Guest lists are hard

posted 3 years ago in Etiquette
  • poll: Tell me about your guest list
    We went over our original # and are glad we did : (19 votes)
    66 %
    We went over our original # and regret it : (0 votes)
    We kept it small and are glad we did : (9 votes)
    31 %
    We kept it small and regret it (e.g. caused drama, weren't enough people there etc.) : (1 votes)
    3 %
  • Post # 3
    Member
    1367 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: September 2013

    I voted for going over but that’s also because we had a lot of out of towners who wouldn’t make it.  We wanted 100 and had EXACTLY that at the reception.

    ETA the reason we felt comfortable inviting more (168) is that we did a spreadsheet calculating the odds of guests showing up.  High probability, medium probability and low.  So we knew from doing that that we’d be around our original #.

     

    Post # 4
    Hostess
    8680 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper
    • Wedding: October 2014

    Luckily, our budget was flexible, and we aren’t super strapped for cash, so our guest list was flexible as well.

    We had planned on inviting around 80 guests.. the guest list is currently 114 without inviting children. For us, the choice was pretty easy, as most of fi’s family would have to travel 2500+ miles, and most probably won’t do it. But, if for some reason they do, we’ve been buying enough of everything to server the 114 people we are inviting.

    It really wasn’t worth the hassle of having people not invited and what not, simply because we don’t want our wedding to cause a rift in any of the families.. esp since our budget is flexible enough to work around it.

    Our current cost per person is around $175 a person, so it’s not SUPER expensive.

    Post # 5
    Member
    610 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: August 2014

    @futuremrs1986:  The guest list was the hardest part for me.  Things got complicated with old friends and coworkers.  In the end I decided to invite people I had a future with, not just a past, and didn’t invite old friends that I no keep in constant contact with.  As for co-workers, I just invited those I spend time with outside of work and now that my STDs are out I feel a huge sense of relief and know that we made good decisions.  We originally wanted about 60 people but ended up inviting 70 adults and 10 kids (either half price or free buffet and no alcohol so costs will be cheaper) and I’m sure our final list after RSVPs will be closer to the 60 person mark so I think it will end up being perfect.  Every married person I talked to about guestlists had the same advice – invite who you want and forget everyone else, they’ll understand.  I’m trusting them since they’ve already been through this.

    Post # 6
    Member
    610 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: August 2014

    @canuckandakiwi:  I LOVE the idea of a probability spreadsheet.  That’s totally something I’d do and my FI would tease me for lol.  Are you the Canuck or Kiwi?  BC girl here 🙂

    Post # 7
    Member
    1367 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: September 2013

    @ju5tdance:  I’m the Canuck 🙂 transplanted to NYC from Toronto.  <3 BC a good chunk of my relatives live in Van, Surrey and Burnaby.

    The spreadsheet was AWESOME, maybe a bit nerdy but it worked – our math was bang on. So high probability was 90% chance they’d show up. Medium =50% and low =10%. 

    Post # 8
    Member
    610 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: August 2014

    @canuckandakiwi:  It just so happens that all my relatives are in Toronto and Stratford and I was born in Surrey.  I think I’ll make a spreadsheet tonight. 😀

     

    Post # 9
    Member
    552 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: June 2014

    FI and I had a tough time with our guest list too. l only wanted to invite 200 people but he couldn’t cut his list down enough. We ended up compromising and drawing the line at 250. It was still hard for him but eventually he realized that the line had to be drawn or we would have ended up way over budget. For me it was easier because to me weddings are for family first, and friends only if you can afford to host them. Because I have a very large family we don’t invite very many friends. l say draw a line and stick with it. You have a budget and people will understand that. Making exceptions is a dangerous road to go down. If you add these 8 people you will end up thinking of more people that you could also add and then you end up going through the same debate later on. You think it’s just eight but then you think of four more, and then a couple more after that and those small numbers add up to big numbers. As hard as it is you have to decide who you really want to be there and not worry too much about hurt feelings.

    Post # 10
    Member
    491 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: May 2014

    Augh guest list…this has been the single hardest for us! We are blessed to have effectively limitless space since we’re getting married on a private family farm & a fairly flexible budget. But, we still need to feed all these people and order enough tables, linens, silverware, etc so we have to be somewhat reasonable on the invite list. But it is SO hard to limit the people that we love!

    Plus our poor parents now have friends who they didn’t expect who are expecting invitations. Mine went to a college reunion over the holidays and were all “!!!” by the amount of people who expect to be invited who they don’t keep up with a ton but in all fairness used to babysit me when I was tiny so not completely farfetched (I was the token “child” in their friend group until they all started getting married off) not to mention FI’s parents’ growing list so the expansion factor is coming from all sides.

    So….I won’t lie to you, our list is now up to 313. THREE HUNDRED THIRTEEN. Yes. *faints* We agreed to a cap of 300 but obviously we sort of broke it. 

    The overwhelming majority are family but we are so stuck on the “if we invite this person then these four need to come…” or “we are total d-bags if we invite these six and exclude these three” so we are adopting a Muppet Show mentality – MORE dogs and cats and chickens and bears and…whatever!!!! Personally I don’t think all these people are going to make it, but then again, if they do….well….in the words of The Great Gonzo…TA DA!!!!

    It will work! It has to, right?

    ETA: I will say that I drew the line in the sand with my dance friends. Which I feel terrible about – particularly with one specifically who FI & I enter amateur cooking contests with. But if we opened our list to that guy & his wife…there would literally be another TWENTY that we have to invite. TOO MUCH!!! I suppose it beats having a “no friends” problem but our guest list is just getting silly.

    Post # 11
    Member
    1535 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: July 2015

    Guest list sucks…..when trying to agree with SO on it. We want to keep it between 50-60, but it’s really hard…….and it’s 1.5 years away, so people’s significant others can go up or down by then. But with a DW, we’re sending STD’s in a few months…….so we need wiggle room for people potentially starting new relationships.

    Post # 12
    Member
    246 posts
    Helper bee

    @futuremrs1986:  We are still working on our lists, but are striving to stick to our # because of space. We are planning on 300, and providing enough food to feed 350 (just in case we get some gate-crashers, nothing more embarrassing that running out of food!).

     

    It’s tough!

    Post # 13
    Member
    1822 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: May 2013 - Pavilion overlooking golf course scenery, reception at banquet hall

    We originally planned for ~100-120 but after doing the “oh yeahhhh we can’t forget THEM!!” dance, we invited a little over 150. I’m glad we did, because under 90 actually showed up.

    We also did a probability column on our spreadsheet – numbers ranging from .1 to .9 (or 1 for immediate family and wedding party) summed up at the bottom and it was helpfully accurate to within 10 people 🙂

    Post # 14
    Member
    2302 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: June 2015

    it’s definitely hard. we alllllmost booked at a gorgeous (DREAM) venue – but we would have had to cap it at 80 people and it couldn’t be done. so now we’re striving to actually have around 110 or 120, so we’ll invite around 140 – 150 as we have a ton of people travelling and don’t expect that everyone will be able to make it. 

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