Tag Archives: wedding guests

Let’s be ReaLISTic

Creating your guest list is no different from many other projects as you will start with a monumental idea only to realize the need for a more practical outcome. Whether you are planning a small, intimate ceremony or one to which you invite hundreds, there are some that should NEVER be included and others whom there is no obligation to extend an invitation to.  Here are just a few of those….

Certainly, there are people you see often and seemingly know every detail of your life, whether your manicurist, co-worker, boss etc. Therefore, you have had conversations about your upcoming marriage and perhaps each aspect of the planning process. However, neither that knowledge nor the amount of time spent together necessitate an invite.

There is no need to include all members of your family as, most likely, you have relatives with whom you don’t keep in contact with unless via holiday cards or see every few years if you happen to pass through their town or attend a family reunion. A great way to include them in your celebration (while alleviating feelings of guilt) is to send them an announcement along with a photo and personalized note.

It goes without saying that you exes belong in the “should NEVER be invited” category even if you have been apart for years and remain friends. Perhaps he/they has moved on as well but there is no assurance that seemingly long gone emotions won’t be stirred up. However, you can likely guarantee that his/their attendance would create an uncomfortable situation for your fiancé.

Plus ones are often expected to be included as some feel more comfortable attending an event which is a celebration of love, happiness and unity with their significant other rather than going alone. Of course, you should encourage your close family and friends to bring a guest. However, if you are not including certain relatives or others with whom you spend much of your time, there is no requirement to surround yourself with people you have never met.

Friends from high school with whom you only exchange occasional hellos with on social media, neighbors and friends of friends also fall into the “should NEVER be invited” category as you would not expect them to attend, mind if they didn’t or notice if they did. Also, it may seem as if their inclusion is merely an attempt to get more gifts as many do feel obliged to respond to an invitation in such a manner.

Chances are that you have heard all about weddings that you were not invited to and probably didn’t even give a second of thought to it. It is your day to be surrounded by those who mean the most to you. Including many who are either strangers or acquaintances casts a shadow over the value of ones you hold nearest and dearest.

First of All

When wedding planning, regardless of the hours spent or attention paid to details, it is almost guaranteed there will be glitches and unexpected occurrences you won’t be prepared for. Neither micromanaging nor being completely obsessed will ensure flawlessness.

You can easily be consumed with every facet which detracts from the joy when walking down the aisle as you may obsess thinking of every detail you are seeing. It is not a reflection of your lack of love and should not make you question your decision. It should instead be a sign that you need to take a deep breath, relax and realize that, even if everything that could go wrong does, you’ve made the absolutely right choice for you.

Despite having a photographer, some guests will want to take photos or videos on their phones and get in the way of the professional shots. One recommendation is to include in your invitations that there is a “no photos” policy. It is simple to kindly say that photos will be distributed once developed but someone has been hired to take on the task and, while you appreciate the interest and effort, you have control of that aspect.

Often, you will have a recently married friend who is now an expert on everything involved and suddenly become a dispensary of unwanted/inappropriate advice without regard to the fact that it is YOUR day. Sweetly tell her that, while her wedding was lovely and you appreciate her advice, you have a different style and have made choices that are perfect for you.

Unfortunately you will likely find someone who is consumed with jealousy and bitterness over their own relationship history. The best way to handle him/her is to have a private conversation, ask if they would like a particular song played or find other small ways to make them feel special and included.

No wedding will be exactly as you’ve dreamed of but it will always turn out perfect in the end and it is the mishaps that you can look back on which make it even more than what you imagined.  

I’d Rather be Apart from You

Each guest at your wedding realizes their meaning solely based on having been invited (even those who are plus ones). A kind gesture is to take it a step further to both demonstrate your personalities and uniquely individualizes your union from any other.

  1. As each person arrives, have a fresh flower pin or hair clip for women and miniature boutonniere for the men each with a personalized name tag. Doing so shows thoughtfulness and creates a sense of congruency for group photos.
  2. Rather than a rose or sand ceremony, plant the seeds of your favorite flower together during your ceremony. It’s a fantastic recognition of the new journey you are embarking on and will serve as a reminder as you watch it grow and flourish.
  3. Provide a variety of colored pennant flags as your guests enter along with markers so as to write a single word on. It will fill the gap prior to the ceremony beginning but, more importantly, while you typically imagine leaving the venue to flower petals or rice, your married life will begin with waving of personalized and handwritten wishes.
  4. Rather than opting for typical banners, consider making your own. While needing to know the dimensions in order to hang them, the options are limitless in terms of what they could show. You could create collages of images with all of those you invited to make them feel appreciated or solely two of special moments with your fiancé.

When you start to plan your wedding, your mind goes immediately to what you’ve seen on TV, what you grew up dreaming of etc., but there are so many ways you can blend both tradition and personalization in ways that not only make it feel like your special day but also as if a very special day for each of your invitees.

My Site is Set on You

Likely, your initial thought when choosing who to celebrate your marriage with is to include everyone who has ever meant anything to you in your life. Then reality sets in, you realize your fiancé has a guest list as well and that, as the number goes up, so do your expenses, forcing you to reallocate your budget.

There are many reasons for selecting a venue among those being a place with sentimental value, somewhere you just happened upon and had a feeling about or a location which may not be your first choice but will accommodate the numbers of guests you have invited.

While every person you do invite most likely hopes to attend, not everyone will be able to. Some may immediately let you know via your RSVP cards but others cannot predict unforeseen circumstances and cannot inform you until much closer to the date.

One thing to consider is the number of guests coming from out-of-town. If they are family or very close to you, the likeliness of attendance is much higher than if they are friends from college for example. Typically, when averaging the two, approximately 55% of those coming from different locations will actually be present.

Local invitees are much more prone to commemorate your day with you so expect relatively 90% of those to attend. However, something may occur which keeps them from attending as well.

Therefore, your site should be chosen not by the capacity it is able to accommodate according to the number of invitations you send out (given it is not significantly less) but rather by what feels right and seems to be the ideal location. After all, if your heart is set on one particular place, modifications can always be made so as to execute what you’ve dreamed of.

How to Invite You…

As you know, each and every aspect of a wedding takes more time and energy than you realized prior to planning your own. It is easy to get caught up in the small details and obsess over everything but fortunately there are some things that come with “instructions.” No matter how unique and different you want your day to be, some things tend to always be the same but don’t take anything away from setting you apart. One of those things is the information included on your invitations as you can be as creative as you want with the design but the wording should follow “protocol.”

Address: It is important to acknowledge that some of the people you invite to your wedding will be from out-of-town and unfamiliar with the area. While you and most of your guests will know the streets and how to get to the venue, the visitors won’t. While it is not necessary to include the exact street or zip code of your location, it is important to include the name and city. As for those from other cities, a great way to make sure they get to your ceremony without them getting lost along the way is to suggest a few hotels that are nearby and then simply include maps from each one. That way, you don’t have to personalize every invitation with an applicable map nor do you leave them finding a place to stay in an unknown area.

Acknowledgements: Regardless of who is hosting your wedding, it is imperative that those who are receive recognition on your invitations. For example, if your parents are taking care of things, you should mention that they are the ones who request your presence. If the parents of both you and your fiancé are involved, each need to be recognized and should be named. If the affair is one that is being handled solely by yourself and your future husband, what is appropriate is to simply say both of your names and that you request their presence.

Formalities: Typically, numbers on your invitation are spelled out. For example, instead of 7:30 P.M., you should write seven-thirty in the evening. If your wedding is very casual, it is acceptable to use P.M. but if it is more formal, even the letters should be reworded and written out. It is also a good idea to include on your invites a date by which you want an RSVP. That way, you can easily have an accurate estimation of the space you need for the ceremony as well as helping you budget the cost of the reception.

Be whimsical. Have fun and show off your personality when asking your guests to join you for your big day. However, be aware of the information that needs to be included as well as how invitations usually are worded regardless of whether you have chosen to be formal or informal, whether there are only a few guests or a few hundred, whether you have chosen the daytime or the evening or anything else.

Trend-Me

When it comes to preparing for your wedding, what initially seems fun and easy can quickly become overwhelming and stressful with you realizing that you don’t even know where to begin. One place to do just that is by reading up on the current trends for points of inspiration, but keeping them as that…points of inspiration. You don’t want to look back and realize that you chose elements simply because they were “hip” thing at the time or that you omitted things that were important by going along with what was popular in the moment. However, by considering and being aware of what is new and in style, you have a great jumping off point for ways to show your personality and a solidification that you are no longer expected to follow the traditions of generations past.

Put it in print. In the past, weddings have been infamous for bridesmaids and groomsmen wear a single, matching color (many of which are standard and/or drab), but times are changing. Don’t be afraid to choose shirts, ties or dresses with prints, stripes or any other type of design, whether singularly or in combination. The possibilities are endless, fun and a great display of your personality (not to mention a pleasant surprise for your guests). While mint continues to be a very popular shade, your imagination is now the limit in reference to color options. If you choose not to use every color in the rainbow and stick to a single one, have some fun by making it bold and bright instead of keeping it muted.

LESS is more. The focus is on ceremonies in smaller venues with a fewer number of invitees in attendance. The focus is shifting from the prominence of the location and decorations to a more minimalistic approach that spotlights the bride and groom and the reasons for the ceremony. It is easy for guests to get caught up in the flowers, the number of bridesmaids or trying to figure out who everyone is and how they know the couple. Then, the ceremony has ended and the meaning behind it has been lost. If you want to have the ambiance of a small and intimate ceremony but are having difficulty whittling down the guest list, utilize the option of streaming your ceremony online. That way, those who are closest and most important are physically present while distant friends and relatives can share your day with you in a different way.

Go back in time. What was once old is new again. There is an emergence of vintage elements which can either create a feeling from the past or can be incorporated and used in a modern and fresh way. Wear a lace gown in a modern silhouette with a strand of pearls or a dress that is a shade of ivory in place of stark white. Don’t shy away from the notion of a gown with a higher neckline or sleeves. Both can be done in beautiful fabrics that are not opaque or stifling but instead add a touch of elegance that is fresh and unique. Keep in mind that there is a world of difference between vintage and retro and that vintage does not mean used or “pre-owned.”

The most popular trend, by far, is to have fun and do things your way. If you imagine yourself walking down the aisle in a canary colored dress, wear a canary colored dress. If your best friend is a male, let him stand up as your man of honor instead of choosing someone you’re not as close to simply because they’re female. Don’t walk down the aisle to “Here Comes the Bride” if there’s another song you prefer. After all, your wedding day is just that, YOUR day. Let your personality shine and give your guests a sense of you who you are. After all, it is important that you can look back on your wedding day without regrets and knowing that you celebrated in a way that was absolutely perfect for you.

Lest You Forget…

Without fail, every couple has people they would like to have at their wedding who cannot be present physically for a variety of reasons. Some are not in attendance due to budget constraints or prior commitments etc., but whatever the reason, they by no means are less important to either the bride or groom. Additionally, they are certainly sharing the occasion mentally and/or spiritually. Here are some creative and different ways to include absent friends and family in your ceremony.

Depending on whose friend or family member is absent, it is simple to take a swatch of clothing from one of their garments and stitch it inside either your wedding gown or your fiance’s suit or tuxedo. Not only is it a very personal way for either of you to feel close to that individual but it is something that can be removed and act as a keepsake of your wedding day.

Another unique way to keep someone close who is physically distant nearby is through a locket. You can take a photograph and enclose it in a small locket which can be attached to your bouquet, either to the ribbon or on the flower stems. This is another private reminder that will only be known to those you choose to share it with. If the person is someone who is of importance to your future spouse, the small picture can easily be incorporated into a pair of cuff links. Both of these, much like the swatch of fabric, can serve as keepsakes for you.

Some couples would rather their guests be aware of those who are absent, yet in a subtle way. A perfect way to accomplish this is by including each name and a small, general explanation as to why they are listed at the bottom of the wedding program. If you prefer, you and your fiance can write a few words about each individual in reference to their importance.

Flowers are yet another simple method and can be done in a variety of ways. On one end of the spectrum, you can plan all of your floral arrangements around the favorite flower of the special person/people. A less extreme way is to include a single flower in your bouquet or have it act as your future husband’s boutonniere. If you are not aware of that person’s preference or are looking for something clever and unique, include a single Forget-Me-Not in your arrangement or as the flower your fiance wears.

Although there are countless reasons people may not be at your wedding ceremony, as you can see, there are many ways (of which these are just a few) to honor those individuals and show that you remember them. However, by far the best way is simply knowing that they are occupying a special place in your heart.