Woe is the bride who has more friends than her ceremony cite has chairs. Also, woe is the bride who has more friends than her bank account has dollars.
I’m muddling through both problems right now, with a guest list hovering around 175 — and many more potential guests/potential future enemies on my B list.
I turned to my friend Joelle for advice. This summer, Joelle will mark her tenth wedding anniversary with her junior high sweetheart. After ten years, I figured Joelle would have a reasonable perspective about whether her guest list was too big, too small, or just right.
“Seriously, don’t worry too much about it,” she wrote to me on Facebook. “We invited WAY too many people. In retrospect I would not worry too much about what people ‘think’ and invite who you want to. I have been on the side where I wasn’t invited and really thought I would have been and yeah it hurts, but I eventually understood and got over it. It’s not about them! It’s about you and Danny and being reasonable. ($) When you look at your list picture yourself 10 yrs from now and try to think who you will still be close to. That might help make the cut easier.”
It helps — but it hurts. What is painful is accepting that 1.) not everyone I want to be at my wedding will be able to attend; 2.) not everyone I want to be at my wedding will be on the final guest list; and 3.) not everyone at my wedding will be my lifelong friend.
Here are a few qualifications Danny and I set up to keep our guest list small enough for our church:
1. If you haven’t talked to a person at all within the last year, don’t invite.
2. If you never spend time with a person outside of a structured group or work setting, don’t invite.
3. If a couple has been dating fewer than three months, don’t invite the boyfriend/girlfriend.
4. If you are not close to a couple’s kids, don’t invite the children.
5. If you think a relationship you’d rather keep will be damaged beyond repair, DO invite.
Hope it helps — and I hope I can take my own advice as we try to finalize our guest list in the coming weeks.