Thursday, January 15, 2015

Why not to invite out of guilt...

wedding guests
Photo Credit : Art de Vie

As a Wedding Planner I try my hardest not to tell my clients what to do, but help assist them to accomplish whatever it is they want to do. It's not my job to tell my clients how many people to invite, what colors to choose or how much their budget should be. It is my job to be the voice of reason when they are stuck or request guidance. This rule I'm sharing with you today is something I am a bit bossy about : Do NOT make guilt invitations.

This meaning, you may not ask anyone to be in your wedding party you don't want. You are not allowed to invite anyone to be a guest to your wedding that you do not want there. You should not hire anyone to do any task for your wedding that you are not completely happy with. I call all these instances guilt invitations. These situations may  may seem harmless at the time, but end in hassle, higher bills and regret. Find out exactly what I'm talking about and how to avoid these sticky situations at your own wedding...

Let me take a moment to educate you on the different types of guilt invitations:

Wedding Party

The first pertains to choosing whom is in your wedding party and what role they will serve. Some brides and grooms have had their wedding party picked out since 6th grade. Maybe you have a sister or brother you are positive will be your best man or maid of honor. This section does not pertain to you. This is for those of you, who are feeling stressed over putting together a wedding party you will be completely happy and comfortable with.

There are some common misconceptions that add to the stress factor of these decisions. You do not have to have the same amount of groomsmen and bridesmaids. Don't invite extra people for "balance". Just because you were a bridesmaid in their wedding does not mean it is required for them to be a bridesmaid in yours. Just because you have a cute family member does not mean they have to be your flower girl. If you want those things, great! If you don't then don't make excuses or feel cornered to over think your decisions.

I have a former client that invited a girlfriend to be her Maid of Honor because their families are really close and they grew up together. She had a feeling it wasn't a good fit, but knew the families would be a bit disappointed if she didn't ask her. The maid of honor dropped the ball on many duties the bride was hoping for help with. She later regretted putting her in a position she wasn't right for.

Another one of my clients has a girlfriend that has been asking when they are going shopping for dresses, before she was even formally asked. This client doesn't even know if she wants a bridal party, not to mention this specific gal pal. It's hard to hurt someone's feelings but ultimately you will hurt yourself more by trying to be a people pleasing bride.

I want to give you permission (not that you need it) to ask whoever you want to be in your wedding party based solely on who you want near you, supporting you on the big day.

Wedding Guests

The next type of guilt invitation is inviting guests that you don't really want to, but feel obligated to. This can be for many reasons. The most common reasons are that they invited you to their wedding, they are your parents friends, or you work with them. Do not fall into the trap of adding to the guest list to make others happy or to be politically correct. If you are on the fence about it, here is a quick way to decide if they should be there on your wedding day. Answer the following questions:

1. Have you shared a meal with them in the last year?
2. Have you been to their home?
3. Have they been to your home?
4. Can you laugh with them?
5. Would you be comfortable crying in front of them?
6. Will you still talk to them in a year?
7. Will it make you smile to see them on your big day?

If you answered yes to four or more questions then add them to your list.

I totally understand the conundrum of how much leeway to give to your parents if they are footing your bill. You feel they are paying so they should be able to invite who they want. A good way to safeguard yourself from running into this is chatting about it when you first have the budget conversation. Mentioning that you know they have a lot of great people they want to invite and coming up with a table just for them can be a great compromise. If you are doing tables of 10 then invite them to fill their table with 8 other friends that they feel they really want to share the proud moment with.

Adding guests as a courtesy can seem harmless, but can hurt your budget big time. If you have three extra co-workers, two couples that invited you to their wedding years ago that you don't keep in touch with and ten friends your grandparents insist on inviting, that is 17 extra people. Let's assume dinner and drinks costs $65 per person. 17 x $65 is $1,105. That is a lot of money for a polite courtesy.

I'm giving you permission (not that you need it) to only invite the guests that you want there, not anyone you feel obligated to invite.

Hiring Vendors

The last type of guilt invitation is more of a guilt hiring. This is when you know a friend that does a service and they insist on working your wedding. This can range from Wedding Planners, Caterers, Hairdressers, Musicians and anything else in between. Maybe your friend runs a great food truck with amazing crepes, but you want a Southern BBQ menu. Maybe it's a DJ that has been a great pal for years but you prefer a brass band. Don't feel like you have to hire anyone or purchase anything that does not fit your theme, budget and taste. If they are true friends, they will understand.

I'm giving you permission (not that you need it) to only hire a vendor because you want to, not because you feel obligated to. 

The reason I chose to write about this particular comment is because I have clients that have been dealing with these exact issues. Sometimes when you are feeling confused it's nice to see in black and white (and pink) that you can do whatever you and your fiance want. It is your wedding after all. Planning a wedding can be a real balancing act between following tradition and etiquette and making your own decisions. Make sure to take a deep breathe and make the choices that will ultimately make you the happiest!

Do you agree with my opinions on this topic? How many guests did your parents invite? Have you or someone you know ever regretted a wedding party choice they made out of obligation? You know I want to hear all your thoughts. Comment below!!!

Happy Planning, 
xoxo Megan 


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