The guest list has probably been the biggest point of contention throughout this process. And maybe contention isn’t even the right word. It has just been really difficult to narrow down the people in our lives to those who would be invited to our wedding.
Here are some facts:
For a while I was going with the 20% rule, which meant we aimed to invite 150. The more I thought about it and talked to people, though, the more I realized this wasn’t going to work for us. Combine destination wedding with being forced to invite family I haven’t seen since I was a toddler, and we decided we should plan on a 30% decline rate.
Before the breakdown, let me summarize. Seeing this written out is very surprising. I cannot believe I am inviting 19 family members. I have seven family members—mother, sister, brother, grandmother, aunt, uncle, sister-in-law. That’s it. No cousins, no nephews, no anything. So how did I end up inviting 19 “family members”? Well, my mother was very offended when I told her this was all I was planning on inviting. She wanted me to invite her cousins and a few others I’m sure I have either never met or wouldn’t recognize if they bumped into me on the street. One of my general wedding requirements is that I did not want to be introduced to someone on my wedding day—someone whose dinner I was paying for, someone whose drinks were flowing on my tab, someone whose escort card I stressed over, someone who I would probably never see again. There are very, very few people on our list who I couldn’t spot on the street—a few of Mr. B’s friends and colleagues and then over half of my “family.”
I get that it is important to be surrounded by your loved ones on your wedding day and for a lot of people this includes a big family. For me, it doesn’t. It means being with my friends—people I see or at least talk to on a weekly basis. People I go to happy hour with. People whose birthdays I celebrate. It just pained me to have to remove some of my friends to make room for these family members. I know I may sound bratty, but it would be a different story if I were close to them or if my family were contributing even a morsel. But I’m not and they aren’t, so I should be able to celebrate with whom I want to, right? Right. Thanks for indulging me.
Without further delay, here is the breakdown.
Originally I wanted to be right at 120, even though this would lead to an expensive and overcrowded reception. The more I think about it, the more OK I am with less guests than that there. I would rather have a smaller reception with less tables than invite people to fill seats. I am still very nervous too many people will decide to come, but usually the sane part of my brain takes over and I realize this will not be the case. (Has anyone dealt with more people attending than they planned?)
We ended up with 160 people on our list, as follows.
|Mr. B Family||12|
|Miss B Family||19|
|Mr. B Friends||43|
|Miss B Friends||44|
It is also surprising to me that we have very similar numbers for each of our friends and combined friends. I’m sure if I were to show Mr. B this list he would say certain people should be in other columns, but it would be impossible for us to agree on everyone. A lot of our “combined” friends started as mine but now I think of them as ours. He probably thinks a lot of his friends are combined friends. I think some of my friends are/should be combined friends, but I don’t think he would agree. So I broke it down the best I could and I am really quite surprised by the results.
I know it is common to be forced to invite people you don’t want, but when I am paying for it and I have to remove people who are actually in my life, it just makes it tough to swallow. Has anyone out there experienced anything similar? Am I making a huge mistake expecting at least a 30% decline rate?