At first, you pictured a cozy little wedding reception
At first, you pictured a cozy little wedding reception with your closest family and friends. You had it all figured out, exactly who you would be inviting and the great time that you will all have. You can already see it in your mind.
But somehow, due to influences beyond your control, your wedding invitation list is growing faster than a California Wildfire! It seems that every day your list balloons at the rate of the Federal Deficit, with no end in sight!
Where does the madness end?
With Wedding Invitation Control…
The following are ten general guidelines or tips for keeping your invitation list down to a manageable size. Some of these tips may apply to you, some may not. Some may seem more useful to you than others, but that is alright, use the ones that apply to your situation or suit your needs; simply disregard the rest.
Tip #1: Be Firm But Fair
If your parents want to invite twenty friends, your fiancé’s parents should be allowed to do so as well. Although you may feel like you should have the lion’s share for your family and friends, give up a few slots for them, especially if they are footing some or all of the bill! It’s only fair…
Tip #2: Skip the “…And Guest” Invitations
Single guests with no long term commitment, whether they are family or not, should not rate a free date. Do you really want a complete stranger, that you may or may not ever see again, at your wedding?
Tip #3: Inviting Coworkers
Just because you work with them and eat lunch with them, does not necessarily mean that you should invite them to your wedding too. A good rule of thumb is this: Do you spend time with them on the weekends?
If you spend some of your leisure time with them other then for work related tasks or projects, then you may wish to consider inviting them. Otherwise, save those precious slots for your family and friends.
Tip #4: Babysitter Or Not?
No matter how you tackle this sticky issue, be consistent. Sure kids are cute and fun to include, but they also require adults to keep an eye on them and it is not always practical to have them participate in some of the events activities. A good rule of thumb may be: Children under 13 years of age to a babysitter or daycare. You will also want to give the parents of these little tykes the heads up before the invitations are sent out, so that it lessens the possibility of a negative reaction from your decision.
Of course, an alternative to this may be giving consideration to having a “daycare” in an adjacent room if many of your guests have young children or will be traveling long distance to celebrate your special day. If you have some responsible teenagers attending, they may help reduce the overall need for adult supervision.
Tip #5: Warning Sorority Sisters Ahead!
Talk about a loaded gun, this situation has more potential for undue drama than most soap operas! Watch out for those contingency or with strings attached invitations. If you have to invite two, three or even ten more people because you invited one from a particular group, scratch them all off of the list. It is far better to have fun on your special day, then fearing repercussions from the rest of the “gang” later.
Tip #6: Choose Your Battles Wisely
Congratulations! You just won the battle… but you lost the war!
You may have won the heated argument over inviting your great Auntie Mildred, but if you and another family member are not on speaking terms now because of it, you just lost the war. It may just be better to concede some slots and keep the peace, than having the additional stress or bad blood ruining your special day. As if planning your wedding day isn’t stressful enough?!
This ties in directly with Tip #1. Planning something as big and as important as a wedding can be rather stressful at times, if not downright completely insane. Keep a cool head even when you feel like everyone else around you, has lost theirs.
Tip #7: Guests With Their Own Agendas?
One problem you may face, is when you send out invitations for two people and you get a reply for more than the original two back. Don’t let this slip by you… take control of the situation by getting on the phone immediately and explain that space is limited. Otherwise, you allow others to control who shows up at your wedding.
Tip #8: Your Guest List Is Still Too Big?
Divide your guest list into two categories. Create a Priority List or “A” List, that should consist of those guests you must have attending (immediate families, close friends, etc.). Now create a Secondary List or “B” List, that should consist of those that fall into the “It would be nice to have them” (friends your haven’t seen in a while, distant cousins that you were close to, etc.) category.
After you send out your invitations and someone from the Priority or “A” List sends their regrets, you may then fill that empty slot with someone from the Secondary or “B” List. To accomplish this without it appearing as a last minute invitation, send out invitations to your Priority / “A” List guests approximately three or four months in advance. As you receive the regrets, start sending invitations to your “B” List guests.
Tip #9: RSVP By…
A really good rule of thumb is to have all of your guests RSVP eight to twelve weeks prior to your big day. This gives ample time for your delinquent guests to give you the “Yay or Nay” and so you can give your caterer the most accurate head count. Also, you will find that as many as 25-30% of your guests may send their regrets (especially if your reception falls on or around a holiday weekend).
This will give you plenty of time to go through all of the responses. As you receive regrets, then you may keep going back to the “B” List to invite some more people.
Tip #10: When All Else Fails…
If push comes to shove and you just cannot cut the list down to a more manageable size, you can always pull the plug on the big affair and keep it small and very personal. You can always have a small reception for your immediate families and close friends, take the honeymoon and relax, then have a low-key informal party for everyone when you get back.
While this is definitely not very traditional, it is a solution that more and more couples are opting for these days. Still more couples are opting for destination weddings, where they have their ceremony in a very remote or exotic location, then have the big shin-dig when they get back home.