As has always been the tradition in the Middle East, it is the families of both the bride and the groom that assign committees within the household to barter the workload of planning the wedding. The parents and the grandparents of the bride and the groom partake in the imperative decision of organising the guest list for the wedding party, a formal and high-ranking social gathering, where most of the guests that arrive may even be strangers to the couple.
However with the advancement of modernity, it has now become an accepted norm for the bride and the groom to interact with their family elders and work upon an agreeable guest list that includes both of their friends and social acquaintances. Bearing this in mind, B&G – Oman has shortlisted the five most important features that go into deciding the ideal and complete wedding guest list.
Talking to family elders
The advent of westernization in the themes and celebrations of Middle Eastern weddings has paved the way for a more flexible approach when it comes to deciding on the guests that are to be invited. This does not in any way lessen the final say the elders of the family have on the guest list that is put together. Close friends, pals from office, and social acquaintances developed through personal channels are the more important invitees for a bride or groom to be. Since this may clash with the guest list the family puts together, it becomes vital for the bride and the groom to put aside some time to talk with their family elders and discuss the allowance of their own personal guests in the list.
Estimating the number of guests
Since large families and strong kinship is very much a part of the Arab culture, anyone even remotely related to the bride or the groom’s family is invited, rendering a guest list of anywhere from 300 to 600 people. Starting with a wide invitee margin is always preferable, making it easier later to handle a sudden increase in the number of people invited. Each family gets to decide one half of the guests, with the bride and the groom including their own personal invitees in the same. Deciding on the number of guests depends on two factors: the accommodating capacity of the venue, and the budget. With mostly affluent wedding finances, classic Middle Eastern weddings are usually housed in lush, spacious ballrooms, with arrangements to house more than a 1000 people.
Making the perfect guest list
The guest list should be established shortly after the venue and the budget have been decided, especially because factoring the cost per person and the number of invitations needed becomes important. The best way to start is by jotting down the initial run through of guests that have to be invited. Once this draft has been created, it can be broken down into three main categories: the A List that includes all of the family and relatives, and family friends; the B List that includes friends and co-workers of the bride and the groom; and the C List that includes far off residing relatives/family friends, or people who aren’t sure to be able to make it to the wedding. This method is highly resourceful, and eliminates the risk and embarrassment of forgetting someone.
Children have always been a part of weddings in the Arab culture, with no hint of exclusion in the celebrations. Keeping in mind the added responsibility of managing this younger audience, modern wedding families usually prefer a child-friendly environment, with a few entertaining diversions in a separate area to occupy the kids’ time. Having children screaming during the event or pulling at the centrepiece during the reception can be a nightmare, so deciding on a children’s area or space at the wedding (along with a chaperone, if needed) can prove to be a suave and welcome relief from the stress of looking after the teenyboppers contingent.
Finalising the guest list
After the compiling has been done, a master check helps in pointing out the loopholes and empty spaces in the guest list, that can be either omitted, thus cutting down on finances, or that can be replaced with newer guests or ones that have been mistakenly forgotten. A final look over is essential in ensuring that the guest list is complete, and inclusive of guests of both the families and the bride and the groom. This guarantees ease in the sending out of the invitations, and ultimately having the perfect audience at the wedding celebration.