The Tales of the Daunting Guest List
Ohhhh, the dreaded guest list. The task of deciding who gets to partake in the most glorious moment of your lives, and who essentially gets the shaft. Your audience sets the tone for the whole shebang - so yes, it's kinda an integral part to the planning process! Read on to see how Sugi and I decided on our guest lists... spoiler alert - it wasn't easy!
Nicole + Dustin's Guest List
When it comes to your wedding, it's hard to stay in budget. It really is. Everyone always says... whatever you have in mind, double it. This was the case for Dustin and I. Although we stayed close to our initial budget, it ended up costing us a few thousand more. The main reason - our freaking guest count! We invited 268 people (I wish we were joking). Despite the fact that we're doing it in a backyard, serving BBQ, and having it on a Friday - it's turning out to be way more than anticipated (and we still have 2 months left).
Adding up the costs for food, chairs, tables, mailing expenses and all the other tidbits for 268 guests gets down right ridiculous. If we kept it to 100 people, it would have been half the cost! But, we both have huge families. Dustin has 9 aunts and uncles, and a truckload of cousins. I have 10 immediate aunts and uncles - plus my mom's aunts and uncles who (in Filipino culture) are also my aunts and uncles, and enough cousins to populate a small village. So it was either, keep it small and invite immediate family and closest friends only (and hurt half our relatives)... or just go all out and invite the whole damn lot. We took a beat and asked ourselves, "do all these people mean something to us, and do we want them there to witness our marriage." When we realized the answer was yes, we invited the whole damn lot! And, even at 268 guests we easily could have invited more. Bonkers, I f'ing know!
It was so hard far us to choose who "deserves" to go (we're still struggling with it!). We know we've hurt/offended some people by not inviting them. We have friends, parents' friends, neighbors, and coworkers we did not invite. But you guys... we had to draw the line somewhere! Basically it came down to this... if we've never hung out one-on-one, or if you've never called us on the phone, or even texted us separately from group chats - you ain't getting no stinking invite! We get along with literally EVERYONE! Not trying to brag or anything, but it's true. We're people persons. We would absolutely love to invite everyone we know - fun acquaintances, distant friends, parents of friends, neighbors, co-workers, shoot - even friends' kids... but reality is we can't, and to be quite frank, shouldn't have to. And we are sorry. But that's just how it the cookie crumbles.
Thank god no one has straight up asked me if they could come to the wedding! I have had a couple of my single friends ask if they are getting a plus one - which they realized was rude and immediately apologized. But not a lot of people know that that isn't cool! There have also been times when I've bumped into people who haven't been invited... and when they ask me how wedding planning is going I just say "Great!" and change the subject as quickly as possible before they ask any more details. Luckily, everyone is super chill about it... but I just feel bad. However, I do realize that this is just the way it works. You can't please everyone - you can only please yourself. After all, these people are the ones who get to witness me and Dustin promise our lives to each other. This isn't just a big party... it's our wedding day. And if you got invited, you better know it's because you sincerely mean something to us. All 268 of you.
"STAY TRUE. DO YOU!" is what I keep telling myself. And doggone it, that's what we're gonna do - and that's what I advise every bride going through this to do as well.
Derek + Sugi's Guest List
Honestly, we lucked out. Both of our parents don't really collect friends the way Derek and .. well the way I do. With the exception of family friends that have either watched us grow up or that have actually been a part of our lives, we didn't really get any requests for estranged family friends. There were even some of my parents' friends I considered inviting and my parents said it wasn't necessary .. umm SCORE! Our families are reasonably sized, so we also didn't really have to worry about whether or not we'd invite that one second or third cousin you never talk to! I even felt comfortable enough inviting certain cousins over others that are in the same immediate family. I swear, the moment you make a decision and just hold firm to it, it's empowering to be able to say NO even if you don't necessarily have to. You'd hope that most people respect the process.
We probably had more "drama" within our own circle of friends. Examples below..
1. Make a list and check it twice... and maybe a third time and a fourth time.. It took me probably 3 rounds of going through Facebook, phone contacts, you name it to make sure we did not forget anybody! And of course.. I forgot people... quite a few people. Sooo yeah be prepared for that. The older we get, it's just so hard to keep track of all the things. Just be aware that you might completely forget people and it's okay... just try to remember before the big day and have a good recovery story.
2. Since when did it become okay for people to ask you if they can come to your wedding? I was at a party with mutual friends, and the ever popular topic of wedding planning came up. (Because, you know, we're at that point in our lives when everyone is getting married and apparently none of us know what else to talk about.) I was having a conversation with a friend I hadn't seen in a while, and mid sentence, she blurted out, "Can I come to your wedding?!" I awkwardly said, ".....Yeah of course!", because I was so taken a back. But, I realized later how fucked up that was. Thank goodness I never hang out with that person, because I decided that I could easily just not send an invite. Which is what happened and I don't really feel that awkward about it! But anyhoo... what the fuck right?
3. There were a few people that assumed they could bring a +1. I'm not talking about friends that have significant others that we don't know. We're not assholes! I'm talking about people who straight up wanted to bring Tinder dates to my wedding. N to the F-U-C-K... O! I'm talking about my sister (love you lots, I swear) who asked me if she could invite her best friend (whom I've never met before) when she realized her boyfriend (who I barely even know) couldn't attend. I am well aware that you, my dear friends and sister, don't know what's kosher when it comes to wedding stuff. I understand that there might not be any context or awareness, and I'm merely pointing out how this might come across to the bride and groom to be. Think about it... We've spent countless hours making decisions over frivolous details to create an experience that is so incredibly intimate. We have invited an exclusive mix of friends and family (and vendors for that matter.. yes, all the vendors are my friends!) to be a part of something really special. For Derek and I, openly sharing our love with the world is a big fucking deal. (Prime example... we hate PDA. I think even some of our closest friends have only seen us actually kiss once.)
So, the last thing I want is for some random chick you hooked up with 2 times to come drink and eat on our dime and share in this experience that only a select few get to witness. If your boyfriend can't come, you bet your ass I'm inviting the next person on the "maybe" list. At this point it's not even about the money. It's about the moment. It's about the connections. It's the meticulously curated group of people. The only random allowed to come was hired to babysit my grandma... So while I want might want that comfort or security blanket, just remember it's not actually about you, k? :)
Look, I don't want to come off as a bridezilla. I'm actually super chill about it all. In hindsight none of these guest list problems were actual problems for us, but these are the little details that go into the wedding process that you may not be prepared for or aware of. So for this, you are welcome.
All in all, you get to choose who you want to be surrounded by on the day you and yours promise to spend the rest of your lives together. You have to stay true to who you are, and what you want. F all the noise and people's unwanted opinions. You are getting married. MARRIED, PEOPLE! It's a huge freaking deal! It's a very intimate moment that should only be shared with those you truly want to share it with.
Oh .... and if you do show up uninvited, you better read this sign: