Guests List, who to invite to your event?

The organization of any event requires extensive planning and preparation, knowing that much of the work starts months ahead of the event. Most times, events seem to unfold like a clock with all the elements falling into planned schedule.

Planning and having a clear version is the key to a successful event.

We all know that you can’t afford to invite everyone you know to your event, unless it’s a charity event, where tickets are purchased. Even at that, numbers are crucial. Not to talk about a wedding or elegant birthday party. This article is aimed at AFRICAN wedding, although same principle might apply to other cultures and events.

In many African weddings, birthday parties or any other type of event, there tend to be more guests on the day as opposed to the actual numbers invited. I wonder why that is!

When a couple is getting married, their guests list isn’t narrow down to their guests only, mom, dad, uncles, auntie, sisters, cousins etc. (you get the picture), have their own list of whom THEY went to invite to YOUR wedding. Without considering the size of the venue, catering costs etc.

Everyone wants to partake in the big day, have a say on where they think the couple should hold the reception, type of decorations, catering etc.

So with this extensive list, how to you mange to fit 300-400 guests into a venue that accommodate 250-seated guests only?


Sleepless nights kicks in, stress kicks in, arguments between relatives starts.


You don’t want to upset anyone by saying NO

Do we just elope?

But it’s my wedding!


Few secrets on how to manage this dilemma

When to say no

Sit your parents down and explain to them how you’ve envisioned your wedding day to be like, and that you don’t mind them contributing ideas to a limit. If they not willing to listen to you, breakdown and cry. This will get their attention.

Give them guidelines on how they/we can reduce numbers for the day. The easiest way to cut the list is to stick to your numbers. I promise it will be easier in the long run and you will avoid potential drama along the way. What do I mean by rules? Here are some of the most common:


Rule 1: If neither of you have spoken or have met with the guests or heard their name before the wedding, do not invite them.

Rule 2: What’s your view about having kids at your wedding? Do not feel bad about having an adult-only wedding.

Rule 3: If none of you have spoken to them in two to three years and are not related to you, do not invite them.

Rule 4: If someone is on the list because you feel guilty about leaving them (perhaps because they were invited to your sister wedding or are friends with many people who are invited), do not invite them.

Rule 5: Don’t hesitate to have a security guard on the day on the day

Rule 6: Clarify in bold, that ONLY invited guest welcomed and if you are not on the guest list you wont be grant access to the reception

Who has priority?


Once you have written a draft of your complete list, put each guest in a relationship category, says Naylor. The first level consists of essential members of the family (grandparents, siblings, uncles, cousin brothers); the second is close friends and extended family (second cousins); the third is colleagues and other friends. When you know how many guests you can afford, start trimming the list from the bottom level. You will save potential hurt feelings by removing entire groups of people (say co-workers or church member), rather than just inviting a few. Having said that, if someone is really important to you, of course, you should invite him or her.

Alternatives to attend the ceremony


I know it’s easier said then done, but I tell you, you need not lose a sleep over planning your wedding or birthday party.

Event Planner exists to take the stress out of any event, so you can relax and enjoy your big day and money.

Please contact us should you require further assistant with planning your next event, we are just a phone call away.

Till next time, happy planning.