Who Makes the Cut?
I asked Jason to start thinking about his half of the guest list the other afternoon. He wound up with around 60 people. I haven’t put mine together, but I’m around that number too, give or take. Granted, we’ll have some doubles, but still! Egads–how the heck do I even know that many people? How do you put together a small, intimate affair when you know apparently half of Virginia?
And therein lies the problem. It’s not that you know half of a state. It’s that you want to have a small, lovely day spent with close friends and family. Not with people you’ve barely, or haven’t, spoken to in months, years, even. I don’t want my wedding day to be the first time I meet a family member or see a friend I only invited because we happened to hang out a few times seven years ago. I don’t want to feel guilted into inviting someone just because they dog-sat for me one time. The point of a wedding is to celebrate your public displays of marriedness with the ones who got you there, the ones who have always been there and will always be there.
I know the faux pas of inviting people to the reception and not the ceremony. I want everyone to eat, drink, and have fun as much as I want them to see Jason and my commitment to one another. So I’m trying to avoid that all together by having both in one location (plus more photography time, etc, etc.). I already know that there’s a huge debate over the +1 issue; do you include +1s, and avoid the singles table (not a problem, as I’m not doing assigned seats)? Or do you stay firm on only those you know, avoiding +1s and risking losing people who are afraid they won’t know anyone there? I don’t want someone to not show just because they can’t stand sitting by themselves (hopefully, my friends are kind enough to not do that–they know that if my mother sees them sitting alone at a table, she will cry).
In my case, it might be a little easier. I have a small, core group of friends that are always together in some shape or form. When we have birthday parties or get together, it’s typically the same people. Several of my friends are already in relationships, so we already know one another and it’s automatically known they’ll be at the wedding. Those that are single will more than likely already know at least half of the other guests. Of course there will be strangers to each other at this shindig, but they should definitely not be strangers to me!
Then of course, there’s the children. The Children!! (she says in a very Steve Martin-esque exclamation) I am not a fan of screaming babies. Like, if I see a child capable of that hissy fit in a store, I will run and hide in the underpants and girdles until I think it’s safe again. I’m choosing to have an adults-only wedding. I can’t tell you how many weddings I’ve attended (both as guest and photographer) where a crying child has absolutely ruined the ceremony because the parent doesn’t want to miss the vows. Seriously? FYI–If you stay, everyone will miss the vows. They will be too busy trying to appear as though they’re not looking around to find the child and quickly give him something, anything, to quiet him down. No one wants that. Plus, I really want my friends and family to have a good time.
This is a great opportunity for parents to find a babysitter and come dance the night away with good people, to take a night off from the everyday to have some fun. We won’t have to worry about little ones screaming, crying, sticking their fingers in cupcakes, demanding the attention be on them during the first dance (yeah, I’ll say it–I want the attention on me and Jason. I’m paying for this moment. Oblige me, just this once.), or having people leave because their kids are bored (I’ve seen it happen–the parent does not want to leave, but the kid does–the kid will win every time). So other than our nephews and my flower girl (who, minus the brand new baby by that time, will all be old enough to know better than to steal Auntie Liz’s spotlight), I’m making it an adults only affair. It’s really not about the money–kids barely eat an eighth of what I do–but in the end, I want it to be a fun, festive, drama-free-for-everyone night. And luckily, this means only a few people need to find babysitters, as most of our friends are still in the “We’re having too much fun for babes” phase.
I know it’s a tough decision to whittle down the guest list. And as I don’t even have a guest list yet, I’m already dreading it. But at some point, for me at least, the guest list passes the problem of money and goes into the value territory. Like I said, I want my friends and family who have watched the last 7 years unfold into a beautiful show of dedication and respect to be honored for a lifetime. From what I understand, a wedding is about LOVE–having it all around you, being surrounded and smothered by it because this one day only is where everyone comes together despite everyday, chaotic lives. The only other time this many people can be united through one person is a funeral and weddings should pretty much be the exact opposite! Here’s hoping I can cut it down from half of Virginia to somewhere around the size of my city. Any suggestions for how you did it, or are planning to do that, for your wedding, I happily encourage the advice.