"Recently engaged, my fiance' and I are trying to come up with a guest list. Our ideal wedding is small & intimate, but we are feeling overwhelmed because our families are telling us to include people we barely know. We want to make everyone happy, but its just not what we want. Any advice?"
Ohh Jen, first off, Congratulations, You are engaged!! This is a really amazing time in your life. Try not to lose sight of that. Next, breathe. The initial planning of guest list, budget, venue & date were some of the most stress provoking parts of the whole process. At the end, regardless of the guest list, you are going to look back and think of how wonderful a day it was. It is nice to try and want to make everyone happy, but the most important is to not lose sight of what YOUR ideal wedding is. You dont actually have to follow what they say unless of course they are paying for it, in which case it gets a bit stickier. The first thing I would do is ask both of your families to come up with a list of who they think should be invited and then ask them to prioritze the list into two or three groups depending on the total. Tell them to label the absolute musts (Think Grandma, Sister, etc) with a number 1 and then the remaining guests with a number 2 and/or 3, etc. This will cut down on the random, sporadic, late night calls from your parents or in laws that are likely to drive you insane. Once you get those lists, communicate calmly that you guys are going to do your best to ensure that the most people you can will be included. The key to keeping yourself sane is communication with your families. Rather then get angry and frustrated with them (which you are likely to feel numerous times throughout the process), try and express and communicate why you are feeling the way you are and think proactively about what can be done.In the meantime, you and fiance should come up with a list of friends and be sure to tackle the plus one or no plus one dilemma that you are sure to face.
Once you get the two lists, you and fiance can put together an excel sheet with all the prioritized number 1's. Count it up and see how manageable that is. If it seems like you can make it to the number 2's then add them in, and work with those. If people then need to be cut, call the families up, express why it looks as though some of the number 2's(and/or 3's) can't be included and then ask their opinion on who out of those people are the most important to them. Including them in the process and asking their opinion will allow them to feel as though they are playing a part in it, reducing some of the frustration they might be expressing. There is also always the B -List option which means you can send people invites after you have recieved some no responses, but this often gets messy
Hopefully this helps! Best of Luck! and remember, wedding planning and sanity is all about compromise. If it means a lot to your Mom that Aunt whats-her-name is there, maybe you can budge just a little in order to move on and get started with planning the fun stuff!!
Any of our other readers who have dealt with similiar instances have any advice to offer Jen ?