Once the excitement settled from our engagement, the event planner in me beckoned to start the process of planning our wedding. Before picking a date, picking a venue, or really picking anything, we had to start compiling our guest list. Andrew and I have been together almost five years, so our current groups of friends have somewhat merged into one large group. But what about all of the people who influenced us in the past—how do you decide who makes the cut?
As an only child and the only grandchild on one side of my grandparents, I knew that my list of family invitees would be relatively small. Unfortunately, I’ve lost all four of my grandparents, and adding up all my aunts, uncles, and cousins still kept my family list relatively small. Although my family isn’t huge, my friends surely made the list larger. I began to create a master list of all the people I wanted to invite, but I quickly realized I simply couldn’t ask everyone from the various stages of my life to be a part of our special day. I discovered that there was no guideline as to who is important enough to make the cut for our wedding, and I truly struggled with whom to include and whom to leave out. As the guest list grew larger and the budget became tighter, I began to envision everyone I’ve ever known at our wedding, sipping water and snacking on chips and dip—because that’s all we could afford for that big of a group.
Andrew’s family is the opposite of mine: He has seven grandparents, six of whom are still alive. With lots of family and lots of friends on the list, all I saw was more and more people with less and less money to feed them. Luckily, both my mother and my future mother-in-law were supportive of the concerns we had about the guest count and made sure that anyone they considered a “maybe” was added to the “no” column. Thanks to an online tool that allowed all of us to add folks as we thought of them, we had a constant running head count for our invited wedding guests. As I obsessively checked the list several times a day, I began to think I was going to have to go through my desired list and cut people off one by one.
And then it occurred to me: Wouldn’t I rather serve a few less hors d’oeuvres and have everyone who’s important to us be there to celebrate our love and our future? Is cutting back a bit on something like wedding jewelry or party favors not worth doing so those few extra guests can attend—people who meant something to us individually or as a couple? I scrolled slowly through the list, person by person, and realized that there was no one on the list I was ready to dismiss.
Truth be told, I always wanted a big wedding anyway.
Lisa Marie, a local bride-to-be, writes every Friday about planning her wedding, which will be in Washington in July.
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