I second guessed writing about this topic because it could be very controversial. Personally, we handled some measure of the fire when we were in the midst of planing. Honestly, I don’t know if people realize but weddings cost money – whether your budget is big or small, you have to spend money.
I’ve been asked recently how I handled this situation and although I know not being invited can rub some the wrong way, sometimes, some people are just straight up dealing with a sense of entitlement. Let me explain. It is very obvious that everyone won’t be able to physically attend your wedding. So if you’re a planning bride, take the load off a bit because – reality. Everyone can’t be there.
A few things before we jump in…
For the couple
This leads me to who then should be on the list? We went about this by first compiling individual lists of all the possible people we’d like to attend our wedding. We then compared our lists and agreed on those who were overlapping. Then, we scanned through our families on both sides, and selected from there. Both of our families are HUGE so we tried our best to monitor this process as best as possible. I feel like every time we met with our caterers there was a change in the number *face palm* but there were some people who HAD to be there.
We made room for a few additional persons our family indicated needed to be present. We had no problems inviting them but our budget couldn’t accommodate, therefore, the fee for those additional people was covered by the specific family member. I think this is how we arrived at 162 guests instead of our original 150. You two will need to decide how many folks you really want to be present and what your budget can afford. Don’t overdo to impress anyone and don’t pressure yourself to accommodate everyone because when the bills come in, you already know who has to pay.
Managing parents and their lists
We allowed our parents to submit names of who they’d like to attend the wedding, because, you know; it’s their day too right? Lol! This isn’t mandatory, you don’t HAVE to allow your parents to invite their friends but we thought we should and it would be a nice gesture. Their list was about 8-10 people each and I’d recommend managing these lists if you allow your parents to invite people because it could really cause your numbers to inflate if they know a lot of people.
Tools to use
We primarily used Microsoft Excel to update our spreadsheets and arrange our table assignments. This made it easy to follow, if you prefer to work with Microsoft Word that works as well but find a program that will allow easy editing on and offline. Google Docs works quite well! You can also share the file with your team or whoever needs access and they and changes happen in real time.
Choose folks you’d be happy to see
This point is pretty straight forward. Invite people who you’ll be elated to see on your day! You could have known them all your life or half your life, I learnt that the number of years you know someone doesn’t always denote the value they add to your life. Don’t sit at your head table looking around the room wondering – “Why are they here?”
Other points to note..
To the reader who wasn’t invited to the wedding
Your friendship with the bride/groom or the couple should not be hinged primarily on whether or not you are invited to their wedding. I think that there’s more to friendship than that. Of course the couple would like to invite everyone to the special day but they cannot realistically do that. Please understand this and don’t take it as a personal attack. You are still loved!
To the reader who feels entitled
‘They HAVE to invite me to the wedding!
No, they don’t! You aren’t entitled to anything, this is to put it quite mildly. I’m trying to be nice here but this is the truth, the couple is not mandated to invite you or anyone else to their wedding. If they chose to elope would you be upset? If they chose to do a destination wedding with only immediate family, would you still send them well wishes or would you wish bad for them? Search your heart.
There’s a fee attached to attendance
For a few months during wedding planning, the language of the couple will be dollars and cents. What is within budget and what isn’t. Traditionally, a couple along with their families will foot the bills for the wedding and reception, that means that as long as they’re serving food and beverage there’s a fee. I am aware of some couples who have stated to attendees that they’d (as in the guests) will have to cover the cost of their own meal if they wanted to attend the reception. Needless to say, the response wasn’t the largest but who wanted to be there, were present. Please exhibit understanding if a couple isn’t in a financial position to invite you to their wedding and reception. They may graciously invite you to the ceremony but are unable to facilitate the reception, it’s okay!
Some people just want to have their immediate family and extremely close friends there. You may consider the bride or groom a close friend and perhaps they consider you the same but in the scheme of dollars and cents, they can’t make provisions for you to attend – it’s okay. If you’re not invited you two can still be friends after.
The work around
Now I know this post may have crushed some hearts and mashed some toes, that wasn’t my intention. My intention was and still is to bring awareness to the planning couple and those surrounding the planning couple of the possible stress factors associated with the who and who not to invite. Also, to sensitize the friend to avoid adding stress to the process by having an entitled attitude.
So the work around. Chris and I created a private Facebook Group with friend and family we wanted to be present but couldn’t host as well as those who were unable to fly in for the wedding. We asked two of our very techy friends to be our social media managers for the day and allowed them to stream our wedding LIVE for our online guests. They posted pictures and updates as the day progressed. Truthfully, though it hurt my heart not to have everyone present – being able to go back to the group and watch the day and see everyone’s feedback was icing on the cake. You can consider this.
You can maintain your friendships and make some new friends during your planning process, but just know that you may make some enemies too. Keep praying about your union and stay focused on what you can control. All will be well in the end!