Broke-Ass Tag: guest list

4/18

Print available from Etsy seller WishfulPrinting

The biggest expense at any wedding are the guests. They are the consumers, so the more guests you have, the more expensive your reception will be (in theory, I’m sure someone can prove me wrong about that). We are opting to have a buffet dinner at our reception and we figured to keep costs down, we need less mouths to feed. Seems easy enough.

BUT IT ISN’T.

When we started creating the guest list, we listed our immediate families and all close friends. The people who we absolutely had to have at the wedding because without them, the day wouldn’t be complete. Then we listed out more distant relatives that we wanted to invite/felt we should invite. At some point, we were asked how many guests would be at our wedding (probably by a vendor) and we pulled a number from our imaginations and said, “100.” I looked at a lot of guest list calculators and estimators and figured that we could add more people since our original list was pretty meager. We started added friends and neighbors and coworkers. We combed through our contacts for people who we hadn’t been in touch with in a while, but it would be cool if they came. We realized that maybe we knew a lot more people than we originally thought.

Then our families started in with the whole, “You’re going to invite your cousin Roger’s fourth wife’s brother, right?” Uhhh, who? No, no we’re not inviting them. We don’t even know them! Timo also started adding people to our guest list, “because they invited me to their wedding.” Uhhh, nope. That’s not how this is going to work. Wedding invitations are not tit for tat. An invitation to my wedding means that I want you there to celebrate with me/us because you are important to me in some way. I felt like a real hard-ass about it, but I am well aware that keeping the guest list in check means keeping costs in check. Fortunately, Fiance understands that now too (after some gentle explaining) and he’s better about trimming the fat saying no.

When I realized we were spiraling into guest list madness, I set about creating some order to our guest list (is it any wonder I’m marrying a German?). I started breaking up our guest list into A, B, and C lists. A list guests were those people we added in the beginning. Anyone from Germany (because if you’re willing to pay for the plane ticket from Germany to the U.S. and your hotel while you’re here, I’m willing to feed you and give you open bar access for one night) and close family and friends. The B list contained friends and distant relatives we’d like to come if possible. The C list became a catch all for “we’d really like you to be there if Great Aunt Dorthy can’t make it” guests. That sounds horrible and kinda cutthroat, but when your theme is “we’re on a budget,” you make it work.

To track all these guests, I was using my handy dandy wedding planning spreadsheet. It was easy enough for us to come up with a list A names, but then we realized we needed contact information, actual addresses to mail things (invitations) to. Someone else probably knows your Great Aunt Dorthy’s address, and they probably have better hearing, so it is easier to just ask them instead of Great Aunt Dorthy.

Wedding Planning Lesson: Make your life as simple as possible because you have other fish to fry.

At this point, we turned to others for assistance. Papa G (my future father-in-law) offered to gather all the information for the German guests. I gave him access to the spreadsheet and he set about putting in addresses for our German invitees that he knew. This saved Timo from having to contact his entire family and ask for their contact information or us having Skype dates with various relatives in Germany to find out the information ourselves. Convenient for me, my sister got married first and I was able to get her guest list so I just copy/pasted our family’s addresses into our spreadsheet instead of hunting them down.

Of course, this system filled in most of the addresses we needed but not all. The rest we had to track down. Timo was able to use social media to contact most of his people who we needed addresses for. I was a bit more sneaky. I went about searching public records. For instance, I knew we wanted to invite some of our neighbors who we have gotten close with. I knew their street name and city and state, of course, but instead of walking down the street and writing down their house number (or ya know, just simply asking them), I went online looked at the county property records. I’ve embraced my creepiness but I am glad that sometimes it comes in handy.

Obviously, I could have just asked my neighbors, but for some relatives, I didn’t have any way to contact them because they aren’t on social media and I don’t have their phone number. In this situation, property records were super convenient. It saved me the runaround from asking someone who might not know, who would have to ask someone else. Let’s have a moment of real talk: Sometimes you don’t want to talk to people, nor is it quicker to speak to some people. There is no shame in stalking people to get their information if it is publicly available.

The most awkward part of planning the guest list is people assuming they are invited or, even worse, asking if they are invited … especially when you know they didn’t even make the C list. I’m still figuring out how to handle these situations. Most of the time, I don’t even acknowledge it at all. Avoidance solves problems, right?

My final thought about the guest list is that it’s organic.

You might not still be friends with people on your original guest list by the time you send out invites. There is no shame in striking them from the guest list completely or moving them to a different list. Someone on your C list might need to be moved to your B list because you’re closer when invites go out than when you created the list. Be flexible. Also, if you get close to someone as the wedding gets closer and you know you have available space, they don’t need an invitation to be invited (but make sure they RSVP so you can keep an accurate headcount!).

While there are many manuals on “how to wedding” every single one of them is filled with suggestions and guidance. It’s YOUR wedding. You do you!

Need help with your guest list? Download our free worksheet!

 

  • 12/19

    diy real wedding

    Credit: Juniper Photography

    I’m sure many people have ideas about how they want their weddings to be even before they start planning them. Maybe they know for sure they want to get married on the beach, or they’ve always known they would wear a family heirloom that has been passed down for generations. I had ideas like that too — my matrimonial must-haves, if you will. One was that I wanted to get married outdoors. I knew that I wanted to look really, really hot in my dress (I know! SO WEIRD, right?). I also knew that I wanted a smaller wedding, with just close family and friends.

    I have attended smaller weddings in the past and appreciated how much more time I got to spend with the bride and groom. I had also been to larger weddings where the extent of the interaction that I had with the happy couple was a quick “Hey! Congratulations!” before they got swept back up in all of it. For me, I really want to be able to have enough time to see everyone, and do all the fun wedding things, if thats possible.

    For some couples, this may not be doable — they may have a very close, large extended family. However, for us, it wasn’t an issue. The degrees of removal from our extended family had natural borders: We invited aunts and uncles and cousins, but nobody necessarily expected inviting second cousins. When we chose our venue, we chose one with a maximum capacity of 75. We had run the numbers prior, and knew with that limit we could just accommodate all of our close family and close friends, and we would save a lot of money having a smaller guest list.

    However, our engagement coincided with a move to a new city, and in the last year we’ve begun to make some new friends. We are now realizing it would be really nice to include these people in our celebration, but 75 is beginning to feel a little snug. We’ve already sent save-the-dates back in September, and there’s nobody we want to take off the list. We don’t want to risk inviting more people than we can actually hold, in case everyone actually RSVPs “yes.”

    Our safest bet will probably, unfortunately, involve having a conversation with our new friends that we made the list before we got to know them well. It will be a bummer, but it won’t be the end of the world, surely they will understand. We will plan a fun night out with them in lieu. 

    Take note, BABs. Give yourself extra wiggle room with your g-list. The time between booking the venue and when the invites go out might be a long time, and in that time, new people may come into your life! 

     

  • 9/12

    RSVP Cards available from Etsy seller PucciPrintables We are in the home stretch with just a few weeks to go before our big day. There are a lot of last minute details to worry about and loose ends to tie. We're also trying to wrap up our RSVPs. I find it such a nerve-wracking process. Each time I see a response card in the mail,…

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    5/27

    Just Married Wedding Announcement, $6.50 by Etsy seller BlissPaperBoutique Hey BABs! Wedding etiquette can sometimes feel overly formal and antiquated, but we're here to help you navigate the ins and outs. This week's advice request is about sending wedding announcements: My fiance and I are planning a wedding in April of 2017. All of his family is in town and most likely all will attend, but…

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  • 12/11

    World's Best Coffee Mug, $13.75 by Etsy seller MagicCityDesigns Hiya BABs! Today's advice question comes from a reader who wants to know about the etiquette of inviting coworkers to her wedding. (Hence, the mugs. Because coffee. And Dunder Mifflin. #pamandjimforever)  Hello and happy holidays!! I am writing to request etiquette guidance: I had a very strong relationship with my former coworkers, which has not carried over to…

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    9/21

    Warning! This post contains a whole lot of spreadsheet-based nerdery! For so many couples, the hardest part of wedding planning is choosing the guest list. Do you want your event to be small, intimate gathering, or do you want to share with all your friends and family? Is Mom going to make you invite that cousin you forgot you even had? Can you invite your…

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    4/13

    As I mentioned, I'm trying to keep my wedding small as one way to save money. I want my guest list to be more "want tos" than "have tos."  There are inevitably a few in the "have to" category, mostly extended family. Another perk of having a wedding at a bit of a distance is that it weeds out those that care from those that…

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  • 3/30

    Credit: Alicia Robichaud The Guest List -- how big it is, who's on it -- is probably one the most important and difficult parts of the planning process.  My primary saving strategy has been to keep my wedding small.  When there is a per person cost, it seemed like the best way to keep costs down.  Mostly, though, I prefer quality to quantity. I'd rather spend time with a…

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