I knew that there would be aspects of planning a wedding that would be stressful. I figured lining everything up (venue, DJ, caterer, etc) ultimately would drive me insane. So far it hasn’t been that bad. But, there has been one thing that proved to be more stressful than I had anticipated. The guest list.
If I had my ideal wedding, it would be an open door policy. All our friends would know about it and they’d be able to stop in and celebrate for however long they would like to. But, that’s not how weddings work. And I just can’t afford to buy drinks for all those people anyway. So, I had to alter my vision.
My new vision of the guest list was going to be easy. I have six people in my family (not including me), so that’s simple. Then I have a few close friends from college that are like family. Add in our mutual/local friends and it should be a cakewalk. Boy, was I wrong.
Amanda has a huge family. I knew that, so it wasn’t a surprise when just about half our guest list was filled with family. Add in our friends and all of a sudden we were over our total number. How did this happen??? Going back into the list I noticed there were so many names that I didn’t recognize. And it wasn’t just me. Amanda was unfamiliar with quite a few that I put on there. That’s where the discussions began.
I wouldn’t say we fought over any names on the list, but there were some heated talks. I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t lose some sleep over these decisions. I figured if there were people on the list that I had never heard of, why were they invited to the wedding? We’ve been together for over five years. That seems like a long enough time to at least hear mentions of all family members. But Amanda pointed out that there were a few of my friends from college and home that were unknown to her. That’s the trouble with being a Baltimore transplant. Neither of us grew up or went to school in Baltimore, so there are a lot of people in our lives that have never set foot in Charm City.
How do you trim down the list without hurting anyone’s feelings? There’s no perfect answer to that question, but I had an idea.
We have two friends that used to throw the most epic pool party every summer. They would have so much food, drinks and even the Gypsy Queen food truck would stop by. It was the party you always hoped to get an invite to. One year there were a few of the regular invitees missing. I asked our friends if those people couldn’t make it. They said the party had become too big with new friends, and friends of their son, who was now in elementary school. They had to make a decision about cutting back the list. Their general rule of thumb became if a person had reached out to them, or hung out with them, within the year since the last party that person got an invite. If they hadn’t seen you in a year, you weren’t invited. That made sense to me, and it was a philosophy that I kind of used when shrinking our wedding guest list.
It broke my heart to drop a few close friends from college off the list. But, realistically, I hadn’t spoken to some of them since I moved to Maryland in 2007. I will always consider them good friends, but I didn’t think I needed them on the wedding list. Amanda did the same with some of her distant relatives. Some of the second or third cousins that she hadn’t seen since that one Christmas in 2006 ended up getting cut off the list. We are pretty social people, so there are plenty of friends that we see in social settings. But they don’t call us up on a Saturday to grab a drink. More names came off.
I’ve said this in previous blog posts: we really want this wedding to be about us and what we want. Amanda and I have heard too many stories from good friends about how they regretted not doing what they wanted for their own wedding. It doesn’t make me feel good to omit some people from the guest list, but it’s what we need to do in order to have the day we want. Hopefully those people that were left off will understand.