When it comes to getting hitched, there are two universal truths; it will cost more than you think and your initial guest list will have more people on it than you even thought you knew. You’ll probably start out planning a “small to medium” wedding, figuring you couldn’t possibly have more than a hundred or so close friends and family between you, right? A hundred sounds like a lot, until you break it down into tables of ten. And before you know it, that seemingly big enough room in the small-ish venue you had your heart set on, is blown totally out of the water.
At this point, you have two choices; go big, or go ruthless. You’ve probably heard the expression ‘it’s your day’ ad nauseum, but let’s stop and think about what that actually means for a second. What is this even about? Why are you doing it? Yes, you’re marrying the love of your life, but you could do that on a Tuesday morning at the local registry office. You’re celebrating your marriage because you want just that - a celebration. And parties are about nothing more than enjoying yourself and creating memories. With that in mind, here's our Dragon's Den style guide to who's in, and who's definately out.
The quickest way to start is by listing all the people you absolutely couldn’t bear to leave out. Your immediate family are totes obvs bbz, as are your besties. This is the A-Team, strictly non-negotiable, YES list. That was easy, right? We’ve made a good start.
Your college gang, a rake of first cousins and the work mates you hang about with outside office hours - you’d invite every last one of these if you could, but you realise you may need to whittle the list down on the next round of counting.
Sitting firmly on the other end of the spectrum are those you’re probably referring to as the ‘maybe nots’. You can waste time stressing about it, changing your mind back and forth, or you can just cut to the chase and call them nos. Take a deep breath in and breath that guilt right out - these are the five people you really don’t have to invite to your wedding.
Sure, he’s really cool and he gave you a chance when nobody else would. You even enjoy a sporadic lunch date together. But most people have a work persona and a private one and never the twain shall meet. A good rule of thumb is: if you wouldn’t invite them to a party in your gaff, then there’s probably no need to invite them to your wedding.
You know the one I mean. The one who’s rude to your Mum. The one who’s volatile at family gatherings. The scene maker, the (too much) drink taker and the nerve shaker. Are you really going to strike a friend off the list in their favour? After all, they’re not renowned for considering how their actions affect everyone else, so why should you toss and turn about their feelings? Remember, this is about you having fun and nothing should be allowed to spoil that. If you come across resistance within the family about your decision, simply explain that you don’t have the room.
Unless you were the best of friends before you ever dated or broke up ten years ago, there’s really no need. I’m all for good relations, living in harmony and shiny happy people, but there are few cases where this won’t feel weird. You might be SO over it, but if there’s any danger at all that your spouse-to-be feels funny about it...strike, you’re out! Your ex will completely understand, and if they don’t? Then I’m even more right than I thought.
THE RETURN FAVOUR
That lovely school friend you no longer see invited you to her wedding, so you toddled along with your other half and made small talk with the table-mates you’d never met before. It was a lovely day and now you have to invite her to yours, right? Wrong. She obviously had the space to invite people she isn’t super close to, but she’ll understand if you don’t’.
YOUR PALS’ PARENTS
We all love our friend’s folks, but inviting everyone’s parents too is effectively giving your guests a plus three – a luxury not many can afford. (This obviously doesn’t apply to your best mate’s Mum who “practically raised” you. You and her have a date with the dancefloor and Gangnam Style at midnight, fo’ sho’.)
So, there you have it. Ruthless as it might seem, you can’t invite everyone. If niggling guilt creeps in, keep this thought in mind: you’re not the only person getting married this year and it might actually be a relief for some to not have to shell out for another frock/wedding gift. Red pens at the ready – it’s time to cull!
Illustrations by Rachel Corcoran