Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What I wanted

Last week we realized our guest list had exploded.  Not just beyond-long-tables exploded, but beyond-seated-capacity-for-the-tent exploded.  I looked at the list again, and I thought about it, and there are maybe 20 people out of the 163 people that I'm not absolutely thrilled to be inviting.  Those people are either people I don't know (who are limited, and I do not mind inviting) or people I do know, but who don't seem to be very interested in making much of an effort to keep in touch with me.  (As in, I constantly invite them to things and they just can't be bothered to show up.)  So there are maybe four or five of those people, but I did not feel like I could not invite them. (Stupid. Just say no.)

Regardless, I thought of our friends whose parents invited so many people to their wedding that they couldn't invite more than ten of their friends.  I thought of people for whom an exploding guest list would be a disaster.  I thought of people I know who invited people without dates.  And I thought about that feeling I got two weeks ago, when the invitations went out.  That glowing, happy feeling I got, as I flipped through the invites thinking, "yes, I am glad this person will be here to witness our wedding."  That, "oh! I can't wait to see her and I can't believe she's coming all this way!"

And I remember the wedding I tried to plan originally.  The cheap, simple wedding in my church hall that would be catered by California Tortilla or Mama Lucia's so we didn't have to worry about cutting the guest list off at a certain point and we could invite people we genuinely care about and want there.*  That wedding is whispering over my shoulder as I uncomfortably wonder how to deal if my cousin in fact decides to fly in or a friend needs to bring a date.  It is whispering, "now you can have the wedding you wanted!!!!"

I'm not saying that I'm calling up Cal Tor.  We're sticking with our caterer; if we have to, we will modify the menu so that there are fewer hors d'oeuvres.  We can always buy cheaper wine (can anyone recommend a good cheap red?)  But we may choose to abandon reserved seating for anyone but family; we may have to abandon sit-down altogether.  We may go with more of a cocktail vibe, which Mark liked initially anyway.

It's also possible that more people won't be able to come than we thought, and that this won't be a problem at all.  But is people you liked showing up to a party ever really a problem?

*For the most part we're having that wedding anyway, we're just paying twice as much for it.  


  1. We served Trader Joe's house brand, Charles Shaw Australian Chiraz at our wedding ($2.99/bottle) and it got rave reviews!

  2. I'm sorry! Guest lists are such a source of stress. Ours is only not finalized in that we haven't figured out what to do about Plus Ones for single friends, and I agonize over it. They all say that you'll have X many declined invitations, but inviting more people than you can seat/afford to pay for is terrifying!

  3. I had this SAME problem with the exploding guest list. We wanted (and budgeted for) 160, and yet, we invited 200. I was having palpitations as the response cards came in and it seemed like EVERY SINGLE person was saying yes. But wouldn't you know it, this is one case where conventional wedding wisdom was actually correct and we are at exactly 160 (for my wedding on FRIDAY). We had 20% of our invited people say no.

  4. One place to try for cheap red wine may be Trinacria-- they always seem to have sales with bottles for $3.99 and have plenty of stock so picking up a few cases shouldn't be a problem.

  5. My MOH had more "yes" RSVPs than the seating capacity for her venue, and it worked out fine in the end -- she had some reserved seating for elderly guests and the wedding party, but otherwise, she lined the room with chairs and put some tall cocktail tables in the middle. Lots of mingling, lots of talking, lots of fun!

    And cheap reds: hmmm. Do you live near a Trader Joe's that sells alcohol, or can you drive to one? If not, I can still come up with some ideas. Frontera, a South American label, does some nice blends that run about $9 for a magnum (i.e., $4.50 a bottle).

  6. It's a blessing that so many people want to share the day with you, even if it means plans need changing. There's not much you can do until the RSVPs start showing up, so try to keep your mind off of it for now. You have a few backup ideas in mind, so try not to worry and just let whatever happens play out naturally. You'll have the wedding you were meant to have, even if it's not what the current plan is.

  7. We did a wine tasting with our friends to prep for the wedding. The Charles Shaw was a hit, as well as Yellow Tails Shiraz, and also their Cabernet-Shiraz Blend (about $5-6/bottle).

    At Corridor Fine Wine in Laurel you can get a case of the .75 liter YT's for $59.94 (plus tax, minus 10% bulk discount) or the big bottle 1.5 liter case for $65.88 (plus tax, minus 10% bulk discount). Hope that helps!