Does this sound familiar to you? One of the hardest parts of wedding planning for us has been the guest list. Deciding who makes the cut and who doesn't isn't as easy as it sounds. Sure, there are the absolute yeses that are no brainers, but there's a whole lot of gray area while writing up the wedding guest list, too.
Since we are having a destination wedding and a celebration at home, it meant coming up with two guest lists. The wedding guest list wasn't too hard. We had a limit of 21 people, including us, due to our venue restrictions. (More on that later.) We decided to invite our parents, Drew's brother, my grandparents (Drew's grandparents are no longer with us.) and very close friends.
Originally we had 25 guests on the list for the wedding and had to cut 4 guests. My grandparents let us know right way that they wouldn't be attending since they think Hawaii is too hot. (What?) I was crushed they wouldn't be at the wedding, but on the plus side it meant only having to figure out two other people to cut from the list. Hey, I was trying to see the bright side of the situation. I would have much rather had my grandparents at my wedding then an easier time with our guest list. At least I'll get to celebrate with them at our celebration at home.
That meant we had to cut two friends. At first it wasn't easy deciding which two people to cut. We kept debating over it and didn't know who to cut. Then something happened and as a result two people that were on the list ended up cutting themselves. I was disappointed in what went down and how those people reacted, but in the end we found out who are true friends are. Yeah, looking at the bright side, again.
Once we had our wedding guest list all figured out, we needed to look at making our guest list for our Portland celebration. Now for those of you who don't know, Drew and I both have really big families. Lots of aunts, uncles, cousins and extended cousins. We also have a lot of friends. This made for a HUGE guest list. Bigger than we wanted, could afford or would fit at Knotty Cakes Ranch.
Since this is our wedding and not our parents', families' or friends' wedding we had to really take a look at who we wanted to celebrate with. We had to take another look at our list and make some notes to help us narrow it down. We wanted our guests to be people who would make the day special and as fun as possible. Not people we felt like we had to invite even through we didn't really have any connection with them.
First we looked at which friends we were wanting to invite. We thought about which of our friends would really appreciate being there and would be happy for us. We cut the rest.
No, it wasn't that easy. We went back and forth on some. Like those we use to be closer to or grew up with, but really we didn't have much of a connection with them anymore. The ones that were the hardest were the ones that are still close friends with some of our other friends. At first, we wanted to be nice and not exclude them. But, in the end we realized they weren't really people that would be happy for us.
Will it make it uncomfortable when we see the people we didn't invite? We don't think so. It's not like we've had a good conversation with them for years. We didn't send them holiday cards this year, we don't post on their Facebook pages and we don't call or email them. I think that pretty much says it all on not needing to invite them. These aren't people that need an invitation to our wedding.
Next we looked at if we had to invite everyone with a date or not. Inviting everyone with a date can quickly make your numbers add up by leaps and bounds. Honestly, we didn't have any interest in paying for someone to attend our wedding celebration that we don't even know. We have some friends who are dating someone new every week. We don't have any connection to their dates and don't want to pay for them. It also went back to if their date would appreciate being there and being happy for us. Umm, no. How could they be when we don't even know them. We cut all plus ones.
Sure some people may put up a bit of a fight when they learn that there are no plus ones, but it goes back to this being our wedding. Not their wedding. We are very clearly drawing the line with everyone at plus ones. It's very cut and dry across the board. It doesn't matter if they are friends or family.
When Drew and I had been dating for three months he was invited to one of his cousins' weddings and I didn't think twice about him not having a plus 1. It's only been three months and they didn't even know us. And guess what? I was even "the one" for Drew. But, why would someone invite another to their wedding that they didn't even know?
Last we took a look at family. I'm not talking close family. I'm talking, "If I invite this cousin, then I must invite all the cousins" trap. Don't fall for this one. This is the one Drew had the hardest time with. He had cousins he had visits with when he was younger, but hasn't seen for years. Let alone even talked to them for years. It wasn't like any of them were inviting Drew to their weddings. Did we have to invite them to ours?
Once I pointed out that as a child I use to see my Gramma's sister's children and grandchildren at all the holidays, but hadn't seen any of them in over 15 years and didn't put a single one of them on our guest list Drew changed his mind on inviting all distant cousins. Relationships change. Who you think you will invite to your wedding at 5 aren't the same people you actually end up inviting.
In the end we had a much smaller guest list. One that would fit at our home. One that we could afford. And most important, one that was filled with those that we share our lives with, bring us happiness and will continue to do so beyond our wedding day.
Well, ok. Maybe we left a few people on the list that we wanted to cut, but felt an obligation to invite. But, we will never tell....
How hard was it for you to come up with your wedding guest list? Did you and your fiance have any struggles when deciding who to invite?