Broke-Ass Tag: guest list

6/14

Bride to be cellphone case from Etsy seller Guestbookery

Originally, we had planned to do evites but I got so much pushback from the “elders” about using that technology that I gave up the fight and went the traditional route of paper invitations. While they are gorgeous and I’m happy with how they turned out, the price tag didn’t bring me much happiness, nor did having to print out addresses (we had the option to pay to have them printed, but I’m wayyy too cheap for that route since I knew I could do it myself).

I did take a stand on the RSVP front though. After seeing the price of RSVP cards and hearing stories about all the confusion and suggestions to mark them with UV markers to know who is who when they come back with no name, I just wasn’t interested in the runaround. It sounded way too complicated when I knew there had to be a way to utilize technology to do all the work for me.  One of the first things I did to start wedding planning was to download some wedding planning spreadsheets. These were Google spreadsheets which was convenient in many ways: 1) They are electronic soI’m not lugging around a huge binder (think Ted and Lily from How I Met Your Mother); 2) Multiple people could access the spreadsheets if I give them access and; 3) Google Forms integration.

Because I knew I wanted an online RSVP setup, I looked into Google Forms. I didn’t really know much about them other than the fact that they existed. What I didn’t realize is that some wedding websites actually offer RSVP services. Since I had already created our wedding website, I didn’t really want to go this route, so the Google Forms option looked better and better. When I discovered that you can link a Google Form to a Google Spreadsheet, I knew I had hit the jackpot.

I could create all my own questions and all the answers would automatically push to the spreadsheet.

I mainly did a trial-by-error method of learning how to use Google Forms. It’s pretty self-explanatory if you’re moderately tech-savvy. I also adjusted the settings a bit to better suit my needs. For the purposes of being a good blogger, I set up an example form in a few minutes.

It’s that easy, just a few minutes!

From a Google spreadsheet, click on Tools, then select Create a form.


You will be taken to this screen where you can fill in your information and create questions.


Google Forms is awesome because you can mark certain questions as required and you can have different types of questions (multiple choice, short answer, long answer, dropdown options, etc).  My favorite thing about Forms is that you can create a “password.” This was a little tricky and I had to do some research but I really didn’t want our form to be open to just anyone.


To set a “password,” select Short answer as your question type, then click on the three dots icon at the bottom right, then select Data validation. This will generate a line that gives you the option to set an answer. You can select Text (seen in the example) or you can select Number. If you select Number, ensure that you change the second dropdown menu to “equal to.” I put this question in the first section (important) and marked it required so anyone that found the form had to put in the password before seeing any of the questions. I also changed some of the settings (the gear icon in the top right) to collect email addresses for people that RSVP, so  if we had any information we needed to disseminate before the wedding, we had a contact option for each guest that was coming.

I started our questions in section 2. By creating sections, people using the form will only see one section at a time. To put a password on the first section means they are unable to see the rest of the form without answering the password question correctly. Rather than sending out an RSVP card, the first thing our guests will see when they flip over their invitation (please let these people flip the invitation over to see what all that text is!) is:

Please RSVP at our wedding website:  www.address.com
Password: Password

(other wedding info)

(even more wedding info)

I made sure to put the website and password in larger font than the rest of the text.  I tried to make it as obvious as possible.

Our questions are:

  • Who are you?
  • Are you coming?
  • Great! Who is coming with you?
  • Total number of people in your party (including yourself)?
  • Will you be attending the Post-Wedding Brunch on November 2nd?
  • Does anyone have any dietary concerns we should be aware of?
  • Where will you be staying while you are in Charleston?
  • What are the dates of your trip to Charleston?
  • What is 1 song that will make your night if you hear it?
  • Are you excited?
  • What are you most excited for?
  • Do you have anything else you’d like Megan and Timo to know about your visit, their wedding, or in general?

Now that we’ve sent out invites, some reflections on the online RSVP:

I think most people are afraid of the online RSVP. They think it will be difficult. I’ve had to encourage friends who “only use their phones” by explaining that the site is mobile friendly, (yes, I did that for you, friends). In fact, I had to bully my parents into RSVPing to their first child’s wedding. SERIOUSLY? I’ve found out through the grapevine/talking to invitees that they will be coming, but they haven’t RSVPed yet, even though they have purchased plane tickets! WHAT? (This also leads to a bit of self-reflection where I have to acknowledge that I’m not like most people and for me, I would have RSVPed yes, then bought my plane ticket.)

I was hoping we’d get a majority of RSVPs from the invites we sent out within the first month or so (haahahahahahahahahahahahah, our RSVP by date is Sept 15th) so I could send out round two, with a grasp on how many people I knew were coming, but it doesn’t seem like that is going to be the case. Oh well.

Did you do something unconventional in the planning process?  How did it go?

 

  • 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

    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.…

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    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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