Deciding who will be invited to your wedding can be an endeavor fraught with peril and hurt feelings. To wit, The Beard and I originally intended to have a much smaller reception, with something like twenty-five people in attendance. The problem was that including only my immediate family already used up thirteen of the available slots. The Beard’s family is much smaller than mine, so he wanted to invite his boyhood friends to make up the difference…and if we were inviting his friends, we couldn’t exactly exclude our mutual friends.
The whole twenty-five people rule was eventually scrapped when my grandmother — whose property we were using for the ceremony and reception — handed me a list of the names and addresses of ALL my aunts, uncles, and cousins.
So how can you trim a guest list that is growing out of control? It isn’t always easy to be firm when your mom, dad, step parents, and grandparents are pleading with you to include so-and-so and his wife, even though you’ve never even met them. It’s even more difficult when one or more of these parties is footing the bill! Personally, I’d recommend sitting down with family members to explain that your budget doesn’t allow for unexpected additions to the guest list. Audrey Irvine of CNN came up with another solution…one that involves using a list of ten questions to disqualify potential attendees.
1. Name the city I’m living in now (Good one to weed folks out, especially if you have moved a lot. Don’t use this if you’ve lived in the same place for 10 years).
2. Name at least two of my closest friends.
3. Name my current employer and my past employer (Again, if you’ve remained in the same job for 15 years, this does not apply).
4. Do I have any kids?
5. Do you know the name of my fiancé? Bonus question: Where and when did we meet?
6. Do you know where my parents are and whether they are still alive? (Imagine a friend at your wedding asking how long have your parents been married when they divorced years ago).
7. Name at least two of my hobbies.
8. How old am I? (My favorite is when family friends would query, ‘Are you 28 now?” Imagine their surprise when I proclaimed, ‘yeah, 10 years ago!’)
9. Where did I go to college? (Some people might not remember whether you attended college or even graduated.)
10. Name my last boyfriend before this engagement. Bonus question: if you can name the last two and why we broke up. If you get the bonus question right, that might automatically get you in.
According to her system, those who can answer more than half these question correctly get invites while those who can get less than fifty percent don’t make the cut. The folks who answer half correctly make the waiting list, whatever that means. The comments, as usual for CNN, are the best part of the article. Scruffy writes: “I can just see the quiz for men….. “Can you name the MVP of Superbowl XXL?” What bar were we at when I vomited on the road trip to Chicago”? (Bonus if you can name what I was drinking)”
While I would never, ever recommend actually quizzing potential guests, you yourself probably have a good idea of whether or not suggested invitees will actually take something meaningful away from your wedding. That way, when your step dad begs you to invite his best friend from college who lives five states away, you can say something like, “I’ve never met him, he doesn’t know anything about me, and I doubt if he could pick my fiancé out of a lineup!”
Commenter Jeff had an even better idea…”We used a one-question quiz: ‘Have my fiancee or I ever met you before?’, and instantly pared 24 co-workers and acquaintances of our parents from the guest list.”
Sounds good to me!