Who makes the cut?

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!

12 Responses to “Who makes the cut?”

  1. Evening gowns R us August 6, 2008 at 1:45 pm #

    Hehe.. very nice. The questions are pretty funny. If I had questioned my potential wedding guests, I would probably be alone with my to-be-wife on our wedding, lol.

  2. Stephanie August 6, 2008 at 2:10 pm #

    Rather than “I or my fiancee”, we asked, “Have we both met you?” Anyone that didn’t know us as a couple couldn’t make the list.

  3. KTB August 6, 2008 at 2:22 pm #

    How timely! One of my sorority sisters posted my (seriously unfinished) wedding website on her Facebook page, which is fine in theory. It became less fine when another sister, who isn’t invited to the wedding, left a comment on my guestbook page. Awkward! I called my friend and asked her to kill the link asap.

    I’m definitely on the “do you know both of us?” bandwagon. My mother just informed me that she wants to invite 10 more of her cousins, and I told her that we can do that, but I’m not bumping any of our friends off the list to accomodate them. I barely know these cousins, and Fiance’s never met any of them.

  4. Molly August 6, 2008 at 3:19 pm #

    I completely failed at this. My fiance and I made a rule that we wouldn’t invite anyone that we wouldn’t recognize if we ran into them on the street.

    Well, my grandmother insisted that I invite her three sisters, “but they probably won’t make the trip!” And my FMIL has been adding people to the list like crazy, frequently with the same disclaimer.

    Why should I invite someone who won’t come. Those invitations can get expensive!

  5. Toni August 6, 2008 at 3:36 pm #

    We solved this problem by finding an overly large venue, and providing the food ourselves for a buffet dinner. (We did hire someone to come and man the buffet tables for us so that no friends or family had to work on the day of.) I was running into old high-school friends literally the week of the wedding and was able to invite a whole batch of them last minute. When planning the wedding and choosing the venue, my two biggest concerns were “plenty of room to dance” and “the ability to invite whomever I (or my fiancee, or our families) want.”

  6. Dash August 6, 2008 at 4:36 pm #

    Holy moly, I just toted up the bf’s and my semi-immediate families (major SOs, first cousins, aunts/uncles, and grandparents included), and it’s already over 50 people. That is including literally no friends. How on earth do people have small weddings? Only children of only children? No one has ever divorced anyone (and gotten remarried)? The mind boggles.

  7. Wendy August 6, 2008 at 5:53 pm #

    We paid for our own wedding and were already anticipating about 200+ people, between family and friends and family friends, and then one day my MIL said to my husband “I haven’t decided yet whether I’m going to invite people from work.” That’s pretty much where we drew the line! The question I always wonder is why people who have never met either my husband or myself (such as people that my MIL works with that have no connection to us whatsoever) would even want to come to our wedding? I would feel really uncomfortable at a wedding where I didn’t even know the bride and groom, only a family member.

    On the other hand, I am attending a wedding this weekend where the guest list is exactly 100, no more no less, complete with A, B and C lists. I’d much rather have to pass a test to get an invite to a wedding than know that I was on the C list for one.

  8. Tizzy August 6, 2008 at 6:14 pm #

    If my guy and I invite just family that we see on a regular basis with no dates for singles we have 64 people. Course we have to invite more family than that because you can’t invite one sibling and not the other. And then we have to feed them all!!

    -Tizzy who is working on the first draft of her wedding budget

  9. class-factotum August 6, 2008 at 7:25 pm #

    That’s one of the reasons Chris and I wanted to elope. My aunts and uncles alone are 16. First cousins — without SOs — are 25. The aunts and uncles would all come, too.

    I couldn’t see inviting friends and not inviting at least aunts and uncles. Once we added first-level friends, without kids, we got up in the 70s.

    We were almost there with the eloping. I had convinced my mom to go with it as long as we had the marriage blessed at her wedding next year. (Yes, my mother did suggest a double wedding when she became engaged a few months ago. I don’t think there’s anything in the etiquette books addressing that little situation.)

    Chris’ mom and dad can’t stand me and he’s been married before, so we were hoping they would be OK with an elopement, too.

    Alas, ’twas not to be and now I am lying in bed sleepless as I think about having houseguests for two straight weeks.

  10. ER August 7, 2008 at 2:03 am #

    It too funny to ask such questions of your guests before the special day. Still, I wouldn’t do it!

  11. Cindy August 7, 2008 at 9:39 am #

    We’re definitely lucky to have limited our small wedding party to 70 people. We were able to say no to suggestions because we are footing the bill. That definitely stops people from adding their two cents when you hold the purse strings.

    I read the cnn list and think that we must have gone through the list unconsciously since most of the invitees can answer all of those questions!

  12. Melissa B. August 7, 2008 at 11:01 pm #

    Sigh … I’m definitely having the guest list blues right now. It’s very important to my fiance’s parents to be able to invite their entire social circle, which is absolute murder on the budget. They have offered to chip in to cover the cost of inviting all of their friends, however, and I adore them and know how important this is to them, so I think we’re going to go with the larger wedding. But in my ideal world, everyone there would be able to get that quiz at least 50% right!