Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Expect the Unexpected

If you are planning a wedding, my biggest piece of advice to you is to expect the unexpected (and budget for it).

Someone important may be unable to be present. People you didn't necessarily think to include get their feelings hurt over not being invited. A parent dies. You lose your job. You forgot to budget for your wedding bands. Shit happens and it sucks, but this is good practice for the rest of one's life.

To be sure, Big Spoon and I have had our share of little crises over the course of our engagement, but over the past few weeks, I've run into a major dilemma with the guest list: How do you tell friends and family you weren't planning on inviting them? Do you? Or do you invite them thinking they won't come? Do you still invite them to the bridal shower? What about new friends? Where do you draw the line?

Damn those save-the-dates! That was my worst idea EVER. Not only do I now have to invite everyone who received a SD card, I have no control over that part of the guest list, because trust me, I would love to cut it down by 30 people or so. I thought I was doing so good with the guest list ... until now.

So, here we are with a 128 person guest list (that includes us) for a 125 person wedding reception. We're currently $300 over budget, and that is for 100 people. Every time I turn around, someone is wanting me to add someone to it. Some days, I really want to cut everyone out but our immediate family and closest friends. Which, in hindsight is what Big Spoon wanted anyway and I wouldn't couldn't cut down the family list.

Damn. Damn. Damn.

Someone from work (who planned her daughter's wedding) told me to only expect a 60% turn-out. She said that I should invite more people and we'd still be okay, but I'm just not sure about that. I'm trying to trouble shoot ... do we go back to the caterer and try to get a lower per person quote? Do we call all our guests and tell them there are no kiddies allowed? Or do I just ignore people? Do I need to cut people to add people? How should I stagger the RSVP dates if I wanted to send out additional last-minute invites?

Somebody help!


  1. Oh, I feel ya! My hubs' family wanted to invite every single person in the town they live in and it drove me nuts! Every time I turned around there were more people being added to the list. Finally, I said enough. I am sure some people's feelings got hurt, but we are all on a budget, right?! :)

    As far as the invites vs guarantees, I would say 60-70% of the invites show up. I invited 200, had 158 RSVP and I think about 150 actually showed up - there are always things that come up! :)

  2. We've invited 165 and are hoping for only 100. I was told by my coordinator to only expect 2/3rds of the list. That's the rule of thumb. So if you invite more it should be okay. Especially if they are out-of-town guests! That cuts the list back a lot. Many can't afford to travel and vacation in this rocky economy.

    Good luck! It will be okay to invite more than you can have!

  3. Thanks for the input - ACB, we're trying to be as generous on the assumed attendees because lots of them will be local. Sarah, I think we're going to have to take that kind of line - especially for guests who we've been previously told it's OK not to invite ;)

    Little Spoon, nice way of capturing the frustrations :)