Guests. What could be more important? Aside from the legal part, they’re the most vital element in making a wedding special. Venues & catering & mason jars might seem like the be all & end all, but what’s the point if there are no people there to share it with? I want to spend the day with our friends and family, people that we care about and that care about us. And I want to have a damn good party.
So with this in mind, it shouldn’t have come as quite as big a surprise to discover that creating a guest list would be the biggest stress point to date. It has the potential to be the most stressful, contentious and divisive point in the course of planning a wedding. Hopefully, by the end of this post, I won’t have alienated too many people. Those that I do, well, hopefully they weren’t on the list anyway (JK!)
After proposing, I (only half jokingly) suggested to Cat that we should elope. We already had a holiday booked. It didn’t seem like it would be too big a stretch to work on a few more plans, ditch the lonely planet guide and make our engagement a short one with a much more relaxed party when we got home. She did not share my enthusiasm (plus this blog series would have been pretty short as well, so probably for the best, that plan was shelved).
I don’t know if there is some accepted strategy for making a guestlist, but we just jumped straight in. I’m not sure if Cat had an ideal number in her head. I was pitching for about 50.
Close family down first.
I might have misjudged the numbers a little!
A purely family affair could be an option, but I’m not sure that’s conducive to a wild party. For that, we want our friends there (no offence family, but it’s rare that we’ll take you out dancing!)
I photographed a wedding recently at which the father of the bride perfectly summed up my thoughts in his speech. To paraphrase “when I was younger, weddings were full of old fogies and family you never see. Today, look around and you’ll see all of their friends, that’s what a wedding should really be about”. Perfectly put.
I’ve read before that the guestlist should be dictated by the parent’s of the couple, but in that instance I’d probably push a little harder for that elopement. Someone more traditional might suggests that a wedding should be an occasion to invite people that never see each other to come together. But this obligation to facilitate fading family relationships doesn’t really fit in with what I think a wedding should be. A celebration with your favourite people, rather than an irregular chance for a catchup and an expensive meet and greet.
It is these two contrary thought processes that inevitably make it such a difficult undertaking.
Our original plan had been to invite guests for the full day. It’s now looking like we won’t have room for some friends all day and so we’re on to an evening guest list as well. Remember primary school, “you’re my first best friend, you’re my second best friend, you’re my third best friend”. That’s how it feels. Hopefully that’s just some internal anxiety and not how people will see it. The unexpected things that cross and linger on your mind are unbelievable. So many times you hear that compromise is the key to a happy marriage, and planning a wedding is certainly good practice in that particular skill.
Ultimately, the most important thing is that next October I get to marry my best pal. When some outside influences provide a moment of stress, that’s all I need to remind myself of. Everything else will come together and on the day, the people that are there will hopefully have a great time with us.
I want as many people as possible to be happy with how we plan our day, but in the end, there’s only one smile I need to see.
So, it might not be the most helpful post, but all I can offer in way of advice, is try your best to please yourselves and hopefully in the process of doing that, the smiles of everyone else around you will fall in to place when the time comes. I’ll keep you posted on how we get on!
Until the next time...