Broke-Ass Tag: Wedding Logistics

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!

 

  • 4/12

    Modern RSVP card available from Etsy seller EmmyPaperie

    Every wedding planning book, blog, article advises that you should set your RSVP date for one month before the wedding. It seems to be a logical request. Most important vendor deadlines require that you confirm your final head count at least one month before the wedding. Let’s re-read that last sentence, “at least one month before the wedding.” I highly doubt that your contract says that you can ONLY submit your headcount 30 days before the big day, the words “at least” are very very important.

    Attendance numbers are important which is why I asked that my guests RSVP 12 weeks before my wedding date, here’s why:

    I’m not just feeding my guests, I creating a guest experience.

    I need to know how many chargers to buy, how many table linens to buy/rent, how many centerpieces to create and how many bottles of booze to buy.

    We need more than 30 days to make adjustments.

    Our final headcount can make or break the decision to have a four-tiered cake or a two-tiered cake, and as a courtesy to our cake baker we can actually give them time to make just what we need.

    I’ve never missed an RSVP deadline, said no one ever.

    Someone will forget to go to the wedding website and RSVP. Someone will misplace the RSVP card and once found, mail it back well past the deadline. Someone will text you and say they never received the invitation. Someone will mess up your perfectly planned timeline to finish up your seating chart. Do you know how you can remain calm, cool and collected?  Give yourself the gift of time!

    Hand Stamping & Getting the Invitations Ready to Be Mailed

    Have you ever been to a wedding and noticed all of the leftover food and the uneaten cake that is being boxed up for a family member to store while the newlyweds honeymoon? I know your answer is yes –because we all have. The minute that I began planning my wedding I declared that I would NOT be that newly minted wife, who out of the corner of my eye noticed all of the leftovers.

    The joyful reaction will the most definitely be there when your guests receive their invitations, regardless if it’s six months or four months before your wedding and you will burst with joy when you have all of your RSVPs in and you have enough time to make budget savvy decisions.

    Just in case you were wondering, for my summer wedding, the Save the Dates hit everyone’s inbox in early December and the invitations landed in mailboxes in April with a May RSVP deadline.

    How much time are you giving your guests to RSVP?

     

     

     

  • 3/17

    Raise your hand if you're a disorganized hot mess most of the time ... yep, me too! Now where are my Type A friends who get anxiety when someone even touches something on your desk? There's news for you, too. No matter where you fall on the messy-organized spectrum, putting together an orderly, executable system for wedding day set up is going to save you a lot…

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    3/8

    I think I mentioned once or twice that our wedding was the best ever, and it really, truly was. From the weather to the food to the dancing and fun, it was everything we hoped it would be when when we started planning it 15 months prior. That said, there are always going to be minor mishaps, and we definitely had a few. I knew…

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  • 1/3

    I am from Texas. Travis is from Michigan. We have different backgrounds and our own way of doing things. A year ago, we traveled to different cities to celebrate the Holidays independently of each other and it was on Christmas morning, 2015 that we decided that we would not spend another Christmas away from each other. Home is where the heart is. Photo Credit:  Rayna…

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    11/11

    Whether you're hand-writing on the envelope or using a convenient print-out label, addressing your wedding invites comes with a few *rules* that etiquette specialists still advise you follow. We don't want you to be left searching, so here's what you need to know before sending out that stationery. Before you get started, make sure to check and double-check that spelling! Your partner's cousin Ashleigh is…

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    10/4

    Credit: Timony Siobhan Don’t let anybody tell you that if you have a minute budget, you’d be better off getting married in city hall (unless, of course, that’s something you want to do). If you’ve always wanted to have a wedding, you can have a wedding. More importantly, there is absolutely no reason that you can’t have a gorgeous and memorable wedding no matter your budget.…

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  • 9/20

    It's kind of a no-brainer when it comes to saving money -- full open bars are a huge money sink. Not only are they expensive, but if you're DIYing the B-A-R, you have the impossible task of reading people's mind to figure out just how much gin, tequila and bourbon you need to have ready to serve up. In general, the fewer choices you have,…

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