Post # 1
We will be getting married in November of 2014. Most of my family and many of my friends are out of town. We are getting married in San Diego, and I have friends in Los Angeles, friends and family in NorCal (8-10 hour drive), and family in Hawaii, Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, North Carolina, and New York. Right now I have 190 people on the list (and that includes ALL family (even 3rd cousins) and all friends I might want to invite). I am fairly positive that most local guests will attend, but most of the guest list is OOT and it’s hard to predict (85% of the guest list if OOT- is that high? It seems high to me).
I would like 100-125 to attend (and couldn’t afford much more than that). Also, another added logistical difficulty is that my only sister is getting married 6 months before me. I am expecting fewer OOT family members to be able to attend my wedding because they may not be able to afford to fly out twice in one year (which is totally understandable). It’s such a crap shoot, I can’t begin to guess who will be able to come! I’ve heard 20% will likely not attend- that would leave us with 152- which would be $2,500 in food than we budgeted, but we could make it work. But if 190 people come then we might be in trouble- the people would fit, but it would be WAAY over budget! But that seems pretty unlikely-I’m not sure some of my older relatives can travel and fly anymore. I’m actually a little worried we may not have enough guests for our guest minimum- it’s either 100 or 125, and that would be such a waste of money! I’m thinking A and B lists and waves of invites are my only hope?
Any other suggestions? Did anyone use A lists and B lists? Or C lists? How did you do it? Did it work well? Who did you send save the dates to? How far in advance did you send STD and to who?
Post # 3
You can put the word out and see who will be able to make it. We already know a few people who will absolutely not be able to make the trip for our wedding.
Many people consider B lists to be very rude, so I hope what I am doing is going to be ok. We are sending save the dates to our closest family and friends, and if they let us know they won’t be able to come when it is time to send invitations we will send invites to more people. That way everyone who is invited receives their invitation at the same time. Do not count on a certain percentage to decline, because it can get you in a lot of trouble if more people come than you expected.
Post # 4
I wouldnt do A or B lists. I think some people find out (my friend was sent a B list invite, she wasnt sent a STD and they just asked for her address after I sent in my rsvp) and it could hurt their feelings.
Do you have any idea who may sit out? My family is all in Houston and we live in Dallas (about 4-5 hour drive) and my husbands family lives all over Illinois (12-16 hour drive) so we had about 50% of our invitees from out of town. Most of his family did not come but he has a HUGE family and it was expected that they wouldnt be able to attend. We sent them invites anyway and of course they responded that they couldnt go.
We also had a shower in Houston and Illinois just so we could celebrate with those that could not travel. I think it made it easier for them to not come… Overall we invited about 300 and had 180 rsvp yes and 168 attend (grrr haha)
Post # 5
@HeartsandSparkles: I would be more worried about meeting your minimum than having too much, especially if your sister is getting married 6 months before you. I would send out all the STD as early as possible to get people to come, unless there are some people you really dont care about. I am only having about 25 people (including plus ones and kids) and probably invited about 80 plus for OOT guests. So i really only have 5 or 6 friends coming and then 5 pairs of aunts & uncles, grandmother and and kids.
However, Ireland is a flight for everyone and pretty expensive. I also gave them a year and a half to plan.
Post # 6
@pixiecat: I don’t want to be rude- I like the idea of sending save the dates to the very closest family and friends to screen who might be able to go and who will not. I would just be worried if everyone was at thanksgiving and 1st cousins got STDs but 3rd cousins didn’t, it would be awkward. But sending STDs to all family and only my closest friends might be a good solution!
@SaraP2012: I definitely don’t want to hurt feelings- guest lists have a tendency to do that! I have some ideas about who may sit out- some of my family in the midwest has younger children and the expense of flying a family of four to California is pricey! Hopefully some of them can make it a vacation- Disneyland, Sea World- but that’s all expensive. I’m guessing maybe 10 but probably 6 people will fly from my dad’s side of the family out of 27 in the midwest based on who can afford to take vacations often. Only 4 have ever come to California to visit before. Plus, they may not be able to go to my wedding if they attend my sister’s wedding. I think it will be similar to your husband’s family and a lot of people won’t be able to attend. That’s great that you had showers in both places- I love that idea! I know they would all come to Oklahoma or Kansas because they do that all the time. That would make it possible for them to celebrate if they can’t attend the wedding. Thanks!
Post # 7
@HappinessIsInDaisies: I just want to say that your posts are SO helpful! I am very much worried about not meeting my guest minimum! I am sending 27 people on my dad’s side of the family, but only 4 of them have every visited us in California. Maybe I’ll chat with family to get an idea of who may be able to attend during the holidays. If a lot of people can’t go, maybe FI will have to invite people from work who will be more likely to attend because they are local.
BTW, your Ireland wedding sounds like a dream come true!! I can’t believe how old your FI’s family church is- it is going to be SO incredible!!! I would do an Ireland wedding in a heart beat if FI’s family was there!!
Post # 8
@HeartsandSparkles: The more guests you invite, the more complicated it gets….I would focus more on inviting the people you really want to share the day with instead of shooting 100-125 butts in the seats.
I’ve seen the A List and B List invitation method fail abominably time and time again, because you can run into late A List RSVP’ers and you certainly can’t tell them that you voided their spot and invited a B Lister…not to mention if word gets out about who didn’t make the first cut your friend and family members will be terribly hurt, the costs can spin out of your budget very quickly and because there’s no such thing as a invitation expiration date, you could end up hosting double your budgeted list and having to pay an astronomical sum of money which you may or may not have, not to mention the added stress such a terrible set of circumstances might create.
Post # 9
@Nona99: Nona, you are always right!! It’s so easy to get caught up in a numbers game and figuring out logistics and statistics. Thanks for reminding what is really important- the people! Even if they have to sit on a plane for 5 hours just to share a special day with me. 🙂
Post # 10
@HeartsandSparkles: I have about 75% out of province and probably about 85% out of town. I have no idea how many will show up. I have a B list, so does FH – some of his extended family, some of my friends from school. I know it’s ‘wrong’ but it is what it is. We’ll see what happens.
Post # 11
As a bride who is 3 weeks after her RSVP deadline and still tracking down 33 people, I cannot imagine trying to do an A and a B list. regardless of the etiquette factor, just the logicstics are a nightmare! I would invite the number of people you can afford, if you do everything the cheapest way possible (cheaper food, drink, flowers, etc.). Because there are plenty of brides out there that got a 100% acceptance rate. It’s not typical, but it happens. Then, depending on how many people actually come, you can get nicer versions of everything. Or just be happy to save some more money!
Post # 12
There is nothing wrong with doing A and B lists if you plan it well in advance. Obviously, you don’t send STDs to B listers. You need to send out your A list invites earlier then normal and have their RSVPs back in time to be able to send out your B list invites. B list RSVP cards need to have a separate date on them so people don’t get the RSVP card after the RSVP date.
I’m not sure what % of out of town guests RSVP’d no. We had about 75% attendance though. I’d say about 50% of our invited guests were out of town.
Post # 13
@HeartsandSparkles: We did an A list and a B list. The B list was all in town. The A list was relatives and close friends. The B-list was important business acquaintences, and people on the acquaintence/friend border. People will figure it out, and, since we were physically limited for space, we really had no choice because the out of town list was so unpredictable.
People will probably find out they got their invitations later, but if they can clearly see how their relationship to you is different than the other people’s, then I don’t think they’ll be offended. I’m hoping not, anyway!
Post # 14
@HeartsandSparkles: Hehe thanks! I am pretty excited. 🙂
Glad to help! As a side note we also sent out “announcements” a year and a half. It was basically, “Hey, we’re engaged and getting married this month this year. We explained why we chose the location and said that we love to hear back from people if this is even a possibility for you. We understand your mind may change between now and the wedding, but for some people the finances would just never be in reach versus other of you it might be more possible” Not in those words, but it was a way of letting people save and plan if they wanted, but not holding them to an actual rsvp, all whille letting us get an idea of a total number.
Post # 15
Please don’t get into the A and B lists. Listen to what Nona said on that.
Here is a different perspective – looks like your sister is getting married in late Fall? What are the chances weather will play into people being able to attend? You are getting married in the Spring and if I were an out of town relative traveling to a wedding I would most likely choose yours if I thought the weather would be nicer
When there are a lot of OOT relatives it can be a crap shoot. A bunch won’t come OR they will see your wedding as a chance to see the rest of the family on your dime and decide to attend.
I know a bride whose MIL PROMISED the OOT relatives wouldn’t come. PROMISED. They just needed the courtesy of an invitation for the sake of good manners. Well, guess what? The most elderly 84 yo Aunt decided to make the flight across the country because she figured it would be the last time she could see everyone. Well, when all those obligatory invitees heard Great Great Aunt Mable was making the flight, they did too! Bride was LIVID with her FMIL.
I think Nona’s advice is spot on here and really encourage you to consider it.
Post # 16
I’m posting from my phone, so I cannot post the link, but even Miss Manners herself, Judith Martin, says that having a “B” list is not rude. However, letting someone know he or she is on it would be.
I had an A-list (family and closest friends ) and a B-list (many other friends whom I really wanted to invite but couldn’t until I knew how many OOT relatives couldn’t attend.) I did not send any STDs, and I had a semi-destination wedding on a holiday weekend. However, I sent my invitations eight to nine weeks in advance of my RSVP date, which was 12-13 weeks from my wedding date. As soon as I learned that some OOT family and others had to decline, I immediately began mailing invitations to the next guests.
In all honesty, you may even have entire categories of people in your life who wouldn’t expect that you could invite them but who would be thrilled to receive an invitation to your wedding, even if it is very late notice. Just be sure that you keep people from the same social circle in the same mailing schedule. If you have three friends from work with whom you frequently socialize, you don’t want to invite two in the A-list mailing and have them talking about your invitation in front of the third.