Post # 1
As many of you already know, we are planning an outdoor wedding at my parents’ home in June. While we want it to be intimate, we also really want to include as much family as possible and many of our close friends. Basically, we want to strike a balance between a intimate feel and a celebration for our large group of loved ones. (We both have very big families.) Well, the “large group” part is winning out over the intimate part! Our original ideal number was 125, but we raised that to 150. Now, we are inviting close to 300 people! While many of them won’t come, it is unlikely we will stay below 200. There are a LOT of problems with this:
- I really desired a close-knit feeling at the wedding. With the way things are going, it will be too enormous to really talk with everyone.
- Since it is a home wedding, logistics will be more complicated. We will likely have to rent bathroom trailers, and the parking situation is going to be a big issue to work out.
- We are already over budget and with close to 100 more guests than we planned for, many of my favorite things – food, decor, etc. – are going to have to be scaled back or nixed. The feel will be much less elegant and special than I desire.
- Some of my favorite details won’t work as well with 200 people. We are having a DIY photo booth for example – I’m afraid there will be a line and some people won’t do it. I also worry that some of our stations (omelette, smoothie) will have too long of lines.
- MY ANXIETY. All these potential issues combined with my general anxiety about having that many eyes on me means I will less relaxed than if the wedding was smaller.
The solution, clearly, is to try to scale back the guest list. I just have NO idea how! No save the dates have been sent yet, but we made a big mistake by asking many of our friends for their addresses, so those people cannot be eliminated. We really only have a few viable options:
- Don’t invite any extended family (great aunts & uncles). On my mom’s side, this is about 12 people, and all of them would come because they live in town. I am close to a few of them, but I really only see those few at weddings and other family gatherings. The rest I have no relationship with. I can’t invite just the few I’m close with because there would be seriously hurt feelings, so that is not an option. It’s all or nothing.
- Don’t invite close family friends from church. This could add up to about 12 people, but these are families that I have been close with my entire life, so I hate to cut them off. There could be some potentially really hurt feelings in this situation.
- Speak to some of our friends that we already asked addresses from and say, hey, we are having a family-only wedding. This could trim off 10-15 people, but it makes me sad to not have any of our friends there, not to mention I would feel really bad to basically take back their invite.
What do you think we should do? I am sort of leaning towards just inviting the whole lot and praying every night for the next six months that many of them can’t make it. With a lot of out of towners, its very possible that we could get fewer RSVPs than we expect… or, we could very well end up with over 200 guests! I just don’t know how to deal with it at this point. Did any of you have to come to terms with a bigger wedding than you originally wanted?
Post # 3
I would invited everyone since it seems like you truly don’t want to cut anyone out (what a nice bride!).
Maybe you could find ways to cut out things from the budget?? cheaper flowers, or invitations??
good luck ((HUGS))
Post # 4
Coccinelle: I think that’s what we are going to actually end up doing, its just really stressing me out! We are already going pretty budget… we are designing our own invitations, and we are not doing grand flowers at all. The biggest expense is going to be rentals, since its a home wedding, and food – two things I don’t really want to cut back on! That would mean going with plastic plates/cups/etc. and that does not jive with my vision of my wedding day at all. As for the food, we are doing brunch, which is already more inexpensive, so what we’d have to eliminate are my beloved stations and go to a basic buffet – which would also break my heart! I just really wanted it to be different and more special than a lot of the weddings my family and friends go to, but I guess maybe that is too much to ask for.
Post # 5
- Wedding: September 2010 - Heinz Chapel Ceremony, Museum Reception
I don’t have any solutions for you, danielle, but I just want to say that I totally, totally sympathize. Throughout the first 6 months of our engagement, the plan was always to have about 120 guests at the wedding–enough to include the closest members of my enormous extended family, and our friends. Just recently, this has ballooned to over 200 people. My parents have decided they want to invite aaaaalllllllll of the extended family, including people I barely know on even a superficial level. I am also struggling with the idea that we have to devote so much money to all these extra guests that I have to scrimp on the things that are fun and special to me, like flowers or jewelry. So sorry you’re going through that as well! You have my sympathy!
Post # 6
sending you ((HUGS)) hope the other bees can help 🙁
Post # 7
Is there a way, at all, that you could have a 2nd much more casual reception? Maybe after you come back from honeymoon, and invite all your friends to that? That way you get a smaller more family orientated 1st reception and get to invite all your friends to come and celebrate with you later.
But really, the only other option I can see is taking the big ol’ trimming scissors to your guest list. Which is hard – and trust me, I know. Let us know what you decide to do!
Btw, I asked a bunch of my friends for their addresses – they totally forgot about it a few weeks later. Don’t let that detail bother you, it’s the least of your worries!
Post # 8
Thanks for all the support, you guys! Shortly after I wrote this, I realized how very unhappy I am about having this huge wedding. I also realized how much my stress level will go up when we have to figure out how to have that many people at my parents’ home – parking, bathrooms, rentals, etc. And so I opened up our guest list spreadsheet and took off almost 20 people! It was hard for about 10 minutes, but then I felt very free! Almost all the people I took off I will not miss at all, and even the couple I kind of wish could be there, on that day I won’t even really miss them, and they will understand. My reason that I am going to give is: “Our home could only handle a certain number, and it was really important to us to have an intimate at-home wedding.” It’s true!
carrie, I really hope that you are able to work out your guest list in a way that makes you happy and keeps the peace. It’s so hard! Even with the eliminations I made, there have still been compromises. You can never get it perfect!
Post # 9
I have the same dilemma. Each time we each look at our list instead of cutting we end up adding. One thing that has helped us is that we will not be having any children. As for the extended family, great aunts and uncles, we are inviting them only, as in just the couple, not their children/sons/daughters. It’s still an ongoing headache. Good luck to us both!
Post # 10
We’d like to keep our numbers much smaller than they are looking too. I’ve trimmed +1s, extended family, kids, family friends, and coworkers from the ‘original’ list. I keep reminding myself that not everyone I invite will be able to come either.
One thing I did that really helped me see clearly who to cut (not that I’m done yet, haha) was to rank all of our guests. I know it sounds terrible, but once I got people ranked into tiers, I was able to narrow down my ‘cutting’ to the lowest tier, if that makes sense, and pick and choose within that to see who would go. That helped a lot, because it felt less overwhelming to nix 1/2 of 50 people instead of 1/6th of 300 people.
Post # 11
Definitely do the ranking that daydreamwanderer is talking about! IT will help a lot! You can do a “must invite” “like to invite” and “dont mind if not invited” categories or something you choose. Are you inviting coworkers? Maybe leave them out. I know that can be hard for some people but unless you are really good friends with them OUTSIDE of work there is no need to invite them. Again, leaving out children may cut the list. Or you could say that only people with a significant other get a +1…I know that sounds harsh but you have to cut it somehow! Dont just rely on hoping that people wont come because if you do and you dont have the room for them it could definitely backfire on you! Usually about 25% of guests RSVP NO so if you have 200 on your invite list that is 50 people so you could expect approx 150…..