(Closed) How to work an “A” and “B” list?

posted 8 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
Member
639 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

I’m sort of doing the same thing, for the same reason.  I say its feasible, just don’t let anyone getting the second round of invites know – as in, send them to mutual friends all at once (whether that be in the first round or the second).

Post # 4
Member
7975 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

You’re definitely not alone in wanting to do this — our plan is this:

1. Make 2 sets of response cards (well, we’re printing everything ourselves, so it may turn into 3 sets if needed) with DIFFERENT RSVP dates

2. VERY carefully look at your guest list and decide who will be B list – remaining keenly aware of who else on the list they know. You can’t send an A list invite to Suzie if she works with B list Anne… Anne will find out. Make ’em both A or both B.

3. Once you get enough ‘nos’ back in, send out your B list invites.

Remember, there’s a chance those people will accept, even though they’re your A-list-in-hopes-of-declining. Be prepared to deal with the inevitable if they do end up accepting and you can’t invite your B list.

Post # 5
Member
639 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

i forgot to say as well that all our invitees (A list and B list) are getting invited to the reception because we have room there, but if some of the obligatory familial invitees decline to come, we may be able to invite more people (B-listers) to the ceremony part as well.

Post # 6
Member
3762 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

We are doing the same thing as well.  We have a lot of family (46 people out of 180) that is out of town and would need to travel from IL and IN to FL.  We are obviously would love for as many family to attend, but understand that they all may not be able to.  Most likely we are expecting about 25 or so to be able to travel. 

Our capacity at our venue is 176.  We could add more, but they would have to sit outside by the bars.

We are inviting 192 guests for the “A” list and hoping that the 20 or so that are out of town will bring it back down to 176.  I’m sure there will also be a few others here and there that can’t attend.

Once we have a good idea of the A list numbers, we are going to send out invites for the “B” list guests.  We will print two versions of the RSVP cards so that the B list has a later RSVP date.  We will then send out a second wave to those guests.

I agree with Denver that you want to make sure all mutual friends get invites in the same batch. 

Post # 7
Member
3762 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

I don’t know, is it wierd to invite people to only the reception afterwards but not the ceremony to witness the actual wedding?  We have the opposite problem.

I just feel that if I got an invitation to a reception only, I would kinda wonder why there is no ceremony.  I would understand that it would be due to size restrictions, but it also shows then, that I was on the B list and not invited to the ceremony.

 

Post # 8
Member
639 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

its not that uncommon to get reception only invites in the upper midwest actually.  the majority of people we would be inviting this way are friends of my parents, and when their children got married, they did the same thing for my parents.  we would invite them all if we could, but our ceremony venue just isn’t that big.

Post # 9
Member
4485 posts
Honey bee

Despite your best intentions, people do find out about B lists and will get offended since it is considered rude. Why do you feel obligated to invite certain people? Do you know for absolute certain that they won’t attend? Only invite those whom you truly want there and that you can’t imagine the day without. Send announcements to everyone else afterward. If that means not inviting relatives whom you don’t care about to make room for your closer friends, then so be it. Honestly, it doesn’t matter what other people think about your guest list since they aren’t paying. If someone is offended since Aunt Emily whom you can’t stand to be around isn’t invited, oh well too bad. It’s not their call and none of their business.

 

However reception only invites are very rude, even if they are common in certeain circles. Basically you’re telling your guests that they aren’t important enough to you to witness the most important part of the day and why you are getting married in the first place but that they knock themselves out spending money on a gift to celebrate an event they aren’t good enough to attend. If you don’t have room for everyone who is invited at the ceremony to attend the reception then you need to cut the guest list so that each person who is invited to the reception is also invited to the ceremony. If you talking from a budget standpoint, the reception is actually much more expensive, especially if you have more folks in attendance at the reception. The ceremony doesn’t anything more than the site fee. The reception though is where the majority of the entire wedding budget is spent.

Post # 10
Member
3762 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

I could maybe understand getting a reception only invite if the ceremony was held far away or at a previous date.  However, I think it would be wierd walking into a reception and some people had been to the ceremony and are talking about it and others just got there. 

 

The only way I would see how this could be appropriate was if the ceremony was very small and it was limited to family only.  At that point I don’t think its really an A list and a B list, but more an immediate family versus all other wedding guests.

Post # 12
Member
59 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

@Bunni–totally with you!  There are about 50 extended family members on my side invited, and I don’t expect all of them to show up, but if they do . . . well, that’s a huge change of plans!  FI’s extended family is around 30, and we have the same problem there, too!  My venue holds up to 170 for the ceremony and up to 300 for the reception.  Guest list totals c. 225 (thanks Mom). 

We are going to do A and B lists, but our lists will be divided by family (no one is local for either one of us!) and then everyone else.  I really don’t see any other way around it unless we poll family members (which I think would be just weird).  The thing is, I would prefer for close friends to be able to attend rather than great Aunts and Uncles I can’t recognize, so if they don’t come, I really want to invite others in their place.  We’re going to send out the fam invites early and then everyone else as possible.  I don’t think we’ll offend anyone if it’s understood that the A list was only family and the bridal party, although I really don’t think it will get out.

If it comes down to it though, we will do some reception-only invites.  We switched our reception venue simply to accommodate that possibility.  The Knot says it’s fine to do reception-only, not vice versa. 

Post # 13
Member
576 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2009

We did an A list and a B list and it worked beautifully. For our A list, we sent out invites earlier to all the family, and friends we knew for sure we wanted to invite. As we got “regretfully declines” back, we had a prioritized B list, and we would send out a B list invite every time a no came back.

It worked really well and nobody knew the difference. Just be sure that you don’t put people in the same social circle on different lists 🙂

Post # 14
Member
2641 posts
Sugar bee

I like the idea of sending just the Out of Town guests invites earlier.  then the “B list” doesn;t really feel like a B list.  Because all local people, be it automatic A listers and otherwise B listers get grouped together.  Then it’s less likely people will figure out there is a B list.

And when sending out the Out of Town invitations early, you could say it’s because you wanted to give extra time for the invitations to get there.  And that since they would have to travel, you wanted to be sure to give them extra time to make arrangements.  And if anyone asks why their RSVP date was sooner, you could say you heard that you shouldn’t give people over X amount of time to respond, because other wise they will forget or lose the invitation or something.  (But hopefully you won’t have to deal with that part.)

Post # 15
Member
83 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

I would not be concerned with whether mutual friends getting invites on the same dates or not. It’s a wedding and everyone should be sensitive to the fact that it’s an expensive affair. No one should expect you to be able to accomodate everyone. At the end of the day, they should be happy they got an invitation and not be concerned with whether they were on the A list or B list. I think people will understand more than you think, and if they don’t, oh well.

Our A-list is a combination of Out of Town peeps and local peeps. It’s a matter who we want to make sure gets an invitation first regardless of where they live. As we get declines, we plan to send invitations to our prioritized B list members.

In my family though, weddings are a big deal since we’re from a different country. It’s one of the few times that everyone can get together so mostly everyone makes an effort to come regardless of where they live in the U.S.

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