Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What's the Problem?

Whenever I would read or hear about others' guest list woes, I never really understood what the big deal was. I would hear people griping about making their guest lists and think "What's the problem? Just write down your friends and family members' names, get their addresses, and be done with it!" Coworker invites herself? Just smile politely and respond "Oh, that's so sweet that you would want to attend our little wedding! We're keeping the ceremony really intimate though, so we're not inviting many people outside family and close friends." Parents want to invite thirty seven of their not so close friends? Just say no!
Unfortunately, Nancy Reagan's campaign to just say no to drugs was actually marginally more successful than my campaign to just say no to unnecessary guest list additions. It turns out the whole guest list constructing is way, way, way more complex than I ever anticipated. Thinking and talking about who to invite to the wedding leads to many, many problems.

Problem #1: Remembering important people to invite. This is easier said than done, which might be obvious to all of you brilliant readers but was not obvious to little ol' me. I began by writing down my family members and friends names, his family and his friends, our mutual friends, and the professionals who would be attending. I mostly did this from my memory, which is poor at best. I think there is something wrong with the part of my brain that is supposed to remember things, because I can't remember anything. Ironically, I used to know what part of the brain did that...but now I can't remember!
Anyways, I think the first time around I forgot a couple members of the wedding party, an immediate family member (I'm not saying who though!), and, ohmygod, I swear, as I was typing this I just realized that I also forgot my brother! EEK! This does not even begin to account for even MORE people who my other half has forgotten. I am living with increasing anxiety that we have forgotten some other important people. It sucks.

Problem #2: Of the people we managed to remember, deciding who gets an invite. We have a great group of friends and feel really blessed. However, as social relationships tend to be, some of our ties within this group of friends are stronger than others. There might be some periphery people on the outskirts of this group, maybe folks we see at large cookouts or parties, but not necessarily people we would hang out with one on one. So that's kind of one of the unofficial rules we have made, I guess. Maybe you're a cool person, and we like you, and we see you once a month or so at the bar/gym/party/sporting event, but if we don't have a meaningful relationship where we hang out individually OR if we are always the ones to initiate, you aren't getting an invite. Don't feel just means you don't have to get us a gift. You're welcome.

Problem #3: Responding to someone who asks if they are getting an invitation. Surprisingly enough, not just etiquette-ignorant people do this! I always thought the folks who invited themselves were, like, twenty year old cousins who just wanted free booze, or your friend's brand new hoochey girlfriend who wants everyone to know "We're next!" But nope, perfectly respectable adults with advanced degrees ask this question. And while we should have employed Nancy Regan's brief but effective strategy, we may have just smiled with a slightly stunned look and mumbled something that possibly could have been interpreted as a "yes" but actually meant "We'll see."

These people might be added to the B List, which means one of two things. It might mean we like you but you are a new friend and/or because of life changes, we aren't sure we will still be friends in a few months. Or, it means we feel guilty nixing you completely, so we are going to put you on the B List in case we have room for you at a later point in time. If you think you might be in this situation, don't even worry about it and please...don't call us, we'll call you...maybe.
Problem #4: Responding to parents who want to invite people we have never heard mention of, ever, until now. We decided we didn't care who our parents invite. So far, they have been pretty  reasonable, although there are some names of people on there whom we have never met...or ever even heard mentioned. Some of the parents are contributing financially and others are not, and we are paying the difference. Whatever. We've got to pick our battles, and this is not one I feel like fighting.

Problem #5: Children. Ugh. Don't even get me started. We have yet to reach an agreement on this, but I am anti-children. I mean, anti-children at our wedding, not in general, obviously.

Right now our guest list is at 167, and we are not quite done yet. That is more than I would like, but what can we do? No really, I'm asking, what can we do?


  1. Our rules were pretty much the same. The only one I added, because my husband wanted to invite everyone he'd ever been friends with at any point in his life, was that if you haven't seen/phoned/emailed/texted the person more than once in the past year, they're off the list. Seriously, he wanted to (and still feels guilty about not) invite guys that he was "good friends with" in high school, but hasn't spoken to or seen since the 5-year reunion...10 years ago! And we went no children. Fully no children. Not even his brother's kids who his mom absolutely insisted should be there. Lines had to be drawn. You invite one kid, you've got to invite them all, ad we just couldn't afford that (nieces and nephews alone would've added a dozen to the gust list!). It's so complicated and politics are definitely at play!

  2. Even though we're still in early stages, one of the first things we did was put together a preliminary guest list to get an idea of how many people we'd be having.

    I could NOT believe how many people, close friends and family that is, that I totally skipped over the first few times! It's as though they are so obvious that you just skip right over them.. so I get it!

  3. This isn't going to make you feel better but our wedding is in 9 days, we already gave a final count and payment to our venue, and we are STILL having guest list changes. LOL.

    Our guest list debacle made me want to throw myself off a bridge. It was terrible.