Compared to picking a wedding cake or scouting for possible wedding venues with your soon-to-be hubby, creating your wedding guest list could be the not-so-enjoyable part of your nuptials planning process. Listing down the names of the important people you want to be with on your big day seems simple, but it’s when you start trimming down this list due to budget or venue constraints when things get a little stressful—especially when you're coming from large families. One Pinay bride named Ana Laue even shared in an interview with Female Network that she and her partner had to drastically cut down their guest list from 400 to 150 people.

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"We initially wanted to invite everyone we felt like inviting: friends from grade school to college, whom we've lost touch with, all of our work colleagues here and abroad, the kids of our relatives, friends of our parents, etc. Unfortunately, we realized early on that a grand celebration would be too huge an undertaking and the cost of having one would put a massive dent on our financials," she recounted. 

So, how exactly do you condense your head count without hurting anyone's feelings? How do you decide who you should (or shouldn't) invite? Here, we asked three brides, who all managed to throw their own intimate weddings (with only less than 150 guests!), for tips on creating a wedding guest list. 

Ana Laue 

Female Network: How many guests did you have in your wedding? 

Ana Laue: We had a total of 130 guests. Our initial count was 400+! 


FN: How did you and your partner manage to limit your wedding guest list?

AL: The guest list was definitely one of the biggest challenges my husband and I faced during the wedding preps. I wanted to invite more people, which he didn't allow. He wanted to evenly divide the guest list 50-50, which I didn't allow. After some pushing and pulling, we made a few necessary compromises:

  • We were going to limit the guest list to 150 (or less). PERIOD. But I can have 60% of the guest list.
  • No kids were invited (except for those who are included in the entourage.) 
  • If the invitees inform us that they won't make it to our wedding, we will try our best not to invite more people to fill the gap. 150 or less; that was the goal!
  • Here's another decision I made for myself: If my husband hasn't personally met this close friend of mine and spent time with her/him, then I would just have to celebrate with her/him on a different date. It was a bitter pill to swallow, but it helped me with the struggle of who to invite and who not to invite. 
  • Since we only had to have 150 guests (or preferably less), we were able to invite our direct relatives and closest friends. These were actually the most important people in our lives—those who not only know my husband and I individually, but also us as a couple. They know our personalities, our quirks, and our chill style of celebration; they were the people we knew who would celebrate with us through and through. True enough, there were no "eat and run" guests! Everyone who attended was physically and emotionally present from the ceremony until the end of the reception. The fact that we had to trim down the guest list hugely benefitted us not only in terms of money and savings, but also in the overall atmosphere of that day. The whole day felt more like a reunion of sorts rather than a formal event. 

FN: What's your biggest tip for couples who are having a difficult time cutting down their guest list?

AL: Focus on the people that spark joy in your and your husband's lives. Marie Kondo the heck out of that guest list! Know that you won't be able to invite everyone to your wedding and that's alright. You can make it up to them and celebrate with them on another day.


Max Reyes 

Female Network: How many guests did you have in your wedding? 

Max Reyes: We had 66 guests! We initially wanted 30 to 50 guests, but we just [settled for] what our hearts would be at peace with.

FN: How did you and your partner manage to limit your wedding guest list?

MR: First, we started by setting the total head count that we wanted to have. Then, both of us made a list of each of our must-invite guests; our immediate family members came first on the list, followed by our extended family members and friends. 

  • For our families, we let them know the specific family members who were invited, instead of setting a certain number of invitees per family. We also stated that it was an adult-only affair for them to refrain from bringing their children.
  • For our friends, we've told them right from the start that their plus-ones were not invited. We were so lucky that all of our friends were so understanding. Most of them were married so they know how guest lists can be a headache. Our plus-one rule was not hard-and-fast, however. For our friends who did not know anyone at our wedding, we allowed them to have a plus-one!
  • Our parents also suggested some invitees but we told them we will accommodate only if it would fit in our headcount as it would only blow up our guest list. As much as possible, we were determined to stick to our head count, and we're grateful that they respected our wishes. 

FN: What's your biggest tip for couples who are having a difficult time cutting down their guest list?

MR: Set crystal-clear expectations in the early stages of planning, and write it down. Get both you and your partner on the same page right from the get-go. Choose your guests well; [focus on] those that would matter the most to yourself and your partner. 

Katrice Bugtong 

Female Network: How many guests did you have in your wedding? 

Katrice Bugtong: Our goal was to keep the guest list to a maximum of 50, and successfully, we had a total of 48 guests! 


FN: How did you and your partner manage to limit your wedding guest list?

  • First, we got married in Batanes and that, in itself, helped narrowed down our guest list. 
  • Second, we created a priority list on who we wanted to invite to our wedding (i.e. family first, then entourage, and then closest friends, etc.) We ended up with a close to 50:50 split on the guests! 
  • Since we had an intimate, destination wedding, [where not many could attend], we were able to compromise by having a separate celebration with relatives and friends. That way, our parents were also able to invite their own guests and everyone is happy!

FN: What's your biggest tip for couples who are having a difficult time cutting down their guest list?

KB: It's difficult to find the perfect balance between sticking to your planned head count and pleasing your families. Each situation is different. What we learned from ours is that you don’t need to please everyone. People closest to you will understand.

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