By Maria Immaculate Owechi
Many engaged couples have been forced to adjust their original wedding plans which include downsizing their guest list. Of course it is a disappointment since they can’t have all their family and friends they wanted by your side on their wedding day. The fact that it will seem impolite to ‘un-invite’ someone you have already invited.
According to Grace Kisakye, a wedding planner with Exotic Events, you don’t have to worry about your guests taking offence that you have uninvited them from your ceremony.
“Under normal circumstances, it would be rude to uninvite a wedding guest after they have been notified or received your invitation card. But we are not facing a normal circumstance now,” the wedding planner explains.
“Everyone is aware and understands the situation, so you just need to be clear and upfront about your decision,” she adds.
Daniel Kaweesa, an IT expert with Software Solutions shares that since his traditional wedding was before the corona virus outbreak. All his family and friends were able to attend.
So, when he held his church wedding during the post COVID period with close family members only invited, the people who were uninvited understood.
Kaweesa says many still sent him congratulatory messages and made offers to organise a celebration party for him when the situation gets better.”
If you are concerned about how you can downsize your guest list in order to meet the government guidelines for scientific weddings, then we are here to help you.
The wedding planners we talked to will share who should meet the cut and where to start downsizing from in order to have a smaller guest list.
Make sure your VIPs are included
So the question to start with is who you can’t get married without? These are family members or close friends who if you were getting married, they are non-negotiable cases.
Prossy Lungabo, an Event Planner with Rosy Events explains that once you start with your parents and immediate families if you are left with more slots then you are able to accommodate your closet relatives and friends.
Kisakye adds that when it comes to family, sometimes they may be many in number if you are to put them together with your partner’s family.
She says this where you should include family members first and you have the option of excluding that relative who has not been in touch with you for many years.
Do different guest lists for each ceremony
You are advised by wedding planners to make a different guest list for each of your ceremonies.
Lungabo says the good thing in Uganda, we have more than one marriage ceremony namely; kukyala, Kwanjula (traditional wedding) and the religious or civil wedding ceremonies.
“Closest family members and relatives can make up the small guest list for the kukyala and traditional wedding,” the Event planner elaborates. “Then for the religious or civil weddings, your close family and friends can be witnesses while at the reception you add people like cousins, other friends and some work mates.”
Consider the distance
Lungabo advises that distance should play a major basis on deciding which person can make it to the guest list.
The Event planner advises that couples should consider excluding relatives who need to travel from far off places to come to your wedding ceremony. This can be those travelling from upcountry or from outside the country’s borders.
She explains that this is because here in Uganda, transport fares have gone up, so many guests who are coming from upcountry may decide to forego your function.
“Or for the guests coming from abroad, it may take some time before the airport will be allowed to resume,” Lungabo adds.
Even if family comes first, but for scientific weddings, you are advised to stick to family members who live nearby.
Consider excluding vulnerable guests
Vulnerable guests can include people like the elderly and children. Kisakye explains that this may sound harsh having to exclude your grandparents or younger nephews and nieces but this is a time we need to be vigilant when it comes to safeguarding those who are vulnerable.
Cut off those guests who are negotiable
There are those people in our lives that it will so much fun to cheer you on and dance the night away with.
Lungabo says in order to have a smaller guest list you have to make the hard decision of cutting off those who are negotiable. She says these could be guests like workmates, old school mates’ acquaintances or your parent’s friends.
Have limits on the plus ones
For your scientific wedding, Kisakye advises that you should be very strict about the no- plus one policy. She says this assists in maintaining the set guest list and avoiding the number spilling over because of the plus ones brought by your invited guest.
The plus ones can be kids, your parent’s friends, a cousin coming with the girlfriend or friends to one of your guests.
Use technology to involve the other guests
For those guests who can’t physically make it to your wedding ceremonies. There is the option of exploring options such as live streaming in private groups or skype.Here, the guests can easily send their congratulatory messages to you via live streaming.
Inform your guests in a polite manner
After determining which guests meet the cut, the polite thing to do is to send a personalised message rather than a general message such a phone call, text, whatsapp, facebook, email or a card.
Kisakye further explains that it is very important to be polite while letting the un invited guests know your decision and especially emphasizing that is for their safety because of the pandemic.
She adds that if you haven’t sent the invitations yet then there is no need to do any formal uninviting. However, there are those guests that may require you to explain personally to about the change of plans.
After making your final decision, it is easy to feel guilt about uninviting certain people you would have loved by your side. Lungabo encourages you not to feel guilty because you can always have a big celebration down the line.
The Event planner says it might not be the ideal wedding that you had planned for but it is still your big day.
“Your wedding is a celebration of love. Look at the brighter side of the situation where you get to celebrate one of the biggest events of your life,” she adds.