Post # 1
This is my first post on Weddingbee and I think I really just need to vent because it is still bothering me. I didn’t see anything exactly like my issue so I decided to post. My guest list “blossomed” from 80 people to 157 people. We are getting married in a small town in Alabama where my fiance attended college and now works. Both my parents were born and raised in this same town but I was born and raised in the Northeast. My parents relocated back to this town about 7 years ago. I live in Atlanta now and my fiance and I met in this small town while I was visiting one weekend. All this being said, this small town has special meaning for both of us.
The problem, I’m literally related to at least 1/3 of the town (it’s actually a small city)! I managed to dwindle down the list and only invited relatives with whom I have a relationship. I am 35 years old and I do not consider the occassional “Hey how are you? or”Happy Birthday!” on Facebook a relationship. Anyway, my Aunt told my mother that I “forgot” to invite one of her daughters. I was livid when my mother told me. First of all my mother is in the hospital and should be focusing on recovery not my guest list (which she and I discussed prior to her hospitalization). Second, the cousin that I “forgot” lives in the Atlanta area. I have been here for almost 2 years and we haven’t seen or spoken to each other (with the exception of the occassional Facebook greeting). The last time we saw each other was in 2001 at a family reunion. Now I did invite one of her brothers and her sister and niece are actually in the wedding (niece is a bridesmaid and sister is a hostess). I called this cousin to explain the situation and she seemed fine with it but then again I don’t know her well so I had a hard time reading her tone.
Lastly, we are having a brunch reception and an after party we decided to call the “I Do Barbecue”. The reception is where we are limited but the evening barbecue is open to all. We decided to have the barbecue because we have lots of out of town guests coming and we wanted to make sure there are lots of things for everyone to do. Also, many of my fiance’s co-workers will be invited to the barbecue because there is a football game that day and they will not be able to attend the reception and ceremony because they will be working. Since I have more local relatives that I can’t invite to the reception, I can invite those relatives to the barbecue as well. We even made cute invitations to hand to people as we see them.
My issue – I anticipate more people saying that I “forgot” to invite them. I have read other posts about only inviting guests to the ceremony and I agree with most that it can be offensive especially if not worded correctly. I was thinking about giving these relatives an invite to the ceremony and barbecue but not the formal reception. Some of my close friends and my maid of honor (another cousin) said not to bother and as I write this, it still seems like a bad idea. I also thought about just dealing with each relative on a case by case basis should the issue come up again. I figure if they ask, I will let them know that they can attend the ceremony and bbq but that the reception is limited (I would do it tastefully of course). What do you think?
Post # 3
I think you could have a uniform answer for everyone, along the lines of “Due to budgetary restraints (or venue capacity restrictions), we have had to limit or guests lists. We look forward to celebrating many happy years of marriage with everyone, but had limited our guest list to our nearest and dearest family and friends who we see often” or something like that. Just don’t start making exceptions, because you’ll end up with even more hurt feelings.
Post # 4
I’m torn on this issue. One on side, I sort of understand the reception/after party thing but it does seem a little strange to do both a small reception and then a barbecue on the same day. Why not just skip the brunch and party it up at the barbecue? The only way I would keep the brunch is if you limited it to 20 guests, or just the wedding party, or something like that…I think 80 is a little too much to call it small and private.
On the other side, I would have stuck with the “all or none” rule…if you invited both her brother AND her sister, I would say that definitely calls for at least a courtesy invite even though you’re not that close. (I know, its sucks, especially when you don’t want to cave in to tactless potential guests, but I had to bite the bullet and send out a couple).
And on the third side of this little triangle, I totally understand wanting to keep it small and a guestlist explosion comes out of nowhere. It is SO rude for people to ask if they were invited, assume they were invited, or hassle the bride about being invited in any way shape or form. If they aren’t invited to the brunch, they shouldn’t be invited to the ceremony either. I’ve read to invite to the ceremony only is no longer acceptable. If they’re invited to the bbq however, I would actually mail out the invitations to it. I think that way people can focus on what they were actually invited to and not what they’re missing out on. And they also wouldn’t feel like you only invited them to the barbecue because you felt guilty when you saw them in passing or something.
Post # 5
@Rickie86: Thanks for your response. We never planned to keep the reception small and private. I just wanted to keep the guest list to 80 to 100 people. I thought about cancelling the brunch reception too but we wanted some of the “traditional” stuff. My Fiance though an informal bbq would be nice for the out of town guests since there is LITERALLY nothing to do here – I mean you have to drive at least 30 minutes to find a nice sit down restaraunt (with the exception of the one on campus). All of his family and several friends are from out of town. ALL of my friends are from out of town. It’s almost like a destination wedding so we have a meet and greet planned for the conference center on Friday evening. The ceremony starts at 10 am on Saturday followed immediately by the brunch reception. After the reception there will be free time for people to attend the football game or tour the campus. We did that intentionally as well because even though the city is small it is historical and several people would like to see the campus, see the game, hear the band or tour the local museum. People will be hungry and looking for stuff to do afterward, hence the evening informal barbecue.
The all or none rule won’t work for my family. When I say I have a big family, I mean big. If you add up all the children birthed by my two grandmothers there were 33 kids. I have several cousins on the list who have siblings that were not invited. All or none would add another 30 people to my list. The cousin I mentioned is 1 of 5 kids. Only two were invited because I have a close relationship with them.
I thought about mailing invitations to the bbq but is really supposed to be informal. I think I will just leave things as they are but we’ll see as time progresses. Thanks again for your input. It’s good to get the opinions of people who don’t know us.
Post # 6
That makes total sense…I know the feeling of having nothing to do. I’m in Northern Maine and the college here doesn’t even have a football team lol. I thought about putting together little “welcome bags” for the few people coming from out of town/state but then I realized there’s really nothing exciting to check out around here….my welcome bag probably would have consisted of bug spray.
Sounds like you have a solid plan! No one told me the guest list would be the most stressful make-you-wanna-scream part of the wedding. If I could go back I would have made a solid list with a solid limit…instead we made cuts just a little before getting the invitations all sent out…then added most of those people back….its a night mare. whatever you do, stay strong 🙂