Post # 1
Let me start out by saying that I’m not COMPLAINING, it’s just taken me by surprise.
We had originally planned to have a somewhat small wedding, max 50 people.
I finally got around to entering my fi’s family into the address database, and we are currently at 103 people. I haven’t even finished adding the rest of my family [only a few to go], and haven’t even touched my father’s side of the family.
I think when all is said and done, we’re looking about inviting 150+ people.
The good news :
Our reception venue seats 300, so we’re safe on that.
The bad news :
We might not get to all all the “extras” due to limited space. Which means no poker tables, possibly no photo booth.
Did your list keep growing and growing and growing? How did you cope?
And, does anyone have any ideas for activities that can be done, outside when it could quite possibly be cold outside [lower 60’s weather].
I wonder if there is a travelling fun house or something we could get…
Post # 3
@jenilynevette: Aww, yeah, it happens. We had intended for 100 and ended up with a guest list of 200. Luckily, our final headcount was 153 so it wasn’t horrible. You’ll play around with budget and give/take in places and i promise it’ll be okay! 🙂
Post # 4
I estimated 250, when I got everyone’s lists it was close to 450 and we still had more we wanted if there was room. Still working on cuts to drop it down to 325. It’s miserable
Post # 5
A construction company makes sure they have road-graders, steam-shovels, sheeps-foot packers and asphalt rollers, before they start planning to build a highway. Hostesses really need to make sure they have their hospitality infrastructure in place before they start planning parties for multiple dozens of guests. A hostess’s most basic tool is a visiting book.
I do not care at all whether you keep your visiting-book in a nice leather-bound paper journal, a cloud-based contact list, or a spreadsheet on your desktop, but you need to have one, and it needs to include a few special items in the “notes” section that most contact lists do not have:
- you MUST keep your social contacts and your work contacts separate.
- you must make an entry for every household you know socially, and include their snail-mail address and the proper formal titles (Mr, Mrs, Ms, Mme, Dr, whatever …) of all household members
- Also include the informal names of all household members
- make a note of the relationship of each entry: “Mother’s friend”, “maternal aunt”, “first cousins” and so on
- Make a note every time you visit them or send them a note or card or gift, and every time you receive them, or a note or card or gift.
There is a decent chance that your mother and mother-in-law are already doing this, having had an extra quarter-century or so on you in which to learn that not tracking these things is a mistake. But only a decent chance, since social entertaining has been in decline for at least a quarter century. There is a very good chance that your grandmothers have such a list.
Then, when you start planning a major inter-familial celebration, you go call on the other lady heads of the families involved, and spend an afternoon with each one(preferably over tea, scones, and cucumber sandwiches) copying the information out of her visiting book into yours, for any connection close enough to be even considered for a wedding invitation. Finally, with your bulging merged visiting-book in hand, YOU (as hostess) sort all the entries according relationship from most-close to most-distant, count up the number you can fit into your party, draw the line at the appropriate place, and send out the invitations.
All of which is to say, if you are a bee-in-waiting or just a curious lurker, you should start putting together your visiting book NOW while there is no urgency, so that you will indeed be prepared when you are called upon to host something bigger than a Friday night potluck.
Post # 6
We were at 85 and are now at 116 and are still trying to gather a few addresses so we will be around 120. Oops! At least it will be fun!
Post # 7
My sister got married about a year before us so we were able to use her guest list as a good basis for ours. We just removed his family and their friends and added ours. I kept thinking “we don’t have that many friends” but it turns out, we are just as popular as my sister!
Remember that even if you invite 150, it is highly unlikely that everyone will come. If your venue seats 300, you should still have PLENTY of room for all the fun stuff. Photobooths take up no room at all and if you have all of those extras, you can have a smaller dance floor.
Post # 8
I had really wanted to keep it below 200, had it firm in my mind that we were not inviting more than that. Which was totally fine if we only invited family, friends, and people I actually know. Parents sent us their final lists and now it is well above 250. All sorts of “family friends” and co-workers that neither FI or myself know. But the parents are paying so we can’t say no. A good amount of these people we know for sure will not attend but it’s still way more than I expected.
Post # 9
@aspasia475: Aspasia, please know that I mean this in a very nice way as I do think it is important to have everything you need before you set wedding plans in stone. Here in the US we usually call them address books.
I am a fan of an older British comedy, “Keeping Up Appearances” and as I was reading your post I suddenly found myself reading it with Hyacinth Bucket’s (or Bouquet…..) voice in my head. It is still syndicated here in the US on PBS. Poor Richard…….
Post # 10
@jenilynevette: Haha YES!!
Our list went from 102- intentionally cut to 65. Than slowly- one by one, my mother kept adding people, FI forgot 4 people, FI’s sister practically forced us to ask 4 other people (who brought 8!!!)— and part of it was that I felt it was out of my hands. The part is, it didn’t feel like that many people. So we went from (this just updated the other day so I had my head on straight)- a total of 112 invited, 92 are coming. 4 of those were uninvited guests, and 10 people- we absolutely new beforehand were not/could not come- but we sent invites to them because we wanted them to know that we would have liked for them to be there. But they were out of towners/across seas- and they knew before invites even went out they couldn’t come.
I stressed out about it pretty bad a couple weeks ago. But I’m getting married in less than a week (and I’m sick in bed!), so I’m not upset at it anymore.
Post # 11
Thanks for all the replies ladies! Seemed like such a big deal to me last night – perhaps I was over thinking it.
A big problem with me trying to figure out WHO to invite is that much of my family has never had a family reunion or any type of large get together – ever! So we’re going by who we can remember, and who others can remember. It’s like we’re building our family tree all over again!
I will for sure keep all the addresses to everyone, but getting them seems to be the problem.
I’m glad to know that I’m not alone [with a guest list blowing out of control!]
Post # 12
@jenilynevette: I have a guest list started and right now it is at 50…which was originally our max number. But we actaully have the space for many more and FI keeps inviting people by word of mouth…so I don’t have a clue what we are up to in reality. He is not ready to give me his guest list yet but I told him after Christmas I need it stat to order our invitations. I think we will be close to 80…ish…
Post # 13
At least your venue can fit them! My cousin had to “uninvite” people because she booked a venue that could not hold everyone. She hadn’t sent out her formal invitations yet, but used word of mouth to see who would be ok with not getting an invite when it was assumed that they would. I’m not that close with her so I didn’t mind volunteering to skip it, but some family members were pretty hurt.
Post # 14
“Then, when you start planning a major inter-familial celebration, you go call on the other lady heads of the families involved, and spend an afternoon with each one(preferably over tea, scones, and cucumber sandwiches) copying the information out of her visiting book into yours, for any connection close enough to be even considered for a wedding invitation.”
With respect and despite coming from the sort of family that could give the inhabitants of Downton Abbey a run for their money, can I just say that this truly wonderful suggestion would be much more achievable and realiistic if this was 1913 rather than 2013. As a spoof suggestion it is even more wonderful however!
Post # 15
@Steampunkbride: I would think that in most cases, merging visiting books/contact lists should be MORE feasible in 2013, since you should be able to electronically export a contact list to a CSV file and simply hand over a USB stick. That does alas have the disadvantage that it greatly reduces the chances of getting tea and cucumber sandwiches out of the transaction.
But are you telling me that you really have not ever seen one of us older chatelaine types, paging through a register once a year carefully ticking off who did or did not send a Christmas card, so as to have a record next year as to whom we should drop from the card list? And adding little notes when babies get added to various household groupings, so as to have a clue eighteen years from now whose graduation announcement it is that we are getting? I understand that many younger women may not yet have succumbed to the necessity of writing down such details, but surely you have seen or heard of other old fogeys beside me making such notes?
Post # 16
@jenilynevette: We had planned for 120 and ended up invited 160 (with 130 showing up). My MIL gave me a list of 11 people that HAD to be invited literally three weeks before the wedding. I was pretty annnoyed especially considering I had asked all along for input from her and anyone else on DH’s side of the family and people to not be missed.