The Atypical Bride-to-Be: The Guest List

Weddings really have a funny way of telling you who’s really important in your life. I think every bride can agree, finalizing a guest list is one of the most difficult steps in the wedding planning process. It turns you into one of two types of people: “the more the merrier” bride or the “we haven’t spoken in a year, so you can’t come” bride. Can we guess which one I am?

I’ve come up with a perfect solution to all of your guest list quandaries—it’s so simple you’ll be upset you didn’t think of it before. The answer is . . . ELOPE! Yup, that’s the only logical way to solve that conundrum. If you and your significant other never really argued before, here’s where it is bound to happen. Let me explain my predicament to give you some context.

If you’re new here, I never wanted a big wedding so when my fiancé decided on having one, I dreaded the guest list from the beginning. My family is HUGE, no exaggeration here—my mom is the youngest of 11 and my dad is the oldest of three. I’m very close with both sides of my family including aunts, uncles, first cousins, second cousins, play cousins, etc.

Before I even got a chance to add our friends and his family to the mix, my headcount was at 112 with my family alone. I was hoping that we would keep our final guest count at 125 max, but you see my dilemma. This is why I didn’t want a big wedding!

We had to create our guest list in phases. It works so I suggest trying it out. Phase one consisted of listing every person we would want to invite to the wedding if we had an unlimited budget. (It was a good laugh because that list was close to 250 people.) We waited a few weeks to think over the list before revisiting it again.

By the time we got to phase two, we knew our venue and knew how much we were budgeting for the reception, so we decided on an adult only reception (there are a lot of kids in our families) and that cut the number down drastically. We also made a contingency during this phase that if we hadn’t spoken to a person within the past year that they would get cut.

Phase three came when we were ready to send out the Save the Dates and we knew that we had to finalize the number. By the time we reached this point, we had chopped the list down to about 160. This is where the gloves came off. We had to try to be fair across the board—without special circumstances. For example, if we decided that one of his friends couldn’t get a plus one because he wasn’t in a serious relationship, the same rule applied to my friends. Fair enough, right?

After several hours of deliberating and calm discussions (who am I kidding, yelling), we finalized our guest list. I am a witness that it can be done.

Knowing what I know now, if I had to do it all over again. . . I’d elope.

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