(Closed) Guest list issue

posted 10 years ago in Logistics
Post # 3
98 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

That’s a tough one. Is it a budget issue? This is a big day and you don’t want to exclude close friends. We ended up just inviting everyone so that no one would feel excluded, which might sound crazy, but worked perfectly. By the time my Future Mother-In-Law was done with me, our guest list was near 300, but the guests who RSVPed and arrived day-of was only 184. We were able to make everyone feel included because we knew that not everyone would be able to make it.

Do you have out of town guests to invite? Can you guessimate the number that might not make the event and tack on more from your B list? There’s really very little chance you will have 100% turnout.

Honestly, having a B list at all is a surefire way to hurt feelings–including your groom’s. For him, friends being on the A list might be more important than family being on the A list, and that should be a decision left to him to make.

Perhaps it’s worth it to your groom to up the cost of the wedding in favor of not excluding his friends?

Post # 5
2292 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

My Darling Husband also seemed to think that he should be inviting everyone he had ever been friends with.  It helped a lot to come up with a set of rules that had nothing to do with numbers.  We started with an idea of how many people maximum we could have (based on the venue size, and our budget).  Then we decided:

1) Immediate family, of course.
2) Aunts and Uncles, yes.
3) First cousins, yes.
4) Beyond that for family, no.
5) Local friends to include only those people that we had physically done something with several times (3 – 4) in the past year.
6) Out of Town friends to include only those people that we regularly interact with via email and telephone.
7) Friends in general to include only people that we both had met.  We’d been engaged a year, dating over two years, and friends for years before that.  If I haven’t met your friends, they aren’t very good friends.
8) Friends of parents to include only those whom at least one of us would recognize well enough to talk to in the grocery store, or at Starbucks, if we ran into them.
9) People from work only if we also socialize with them outside of work.

Part of the problem, as far as I can tell, is that people see this big party as a way to "make up" for a lot of things. Those people that you keep meaning to do something with, but never do.  That old friend that your really wish you had kept up with, but never did.  Those people who always invite you to their parties, and you feel a little bad because you never go.  Hey – there’s a reason for that.  You know what it is?  **You’re not really friends with them!**

The other issue is, that at this moment in time both of you probably think of this as some kind of party where you’ll actually get to hang out with your friends.  That’s really not the case.  Your friends will get to hang out with each other.  You will get to cut cake, and listen to toasts, and have your pictures taken.  You’ll get to shake hands with a lot of people and they will get to see you from across the room.  You can’t possibly interact in any meaningful fashion with each and every one of over 100 guests in a single evening.  Once we accepted that, we got over the idea that we should invite people we would "like to see" and realized that we should really only invite people to whom it would be meaningful to actually see us get married.  That’s a significantly smaller list, and it probably doesn’t include a friend from grade school who you haven’t talked with for 15 years.

However – our list looked nothing like yours in terms of numbers, and if I had tried to make it be that way it would have been a disaster.  We invited the following:

My family:  ~80  (I have a really big family.)
His family:  ~30  (He doesn’t.)
My friends:  ~30 (Most of whom live out of state, and couldn’t come.)
His friends:  ~40 (Most of whom are local and did come – although to be fair, most of these are actually *our* friends, they were just his friends first.)
My parents’ friends:  ~30
His parents’ friends: 0  (Don’t look at me like that – his parents don’t have many friends anyway, and they would all be from out of town.)

So clearly the numbers are not *fair.*  However, they followed the rules that we set up.  IMO, as long as you make it about numbers you’re going to have a problem – as you already do – because everybody’s family and list of friends just isn’t the same size. Anyway, I hope that helps!

Post # 7
508 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

When we first ventured into the shaky territory that is guest list creation, we followed some really good advice and made some simple rules (similar to Suzanno):

1) family, including aunts/uncles/first cousins are in, otherwise no

2) for everyone else, they had to be people we had both met* and whom we have seen socially in the last two-three months (or, were in regular email/phone contact with for out-of-town friends)

Fiance has a ton of family, so the guest list is mostly "his" guests, though I’ve met just about all of them and love spending time with them.  Ultimately, it’s not about "mine" or "his" but rather spending the day celebrating our joining. Using the rules above, we felt pretty good about the list – we have invited those most important to us as a couple.  There were a few people who didn’t make the cut, which was surprising, but I realized that while we were close once, we were no longer – life happens and it’s ok.  

In your situation, if you haven’t met or heard of this friend in 2 1/2 years, it may be that this "best" friend was someone he was close to at one time, but not so much. 

*a friend of his who lives in south asia that he communicates with regularly was the one exception to this rule, though because we didn’t have room for her boyfriend whom neither of us had met, she’s not coming (we felt bad about this, but are only having 55 guests total) 

Post # 8
135 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2009

First I love your screen name. I totally understand your problem. Because both sets of parents are paying for the wedding my Fiance parents feel that they can invite who ever they want. I am talking my FI’s cousins inlaws. People they only see occasionally, or who have invited them to their kids weddings. My list is 100 and his list (which mind you is still being worked on for the last 4 months) is looking to be 200. Yes 200 and while he has met everyone on my list I have only met a few on his. Most of my reception is going to be spent being introduced to these random people who aren’t that important to us as a couple. I keep hearing excuses for why they should be invited, I like them and I would want to party with them at the reception. If you are really tight on your head count then you have to make him realize that he can’t have an unlimited number. Good luck.

Post # 9
67 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: June 2008

Why don’t you keep separate B lists?  (Maybe you’re already doing this; I can’t tell).  Then, this ‘best friend’ can be at the top of his B list.  When one of his A list guests rsvps no, his friend gets an invite.  It keeps the numbers equal all the way through the process.  GL!

Post # 10
1238 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2008

We did our B list the way ljlkclark just explained.  It actually worked rather well.

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