the guest list: part 1

After spending two-plus hours on Sunday night organizing, stuffing, sealing and stamping our wedding invitations, we appear to be in the home stretch of dealing with our guest list.

Envelopes, invites, brunch, rehearsal, RSVP postcards...

I'm gonna go ahead and say it: figuring out who's invited to your wedding is a huge pain in the ass.

It starts with you and your fiance(e) compiling your list of friends while both sets of parents do the same. If your families are anything like ours, both mothers will come back with a list of, oh, I don't know, 300+ people each? Then begins the arduous process of standing with a whip over your mothers as you force them to narrow it down to their chosen few. Give yourself a few months for this.

As I've mentioned before, it's imperative to have at least a working number of guests before you plan almost anything for your wedding. Headcount determines venue, cost, even photographer and videographer fees (generally if you have over a certain amount of guests, they'll require you to hire an assistant to make sure more of the action is captured). We have had more than a few slip-ups because of dawdling on our final headcount, most notably running out of save the dates. Oops.

We actually didn't arrive at our total number until a few weeks ago, so don't stress if you're adding or subtracting people up until you order your invitations. But take it from us, determine your exact headcount before ordering invites.

In addition to the overall list of wedding guests, you might find yourself with subsets. For Mike and me, our main wedding event is about 300 people: there was no chance everyone was scoring an invite to the rehearsal dinner and day-after brunch, as much as we would have liked to include everyone. There is overlap between the dinner attendees and brunch guests, but both of these are, in fact, separate (but equal!) lists. We thought about creating unique RSVP cards for each possibility (wedding and brunch, rehearsal dinner and wedding, etc.), but even my rudimentary knowledge of sophomore year statistics told me this was going to be a huge cluster fuck.

Our solution? One postcard-style RSVP (self-addressed and stamped, plus cheaper because there's no envelope!), plus individual cards for the brunch and the rehearsal dinner. Guests that were invited to one of the other two events will receive a card with the info and an RSVP email address. Therefore there's a small group that will receive an invite with four pieces of stationery: invitation, RSVP card, brunch invite and rehearsal dinner. I'm not sure if this was the most elegant solution, but it proved to be the cheapest and meant we could add certain people in even last minute. To those of you that didn't make the cut for the day-before or day-after festivities: I promise we will feed you enough the night of the wedding that you won't mind. And know that if funds and space had been unlimited, we would have loved to have celebrated with you all. Well, almost all of you.


A note on email RSVPs: we decided that the rehearsal dinner and brunch were relaxed enough that it wasn't necessary to require everyone to send their acceptance/regrets via snail mail. Bonus: We save on stamps and get to create the requisite cheesy email address.

Next up in part 2: how to organize everything into Excel! Dorkalicious!

the guest list part 2: how to organize everything

the last supper