the guest list part 2: how to organize everything

Mike looks proud of himself in this photo because he has mastered Excel. Also, my flowers are lovely.


For part 1, click here.

I have thanked my lucky stars nearly every day since starting to plan our wedding that Mike's mastery of Excel rivals my encyclopedic knowledge of the royal families of northern Europe. He is the self-appointed guardian of the guest list and has filled our charts with formulas of which any professor of Potions would be beamingly proud.

Quick digression: my very first job in New York was as an assistant media planner at Universal McCann. When I was applying, they asked if I were proficient in Excel. I said yes, OF COURSE. I wasn't actually lying: I didn't know there was a difference between that and Word other than that Excel had little boxes you could put numbers in.

Anyway, Mike knows gazillions of short cuts for Excel and is even one of those people that can navigate his computer screen without using his mouse. I find this extremely sexy in a weird way. Ergo, I literally email him when I want to make a change to the guest list; I do not touch it myself.

It's pretty daunting to start formatting your guest list from scratch. I wouldn't say our version is the ultimate, but I thought I'd share in case it helps with your own spreadsheet woes.

We've set up our sheet with the following tabs (that means a page, in Excel speak):

1) Overall headcount. This is self-explantory, but we've fleshed it out with all the relevant info about each person or group. Besides their names, we have the additional columns: which category the guests fall under (Lewin family, Izon family, etc), whether they are invited to the brunch and/or rehearsal dinner, presents they've generously bought us (and whether we have sent the thank you) and their address.

Mike was then able to format additional columns that automatically populate with those invited to various wedding events. To put it more simply: we have lists of people invited to the brunch, rehearsal dinner, my coronation, etc that can be instantly updated with changes made in the general spreadsheed thanks to cool Excel magic. This is a super easy way to keep track of our numbers. I don't know how to do it myself, but I thiiiink you say, "Expecto Patronum."

2) Formatted addresses. If you're having your envelopes printed rather than hand addressing them or having them calligraphied (Blogger doesn't think that's a word...), you'll need to provide formatted addresses to your printer. Generally this means each line of the address goes in a separate column, but check with your printer first.

3) Wedding party and sponsors. Since we are communicating more with this group, they get their own special place.

4) Hotel room blocks. This is organized by hotel as well as the name of the person who made the reservation. We try and update it every few weeks so we know exactly how many people we're expecting.

Once we start receiving our RSVPs, we'll add these to the overall headcount tab and that will be the main way we keep track of who's attending.

Our next cataract of the Nile in terms of guest list? Figuring out seating charts. Cue sharp intake of breath. Luckily, we have at least a month before knuckling down to that...

how mike found his tux shirt

the guest list: part 1