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How do you decide who to invite?!?!

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Kelli

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My sister and I have a dance studio of 200+ people. Some of the dancers have been with us for several years, so naturally they''ve become kind of like family. Of course there are some people we''d like to have there, it would be wrong of us not to invite them. But then it turns into "if I invite this family, then I have to invite THOSE familes, and that could get WAAAYY out of hand. There isn''t a clear cut off of who should or should not be on the guest list, and I really can''t afford a gigantic wedding. I''m sure everyone has their own issues when deciding and I''d love to know how you guys decided who made the cut?
 

Haven

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This is a tough situation, I totally understand that.

We only invited people who are true friends. By true friends, I mean people we socialize with outside of our professional lives, people we call when we have big news to share, people we have programmed into our cell phone contact lists, etc.

My husband has clients he''s been working with for nearly a decade, and at first he thought he had to invite them all to our wedding, but he didn''t. Some of those clients have become real friends, and others are just friends on a professional level. I think it''s a slippery slope to begin inviting people simply because you''ve worked with them for a long time and you''re friendly when you see them at work. I know it''s tough, but remember that unless they really are real friends of yours, they won''t be upset at not being invited to the wedding, anyway.

Congrats on your upcoming marriage!
 

FrekeChild

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We're inviting immediate family and friends who we talk to on at least a monthly basis. Almost all of our friends are people we see or talk to every single day. This kept our numbers below 40. Then again, if my dad had been ok with me not inviting my brothers and their families, we would have had less than 30.

ETA: There are a total of 3 people that FI works with that he is inviting. They are people we go hang out with on a regular basis, go to dinner with, and have been to their houses. These are the people that knew about our engagement within a week (I think it was more like 2 days, but whatever). Others that had been close, or whatever, aren't invited. (One of them not only tried to invite herself, but also tried to make herself into a bridesmaid!
)
 

Clairitek

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I agree with Haven on where to make the cut off. I would only invite people that you socialize with outside of your professional life.
 

neatfreak

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As usual I agree with Haven too! We only invited one set of co-workers (my DH''s) but really they have become good friends which is why they made the cut.
 

Pandora II

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We made lists:

List 1 - Family who MUST be invited (whether we like them or not) on both sides
List 2 - Friends who we see on a regular basis and will continue to see for many years
List 3 - Parent''s Friends

List 4 - People we would like to invite if we have room.

In the end, there were so many people on List 4 that we decided to throw a separate drinks reception in London two weeks after the wedding and invite work colleagues/friends etc to that. It cost us $800 to hire a venue, a live singing pianist, drinks and nibbles - we invited around 400 and around 150 attended.

I will admit that we held the party in the evening on 8/8/8 which meant that a lot of people were on holiday - this way we could invite lots of people knowing that our final numbers would be reasonable!

For drinks we had a cash bar until 8.08pm after which we served champagne to everyone. As it was a ''drop in after work or stay all evening'' type event I wasn''t concerned about the cash bar - it was also hosted by the groomsmen rather than us (we just booked everything and paid the bill). All the invitations were sent via Facebook as we wanted to keep things low-key and informal and totally discourage gifts.

I''ve noticed that most of our friends who have got married since have done exactly the same and held a separate ''come and celebrate with us'' party after the wedding.
 

Kelli

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Thanks guys. I''m gonna have a hard time not inviting too many. A lot of them will likely be offended.
I''ve been putting off all of the wedding plans because of this so I really need to figure it out. Because it is a dance studio, I think I may be able to do mostly just the girls and their moms instead of the whole family, which will help cut down on numbers. I had even thought about getting a group of them together and explaining the situation. I was wondering how tacky it would be to give them them our wedding website and ask them to message me with whether or not they''d be interested in attending and whether or not their husbands/daughters/sons would be going. I know that sounds terrible, but a lot of them ask about the wedding a lot and are expecting invites. This is just so frustrating!
Should I just give up, invite them all and cut corners elsewhere?
 

Kelli

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That''s a good idea Pandora. I had also thought about doing a very informal "dancers and parents party" after the fact too. But the problem is, there are STILL familes who''d expect to be gonig to the real deal, and families we''d really like to be there. And there still isn''t a good cut off point.

Thanks for your input everyone, I know I''m just gonna have to "man up" and do it!

I hope every step of the planning isn''t this hard! I may never actually get married
 

elrohwen

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This is a really tough situation. I wanted to invite more people from work, but it became a slippery slope where if I invited one person, I had to invite 10 more. To narrow it down I just tried to pick the people I had either known the longest or have been the closest to. For example, one guy has been a friend to me the entire time I've been at the company. Most of the other people started at least a year after I arrived, so obviously that original guy and I are closer. I'm also keeping in mind that if many of my out of town friends can't come, I can always invite the work people later. They're local, so they don't need a save the date or anything. I'll deal with it as I find out how many other friends are able to make it.

Good luck. It's really not easy to rank your friends and it's not something you would ever do if it weren't for the wedding. I'm sure you'll figure something out!

ETA: I agree with others that limiting it to people you see outside of work is a good indicator. FI's work friends are our entire social network for the most part (in the area we live) so we're inviting all of them. Even if he quit, they'd continue to be great friends to us. I do hang out with some of my work friends on a personal basis, but if I quit, there are few that I would continue to keep in touch with. It's those few that I'm inviting.
 

Hudson_Hawk

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I''m sorry, but I don''t think anyone other than immediate family should ''expect'' to be invited to a wedding. Unless they''re paying for the event, they should be understanding of your wishes, capabilities, and limits. However, if you can''t invite them all, don''t invite any of them. Have a separate party afterwards to celebrate, or let them throw you a shower to celebrate.

You should be able to say, "While we would love to have all our friends with us on the day, we''ve decided to have a very small wedding and will only be able to invite family." Or something like that...
 

Kelli

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Thanks for your responses:) I just read some price packages and


There''ll be some cutting back for sure!
 

Sparkalicious

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Date: 2/16/2009 10:36:33 PM
Author: Kelli
Thanks for your responses:) I just read some price packages and


There''ll be some cutting back for sure!
LOL, Kelli - Yes, that certainly helps you make cuts sometimes!


We made an A,B,C,D list ...

A - Must invite, Close family & friends
B - Want to be there
C - Would like to be there if there is enough room

It made it a lot easier for us to get everything in perspective and assess whether or not who needed to be invited was actually being invited.

Good luck!
 

Kelli

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Thanks Sparkalicious! I just did that, made all sorts of lists of different types of people. One good thing is that I know there are SEVERAL who will not come, invited or not, out of my extended family, so that helps!

How do you know how far you can stretch your budget, not having any REAL idea of who will attend and who won''t? Everything is based on numbers, and fifty or so people could have a HUGE impact. I''d hate to have to skimp on the venue thinking that I''ll have two hundred people, when really I may have 150 or so, or even less. But I have to pick and place and date for sure before inviting anyone. That seems impossible!
 

neatfreak

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Date: 2/17/2009 12:51:44 AM
Author: Kelli
Thanks Sparkalicious! I just did that, made all sorts of lists of different types of people. One good thing is that I know there are SEVERAL who will not come, invited or not, out of my extended family, so that helps!


How do you know how far you can stretch your budget, not having any REAL idea of who will attend and who won''t? Everything is based on numbers, and fifty or so people could have a HUGE impact. I''d hate to have to skimp on the venue thinking that I''ll have two hundred people, when really I may have 150 or so, or even less. But I have to pick and place and date for sure before inviting anyone. That seems impossible!
You need to assume that everyone will come IMO. Or at least that 80% will come with that number fluctuating upwards a bit if everything is in the same/nearby town (venue and invitees) and downwards if it is a destination wedding.
 

Pandora II

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Out of 120 people of whom 103 were OOT, we had 6 who could not attend.

(I sent STDs and got the ''regrets'' long before the invitations went out, so we just invited people who had nearly made the final list instead).

I would never assume that people won''t come until they actually confirm it - it''s amazing how many people will decide to travel halfway across the country when you last saw them when you were 8....
 

Kelli

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Thanks guys. My dad has spoken to the family up noth and has told me that "most" of them won''t be able to come, but didn''t give me definite names or anything. I thought it would still be polite to send them invites, or even just save the dates and see if they respond.

Were you just lucky or is it normal for people to let you know they can''t come once they recieve the save the dates?
 

swingirl

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I haven''t read all the posts but here''s my opinion.

My kids took lessons at a dance studio for 5-6 years where they took multiple lessens per week, were on a comp team and helped with teaching and choreography. Although we saw the studio owners almost every day I would not have expected us to be invited to a celebration like a wedding. (the 2 owners were married while my kids were students) Some families probably were invited as they had become personal friends. But for the most part I think people understand that large groups from work/school cannot be invited to events where dinner is served and setting is limited.

Invite whom ever has become a friend but don''t invite people, who once they are not at the studio, won''t be in your life.
 

musey

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I think almost every couple has the "If I invite _______, then I have to invite _______, _______ AND _______" dilemma.

We started at zero and added people by category (immediate family, relatives extended to cousins (+families if they had them), closest friends). Everyone that didn't have to be invited because of obligation (and we only applied this to relatives), we would weigh whether it really was important to us to have them there. If the answer was no (which is usually was if we even had to ask), we took them off the list.

We had all kinds of other guidelines that we tried out (whether we'd seen or at least talked to them in the past year, if we knew their current location without having to look it up, etc.), but really it just came down to whether it was important to us or not.


There will inevitably be hurt feelings on someone's part over not being invited, pretty much no matter what you do. You have make the decision that while you do care about peoples' feelings, and wouldn't want to hurt anyone, if they are not your idea of "close enough to necessitate an invitation," then they really don't have the right to be upset - and therefore it's their issue, not yours. People do understand budgets and that weddings are for those closest to the couple (and, in some cases, the parents), not for every single person they know
 

Kelli

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Thanks swingirl. It''s good to know the point of view from involved dance students:)

And musey you''re right. It does just boil down to who WE feel really should be there.

Is it normal to send out save the dates to family and the very closest friends first, then add more once we get some expected "regrets"? I know for a fact there will be some OOT family that won''t attend, but once I have a better idea of the number, I can better assess who else to invite. Do others do this?
 

FrekeChild

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I haven''t gotten any "regrets" from my STDs, and I wouldn''t expect any. The thing you want to keep in mind is that you shouldn''t be sending out STDs to people who you aren''t planning for sure to invite. What if your Aunt Betsey says "Oh I won''t be able to make it" a year in advance, and then 2 months before the wedding says, "Oh, things changed and I''m coming now!" Then what? Inflate the budget and have more people or say "Whoops, you can''t come(to either Aunt Betsey or whoever was invited in her place)"?

Really, I think the most important thing is to make a list of people that have to be there, send them STDs, and then make an A and B invite list. No one is really going to know the difference if they didn''t get a STD. In reality, you don''t have to do STDs to begin with. The only reason we''re doing them is because FSIL insisted that we need them, and because our wedding is of the destination type. Otherwise, no one would be getting a STD.
 

musey

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Ditto freke.

Some do A/B/C/etc. lists for invitations (not STDs), but we didn''t. We knew who we wanted to be there, and if they had to decline (as many did, being across the country for many guests), then it meant a smaller wedding... not alternate guests.
 

musey

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Date: 2/17/2009 2:12:46 PM
Author: Kelli
I wish I could be as decisive as you were!
It didn't happen naturally, and I'm probably making it sound a lot more cut and dry than it was!

It really just came down to seriously thinking about what our wedding (the ceremony, not the party) meant to us, and who we really wanted to share that with. There were a lot of people who were on our initial list that we thought "hmm, I have to admit, I don't care - in the grand scheme of things - if I can look back and remember seeing that person's face amongst our guests. It's just not important to me."

Despite our history (we are both performers, him by hobby and myself by profession), we felt very private about that experience. I wasn't comfortable being completely raw and open in front of just anyone, and since that was how I wanted to be at our wedding, we couldn't invite anyone that we couldn't be raw and open in front of. The result was an extremely intimate and meaningful experience, that I think translated to our guests as well, given that many of them said it was more romantic and moving than any wedding they'd been to. I attribute that solely to our approaching it as an extremely intimate and private experience. If we'd just invited whoever we felt like probably wanted/expected to be there, it could never have achieved that, for us or our guests.
 

Kelli

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Thanks for the further explanation! I hadn''t really thought about it that way. It sounds like your wedding was a really beautiful one:)
 
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