The dreaded guest list.
I grew up in church. A large church. A church that, in it’s heyday, was 500+ people on a Sunday, 1000+ people on the rolls. Those numbers have dwindled (my parents are still members), but it is going strong at 300+ on Sunday and 500+ on the rolls. When my oldest sister got married, my parents paid for it. She wanted it (mostly) her way, though, so it was in Sarasota, outside, lovely…200+ in attendance. I can’t even NAME 200 people I talk to in a year (well I can, if I count the credit card people, bank people, plane reservation people, etc).
My second sister got married (I am the youngest). A guest list of over 300, a blanket invitation to the church population in the bulletin, luckily, in August, most people were on vacation. I think only 150+ turned out for hers.
My brother’s first wedding is hazy, but it was huge and in South Carolina.
What I remember most about these weddings, is not knowing people even my PARENTS knew. I want to know, furthermore, remember the people at my wedding. Yes, wedding days are stressful and, often, a bride or groom may be in a haze anyway. A haze, coupled with a 300 guest wedding = no remembrance of a soul who was there.
We are paying for ours (*cough* my fiance is paying, I have about $100 to my name). Paying allows us ultimate guest list control. Now, we do want to make some concessions for my parents, but those will be two couples, at the most. How do you cut your list? Again, Sara over at the 2000 wedding is right. She and her fiance had laid out goals, and one of them was:
“We will have real time to spend with guests. We want to be able to spend quality time with our friends and family. We don’t want to follow the traditional pattern of a few wedding ‘events’ where the bride and groom only have time for a ‘meet and greet’: rehearsal dinner, reception, brunch the following morning. We want more of a family and friends reunion.” (Read more about this here).
Part of our guest issues will be simple: I grew up in Florida, the wedding is in New York. It will be difficult for people to fly and pay for a hotel. That’s a high cost. Then we approach other problems: friends who were good friends once, but now we see once a year? Friends who we never see anymore, but chat to via FB once in a while? Friends who invited us and our parents to their weddings, or friends whose weddings we were in, but now never talk to? We don’t want to offend anyone, but this is HARD! At the end of the day, it comes down to cost. We are paying about $50 a head. Some people will just have to go.
My mother says to invite whomever because lots of people won’t be able to make it. Yeah. I am not banking on that one. Some people would love an excuse to be in New York.
And, like Sara says, I want to spend TIME with my guests, especially if they flew in from out-of-town. I want to sit and chat and have a whole conversation. New York is not the kind of place where wedding “weekends” happen (at least, not for those of us with limited cash). Jonathan and I can’t have a rehearsal “dinner” or next morning “brunch”. We can’t organize a game of some ilk. We can give people suggestions of what to do, but, in a lot of ways, getting married in New York City will already BE non-traditional (my experience with weddings is in the South…with golf games and brunches and lunches for the ladies and brunches the next day and…you get the idea).
Part of the problem is solved by this: we are having a cake and punch reception at my parents church in Fl which EVERYONE is invited to. EVERYONE. All…400+ people my mother can come up with. But, again, what about New York? This next year will be very interesting, as we meet new people, lose some friends (I mean, as we all drift, which happens every year), older relatives die. I mean, if I had gotten married when I was 23, this list would be very different looking! So it will be interesting to see how it evolves. I take someone off and add someone on weekly. (We’re holding steady at 116 expected guests).
I have totally digressed, I get it. I suppose this is my point: someone I was very close to once got married recently. My feelings weren’t hurt that I wasn’t invited. We had drifted. Simple as that. The pictures were lovely, the wedding seemed fun, but we aren’t the friends we were. Just in the past year. I guess the answer is that I do NOT have to invite everyone who ever invited me and neither does Jonathan. Guests lists will evolve as will our relationships. They are nothing more than a reflection of where we are at the point in our life.
So, not everyone will get an invitation. Few will be offended. It will be fine. I can stop stressing.