This might sound a little silly, but the one thing that gives me more worry than anything else wedding wise is not balancing my peanut butter addiction with fitting into my wedding dress; but the guest list.
The fucking, sodding guest list.
In the past, my dream wedding was to have a small registry office affair and then head to the pub for drinks. What this dream didn’t factor in was falling in love with a man who had a larger circle of friends than myself and a large family; who liked tradition and wanted people to help us celebrate. He argued (quite rightly) that our mothers would love to be included; as would our close friends, and I agreed we would probably regret not having a bash.
After we got engaged we spoke to the Ns, newly married. Gorgeous, sociable, and highly pragmatic people, they were cut and dried about their wedding guest list which they kept to a demure number; less than 100. ‘If we hadn’t caught up with that person in a year, we didn’t invite them. Simple as that. You can’t invite everyone’, says Mrs N.
For us, the crux of the matter was that we met at the ages of 32 and 36; at such a time as we had friendship groups firmly established (mine runs to several countries). The Ns had, in fairness, been together for 10 years, and in those 10 years their friendship groups may have merged a little, as often happens. But for us, things were just slightly trickier. This, coupled with my fear of upsetting or offending any friends we have, makes for some worry.
I don’t have a big family, most of them are in NZ or the UK; but BBF’s family is comprised of many close uncles, aunts and cousins. And then there are the friends of my parents and my in-laws – people I couldn’t imagine getting married without. I got even more worried when the initial guest list, including every friend we would like at our nuptials, came to something in region of 160. Far too many to fit into venue, or indeed, pay for.
So it emerged that we were going to need to do a bit of slashing and burning. Clearly, I ran to sis for support (sister, the poor darling, also has a formal title on event day, and she is very very good at placating my frazzled nerves.)
‘Bridge, people really don’t care. And if they do (and therefore make your wedding about them) then they really are…kind of an asshole. If a friend of yours who you had a beer with say, once every 2-3 months, was getting married – would you expect an invitation? Don’t take this the wrong way, but people don’t care that much about other peoples’ weddings. And we all understand these days that when you invite someone you are paying $100+ for them to eat and get pissed and that is a whole heap of money’.
Another friend, B, offered a similar opinion. ‘You cannot invite everyone. You can’t. Fact. You would if you could, but it’s unrealistic. Unfortunately it means creating a rank of people, it’s not personal against particular people it’s just prioritising who you are in contact with OR more close with.
Take, (couple we know), they are your friends, you have a great time when you are together, but you simply can’t include them. Their manners are such that they would wish you the very best for your special day and not at all begrudge you for having no invite. And that is how everyone should be.’
BBF and I had some discussions. And came up with the following to assist in our decision making:
1. Co-workers – BBF and I each have one on either side that we regularly socialise with outside the office, and that’s it;
2. Children – blanket ‘no’ on this apart from very small ones that will need to be with mums (it’s an adult venue, not an English country church wedding, and just no.)
3. Teenagers – we have one, the bestman’s daughter, who is superb;
4. Plus ones (unless we know them) – blanket ‘no’, to keep numbers manageable (and when I was single I never got a plus one either)
See? We can be pragmatic after all. We now have a guest list that is more manageable, and even assuming we will have a few RSVP regrets, we will have a lovely group of people to celebrate the day with.
So, my advice to anyone having similar pre-wedding anxiety? It is probably worth remembering you get married at a certain time on your life and at that particular time you are close friends / whatever with whomever. At the end of the day, it’s a celebration of two people. And all that shit. I’m sure guilt will abate in time.
There’s only one person I am worried about – not that I would cull her. B, who offered in the postscript to her email above: ‘But if you cull me, watch your back.’
*just this post.