With our wedding coming up soon (five months to go!), the time has come to send out wedding invitations very soon. While this brings lots of joy with it, it also brings a fair amount of anxiety, and not because of a bridezilla, family drama, or the cost. (At least, not only because of the cost.)
No, one of the largest sources of anxiety is the subject of who gets an invitation, and whether or not guests are allowed to bring someone with them.
The harsh reality is that we’re renting out a private venue, and it only holds a finite number of people. And for a couple like Sal and me, who have each lived in several places and have loved ones all over, we hit that maximum occupancy number very quickly in our planning.
It truly was a difficult process, figuring out who we could invite and who we couldn’t. Obviously the first place you start is with close relatives (parents, siblings, etc.) and the “chosen family” that have been a deep part of your life for as long as you can remember. Close friends you’ve traveled with together as a couple are also an easy go-to list, as are friends that are close enough to have visited you from out of town and hosted you to visit them in return.
From there, it gets trickier; there are people with whom you’ve been close in years past but don’t see much of now, people you’ve only recently met but feel like you’ll be close with forever, and hundreds of others that fall somewhere in between. Of course, the candidate slate becomes massive for sociable people like us.
Do you invite the cousin that you haven’t seen in years and years, but who is still inarguably family? Do you invite the friend from college that you once felt incredibly close with, but haven’t shared a proper conversation with outside of a Facebook “like” in years? What about the work friend that you’re very close with and have been for years, but your fiancé hasn’t ever met?
And of course, the bane of wedding guest lists: can the individuals you invite bring a “plus one” if they don’t have a significant other that you’ve already invited?
For our planning purposes, we had to work very hard to whittle down the guest list from our originally staggering number to one that wouldn’t get the venue closed by the fire marshall. (And that’s not even taking into account the atrocious cost-per-person of a wedding in New York City.) Because I’m the over-sharing sort, I thought I’d write about that process.
- If Sal or I wanted to invite someone, but the other had never met the person despite having dated for six years, traveled extensively for most of that time, and lived together for five years, the person immediately moved from the definite list and onto a “discuss” list. Meeting someone for the first time at a wedding isn’t ideal — there ought to be a pretty good reason why you’ve never met in six years, and/or why they should still be invited regardless. This is a celebration to share with the people who’ve been part of our relationship over the years, not an opportunity to meet new people… mostly.
- If we haven’t heard a peep out of someone in the two and a half years that we’ve been living in New York City, they’re going to the “discuss” list. Are you really a significant part of our lives still if you haven’t initiated a single conversation with at least one of us in all that time?
- If you just started dating your significant other recently and we’ve never met, there’s a good chance that they won’t be invited; we have too many people we couldn’t invite because of space constraints, so denying them a place at our wedding so you can bring someone new in your life doesn’t seem very fair.
And while we’re on the subject, please keep in mind a few things:
- If we did invite your significant other and he or she isn’t able to make it, no, you cannot simply bring a substitute. See the previous point: we have lots of people we couldn’t invite, and while we wanted your significant other to attend (or we wouldn’t have invited him/her) that doesn’t mean some other person we didn’t invite gets precedence over a person we wanted to invite but didn’t have space for.
- Do not even joke about crashing the wedding or bringing someone who will. That shit ain’t funny, and it’s a good way to ensure that the last time you ever see me is as you’re being thrown out on your ass.
- Please remember that this is incredibly stressful for us and if you or your significant other weren’t invited, we almost certainly discussed it and were really sad to have to say no.
- This wedding is supposed to be one of the happiest occasions of our lives. Kindly do not add stress or drama to it.
- If we weren’t able to invite you, especially if you live in the NYC area or travel here, please know that we will be delighted to celebrate with you at another time. Really.
This wasn’t anywhere near as straightforward or cut-and-dry as the above notes suggest. It was really difficult, and it caused no small amount of sadness and even disagreement between us. We would’ve loved to have had room (and budget) to invite everyone with whom we’ve ever shared a joyful laugh or a happy hug, but unfortunately that just wasn’t an option.
Whether you’re able to join us for the actual wedding event or not, let’s make plans to catch up or hang out soon, m’kay?