Hey Brides and Grooms!
If you’re newly engaged (or about to be), keep these tips in mind as you create your guest list. Kendra knows what she’s talking about!
So you’re getting married, you’re excited! You even have THE perfect gown picked out. All that’s left to do is nail down that blasted guest list. Sounds simple enough, right?
Just create a spreadsheet of everyone you love and who YOU would enjoy seeing on your special day. Don’t think about who wants to be there as the first priority. The problem with that approach (trying to avoid hurt feelings) is you’re probably writing too many names of people who don’t belong at your wedding! The phrase “the more, the merrier” definitely does not apply to your wedding guest list.
Realistically, if I were getting married, I’d have to invite my four sisters, both parents, six aunts and uncles from my mother’s side, eight aunts and uncles from my father’s side, and about 20 cousins (yes, that’s first cousins). Now, I’m up about 40 people, and we haven’t even counted my friends, my sorority sisters, or the groom’s family and their guest list (yes, they get invited too). I’m exhausted just thinking about it and I’m not even engaged yet.
So what’s a bride or groom to do? It’s an easy answer that’s hard to do – you have to narrow down your list. That girl you barely talk to but “must invite” because you invited her best friend – no. Delete. Your third cousin, once-removed, whom you haven’t seen since you were eight – I don’t think so. You don’t have to invite everyone you’ve ever met or everyone whose wedding you attended in the past 15 years.
Ditch the crowd. I know it sounds kind of mean, but they’ll understand if they are reasonable people. If they’re unreasonable, be doubly glad you didn’t invite them. In the end, you’ll be glad you cut the list the way you did. You shouldn’t have to be responsible for looking after a large number of people on a day you’re supposed to be celebrating. While a good wedding planner will lessen your load, the reality is that the guests all clamor for YOUR attention. A groom at a previous wedding spent much of his time worrying about how his guests were doing, instead of enjoying his beautiful reception with his new wife.
We all have friends who get a little too carried away when they start drinking. They think they have a handle on things, and before you know it, they’re running around your wedding reception in their underpants. At a recent wedding, the groom’s father stripped down to his nitty-gritties, and completely embarrassed the wedding couple (looked extra special when he got out of the pool and stood at the bar and danced in his underwear, I assure you). The larger the group, the harder they are to control. Yes, it’s true that these little incidents can happen even at a smaller wedding. But the chances are lessened when your group shrinks. Believe me, 40 drunks are easier to herd than 75.
Massive budget woes can be avoided, too, by cutting your list. By inviting those extra people you’ve actually caused yourself a disservice. It costs money to feed those people. More people, more money. If you know you don’t have a large budget, you can easily condense the spending by condensing the list.
Quite a few couples choose to have Caribbean destination weddings for a reason. They don’t want a large, way-over-budget celebration at home when they could have three times the activities and fun with a smaller group on Vieques. We do monster weddings too – Sandy’s topped 200 on a couple of occasions. But if your goal is to skip the whole “to-do” back home, why would you invite them all to come to the island? Hoping a lot of people RSVP “no” is a dangerous budget game. Have the more intimate Caribbean wedding and consider a low-key reception back home months later if you’re worried about hurt feelings. Thirty years from now, you probably won’t even remember who-all attended a big wedding unless you pull out the photo album. You will, however, remember special moments you and your significant other shared together when you weren’t trying to corral your drunk crew like frogs into a wheelbarrow.
So start the list with your fiancé – sometimes looking at it grow at Mach speed together helps you both put the brakes on your parents’ well-intended additions (you don’t have to invite everyone from their neighborhood). Ask yourself who is a “friend” and who is someone that you were friends with. Being “friends” on Facebook or occasionally interacting on Twitter definitely doesn’t mean you have to invite them to your wedding. And ignore any snarky remarks your friends post asking where their invites are, and avoid posting too much about your wedding in advance. Remember, there are password-protected free wedding websites for that, as well as Facebook event pages that allow you to control access. While you aren’t obligated to invite anybody you don’t want to invite, you should demonstrate your own taste and class by not rubbing their noses in it.