on both sides is important to make a targeted and realistic guest list.
Wedding couples in Goa often experience frustration when trying to organize the guest list of either sides. The reason for this frustration is rooted in the dilemma of whom to include and whom to leave out. Also it can be quite a task to gather the correct and current addresses of the invitees, especially if you are having your parents contributing names to the wedding guest list – and they can send new ones every two days or so!
Organize yourself with lists
Your best bet to is to organize yourself and make a system to narrow down your guest list in the best possible way. One way is to make multiple lists. Both the bride and the groom will have to separately make lists in their own separate domains. Each one on their own side will need to make these multiple lists.
In this, firstly, the groom makes his own personal list. Another list is made by his parents. A third by his siblings. Next, he collects all the lists, and integrates them by removing the common ones and now focuses on the new integrated list. It is important that your list has the names of the invitee couple, their number of children , their availability in Goa and the realistically expected number of adults and children per invite. The bride follows the same procedure on her side.
Group your lists
Now, still operating separately, the bride and the groom respectively take their own integrated list and group it into separate categories. The list needs to be organized by group so that you can see how your numbers stack up. Your basic and most primary group should be the immediate family and closest friends. You need these people at your wedding come what may. Once you establish that number you can see how much room you have for other guests. Obviously much of this could depend on your wedding size preference and the budget of your wedding which you will need to set beforehand or keep it flexible.Now create more groups. The second group could be of the extended family. The next group could be of neighbors and relatives, Another of colleagues at work, school friends etc, and yet another miscellaneous list of people who may be close to your parents and to your siblings, their friends etc.
When you group your wedding guest list, you help yourself to get a handle over two things. One is to keep a perspective on whom to invite and second identify issues you will want to consider after you know the broad number in front of you.
Once these groups are before you, and when you reach a particular number, you need to meet each other as a bridal couple with each of your lists. See what numbers each one comes up with. Be realistic with your numbers. Now see the guests who may be common in both your lists and strike them out from the list which has more numbers. So after all this, now you may have 300 guests on the grooms side and 400 from the brides side which total to 700. Your budgets are planned for 500.Your list needs some fine tuning.
Slice your list or increase your budget
The fine tuning of your list is very important and the grouping on each of your list is going to help you. Your first group is almost untouchable since it includes family and close friends. So you move to the next group and you tick people who you feel may not be on your priority to be invited. Both the bride and the groom do this with their own lists. Then, they confirm this striked-out guests with their parents and siblings to check and confirm if your cancellations hit their most preferred guests. Once you have a concurrence on the cancellations from the lists, count the numbers in both the lists again. If you are now still in excess at say 600, consider if you can extend your budget to a bit. Or go to another round of cancellations on the next level of priority and so on.
When compiling or removing guests from your your wedding guest list, remember that consistency is gracious and important. If you define the parameters of your list by group, it will be much easier for you when you are making decisions about whom to invite and whom to remove from the list. For instance, when it comes to neighbors, it might be very dicey to leave out a few neighbors and invite the rest as it will cause a very uncomfortable situation for you and your family. Remember you or your parents will be in constant proximity with your neighbors and you should take this into account.