One lazy Saturday afternoon, Faye and I went to separate corners of our “cozy” New York apartment (a.k.a. two feet apart) to make initial lists of family members and close friends.
The goal for our wedding guest list was 120 people. Not only would a group this size just fit inside the high end of our budget, but it also would be a big party without feeling too overwhelming. Perfect.
My first guest list was 163 people. I repeat, 163 people. As I’ve mentioned before, I have lived in three different cities (Chicago, Los Angeles and New York) and have been fortunate to become friends with a great many people along the way. But over 160?
Faye’s list was close to 140. She is lovely and outgoing and also has lived in many different places. She also has a pretty giant family – which raised her with one rule for parties, “the more the merrier.”
If my math serves me right, we were a tad over our goal of 120 guests. And we had yet to receive our parents’ lists. Our caterer told us that we should factor in a 30 percent “no” rate, but obviously we still had some major cuts to make. Deep ones.
Round one of cuts went as follows. I reclined on my “cozy New York” couch (I just sort of leaned sideways) with my eyes closed as Faye read the names off my list. My job was to picture each person not being invited to our wedding and whether I would feel “devastated” or “not too devastated” if they weren’t there on our big day.
The next round involved cutting people we had lost touch with over the years. If we hadn’t spoken to them in over two years, they were gone.
As I heard Faye’s pen scratching friends off my list, I felt sad and guilty. These were people I really liked and had been important in my life, but for different reasons we had lost touch over the years. I even cut a few relatives off the list because I hadn’t spoken to them in years.
Another decision we made to help trim the list was to not invite children. This was hard, because we love children. But the caterer had told us that they would count as a whole person and we just couldn’t afford to have them.
We also decided not to offer guests a slot for a “plus one.” If they had a significant other they were welcome, but no dates. We have plenty of single friends and we thought that this could actually make things fun. Give a singles vibe to the night. That’s a good vibe, right?
Our final decision was to not make any more friends. I am serious. We met this one couple a few months ago that we really liked. We made plans with them. Had a great time, and then we went out with them again. Just as we were about to ask them out again we realized they were becoming actual friends.
ME: Wait! Stop dialing! What if we are becoming good friends with them?
FAYE: Then we are going to have to invite them!
(Sound of phone hanging up)
This has been the hardest part about planning a wedding for me. I have a feeling it might be the source of any real regrets I will feel after. The simple fact remains –
we can’t invite everyone we want to our wedding, and it hurts.
Do you have any invitation list advice? How did you form your lists? Did you make any cuts that you later regretted? I would love to hear your ideas and horror stories (other people’s horror stories always seem to make me feel a tad better).
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