Monday, December 1, 2008

some random wedding planning observations

Is it just me, or does wedding planning come in waves? One minute I'm ignoring everything wedding-related (except for the chance to ramble on my blog), and the next it's all wedding all the time. Thanksgiving weekend definitely fell into the latter category. Between ordering the bridesmaids' dresses (which shipped today! Nice work, J. Crew!), discussing the guest list with Econo Boy's parents (more on that soon), showing off my gorgeous White Aisle invitation samples (the tea-length Blossom invitation is the front-runner), and trying to coordinate both a shower and an engagement party with the hosts of said events, I'm kinda wedding-ed out.

Here's my favorite invitation so far!
Image from;
click the photo to see this invitation set
on the White Aisle website.

Ah yes ... the guest list. Based on my totally scientific reading of 3 wedding magazines and various bridal blogs, it seems that the major source of stress for most wedding planners is the dreaded guest list. Econo Boy and I knew going in that it was extremely important to his parents to invite not only Econo Boy's sizeable family, but also their sizeable social circle (we both grew up in Colorado and so it's a hometown wedding for both of us).

So practically the first thing we did after getting engaged was ask both sets of parents to come up with a list of all of the people they might want to invite to the wedding. The final tally, including our own pals, was 190. Based on that number, we estimated that we'll have less than 150 guests, but we chose a venue that can hold up to 200 people so we don't have to stress about getting enough "no" RSVPs.

So we're happy, our parents are happy, it's all good, right? Well, sort of. A fair number of our married friends are horrified that we're letting our families have any say at all in the guest list. "You don't have to give in to that," they say. "It's stupid to invite a bunch of people you barely know just because your parents want them there. Trust us, we've been through this wedding thing. Your parents' friends don't belong at your wedding."

Hmmm. On the one hand, yeah, in my ideal world we'd have an expected head count closer to 80 -- I'm worried about our wedding feeling giant and impersonal. But on the other hand, this is important to our families as well, and many of our parents' friends have watched us grow up, helped us with school projects, given us graduation presents, and generally been part of that whole "takes a village to raise a child" thing. Plus, Econo Boy's parents gave us a very generous gift towards the wedding fund to ensure that inviting their big guest list won't mean everyone is eating bulk-purchased pretzels for dinner. So I'm OK with the "big tent" approach to our guest list. Not thrilled, per se, but I think everyone will be happier with this strategy.

How much say did your parents have in your guest list? Was this at all influenced by who was paying? Are we insane for throwing open the doors and letting our parents invite whoever they want, or smart for prioritizing family happiness?


Ruthie said...

Each of our parents contributed about 50-70 people to our (very) large guest list, though many of those people would be people we would have invited anyway. I would say that there are going to be very few people there who we don't know. But we have big families, and huge social circles. We're looking at about 250 or so in attendance, and we're inviting probably over 300... this is totally unaffected by who is paying for what. A large portion of the wedding will be paid by FH and myself, I know my parents are contributing some, and we haven't gotten the word yet on what/if/how much his parents are planning on contributing.

Blablover5 said...

I pretty much let our parents have most of the say in the guest list. In the end it didn't really matter as most of my side couldn't be bothered to show up.

That's the funny thing about guest lists, people always say this and this will happen but there is no definite. You could plan for a huge wedding and have half show up (like what happened at ours) or you could plan on something smaller and the whole town just invites itself.

And I'd say in the end it's better to let your parents be happy if you really don't care than listen to someone else.

Newport Nuptials said...

I was hoping for a guest list of 150 so we could fit everyone into our church alma mater, but our guest list is now at 228. So we can no longer get married at the alma mater, but everyone will be happy because they will feel more included in the day with all of their loved ones present. We are pretty much paying for our wedding ourselves and my mom is giving a generous amount. Her guest list is the longest, but what she is giving almost fully covers her lists meal costs. We aren't really sure what the grooms family is giving, because they said theyd give whatever we want, but I feel uncomfortable asking for anything. So we have a huge guest list and a lot of happy people. So I don't think things are so bad, it will be a really fun night for everyone.

Bride in Exile said...

Part of what I struggled with initially was my own parents' utter shock at the number of folks Econo Boy's family wanted to invite. My parents had around 25 people at their own wedding, and while they both wanted me to do something a little fancier, the idea of 150 people is still something they're kind of getting used to. But on the other hand, having such a big wedding means my mom gets to invite her first cousins (with whom she is very close), so at least she's psyched about that!

I'm glad to hear from other people who are taking the "big tent" approach. I like Newport Nuptials's take on it: "we have a huge guest list and a lot of happy people. So I don't think things are so bad, it will be a really fun night for everyone."

Mara (the coffee lover) said...

very pretty invite!