I know I have yet to reveal our amazing venue, and I’ll get to that soon, I promise, but something happened along the way that changed everything…
I mentioned previously that Mr. Waterfall and I had originally intended to pay for the wedding ourselves, and seeing how he works in the public sector and I was in grad school at the time, we knew we couldn’t really afford too much.
While looking at venues, we were simultaneously drafting our initial guest list. We figured we could invite 100 people and split the guest list down the middle, 50 for his side, and 50 for mine. Seemed simple enough, and we would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for those meddling parents!
You see, we had asked my parents to compile their own wish list of guests, and were shell-shocked to find that their list alone contained over 160 people!
Any budget-savvy bride will tell you that the key to saving money is simply keeping the guest list small. Well, if my parents had their way, everybody and their sister would have gotten an invite to this wedding. I get that weddings are celebrations for the families as much as they are for the bride and groom. I mean, it’s their only daughter’s wedding, of course Mami and Papi Waterfall are incredibly excited about it and want to spread the joy around like a fungus, but still…
Step 1: Denial
Nah…they MUST be joking…they can’t actually have 160 people…can they? CAN THEY???
Step 2: Anger
This part was not pretty…and I wish I could tell y’all that I handled it like a mature, composed grownup, but really, it was probably a lot closer to a scene from TLC’s Toddlers and Tiaras…
One hundred and sixty people on their list…on THEIR list?!?!
Image via ragefac.es
Step 3: Bargaining
To be fair, a lot of the people were in my extended family, and we always assumed they would be on the list, we just hadn’t done the math. However, there was no way that we could possibly have 260 people at this wedding. Most venues we had been looking at didn’t even hold that many people; our church, for one, most definitely did not…
So, we had to do a LOT of bargaining and a LOT of compromising.
Mr. Waterfall and I had a sit down with my parents and pored over the list. We simply explained to them that we had a certain vision for the wedding and were not willing to compromise on that vision in order to accommodate more people. Less is more; quality over quantity. You get the point.
Next, we started cutting anybody who warranted the question “Who’s that, again?” Sorry folks, but to make the cut, you have to at least know the bride or groom.
We also thought it would be helpful to break it down into cost. Once you realize how much each person costs, you’re a lot more likely to view them as a nonessential guest and cut them! We followed this up by kindly letting my parents know that we could only afford 100 people, and that if they insisted on superfluous guests, they would have to foot the bill.
This is the part where we got a big surprise! We figured once we did this, my parents would suddenly back off and start cutting peeps left and right, but instead they said OK.
Turns out they had been planning on contributing all along, so we figured out the exact amount, and they basically doubled our budget! YAY!
Which brings me to my next point: COMMUNICATE! It’s really important before establishing a budget to know who is pitching in and for how much. This also helps prevent nasty surprises when you just take for granted certain people are going to be contributing and then find out that’s not the case. For instance, Mr. W’s mom has a much more precarious financial situation, so we won’t be expecting her to contribute, and that’s OK!
Step 4: Depression
Sigh. Well, it looks like we’re having a lot more people than originally anticipated…
Step 5: Acceptance
At the end of the day, we want to make everybody happy, and if inviting a few extra people makes Mami & Papi Waterfall happy, then it’s really a small sacrifice, especially since they are so generously contributing to make this day a dream come true for us.
How did you handle people’s guest-list demands?