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He said, she said: Making a list and checking it twice

Of all the things we’ve had to do for wedding planning so far, narrowing down the guest list has hands down been the most challenging.

While we could invite everyone we could imagine (and then some) to the ceremony (Omwake-Dearborn Chapel seats 1,000), our reception venue can only hold 200 people.

Not too long after we got engaged, David and I went to Maryland to visit his family. On the way home, we compiled a list of all the people we’d like to invite to the wedding. Our initial list included 310 people, meaning we had to cut more than 100 people. On top of that, because my parents are paying for the wedding, they also had a list of people they wanted to invite.

How do you decide who the 200 most important people are in your life (and the life of your fiancé)?

Some of those answers are obvious. Even though “Aunt Jenn” isn’t actually a blood relative, she has the “aunt” title for a reason and should be at the top of the list. As for the kindergarten best friend you haven’t spoken to since your senior year of high school? Obviously, they’re a no-go.

But the people who fall in between – coworkers, college friends and professors, internship supervisors and friends from Bible study – that’s when things get sticky.

We started by color-coding each potential guest. Family and wedding party members were white. Guests who we absolutely couldn’t imagine our day without were labeled green. Yellow labels went to the next tier, followed by orange. The final tier – red – was assigned to those who we probably shouldn’t have even put on the list in the first place.

To further complicate things, David’s family is huge. His mom is one of five children, and his dad is one of four (and all but one of them has multiple children of their own). More than a quarter of our guest list is devoted just to his family alone.

Not only does David have a huge family, but he is definitely the extrovert in this relationship. He’s like a small town mayor. We can’t go anywhere without him bumping into someone he went to college with or knows through his position in Catawba’s athletics department. One time we spent three hours in Walmart and 80 percent of that time was spent talking to five different people he knew.

The more David and I talked about it, the more I realized that we couldn’t just divide our guest list down the middle (or in thirds to include my parents). So we had to come up with a creative solution.

One of David’s biggest worries was that he wouldn’t be able to invite friends because his family was so large.

After days of debating how to best work things out, I came up with a brilliant (if I do say so myself) solution. All family (David’s and mine) and the wedding party was put on an automatic invite list. The remaining spots, all 86 of them, were divvied up between David, my parents and me.

That’s not to say my solution made things easy. There were still extremely difficult cuts that had to be made by everyone, but I think it went a long way to preserve peace.

Now that we’ve got the guest list figured out, there are a lot of exciting things coming over the next few weeks.

Next weekend, I’m going wedding dress shopping with my mom and two maids of honor. We’ve got a full weekend planned. I have an idea of what I want, and I’m excited to see how it all turns out.

We’re brainstorming our honeymoon options right now as well. I really want to go on a honeymoon, and we’re trying to find a way to make that work between finances and vacation days.

We waited too long to schedule our engagement photos, and now the earliest we can do them is November. So, we’re trying to figure out if we can still use engagement photos on our save-the-dates.

Another exciting thing coming up (non-wedding related) is that I will be starting a new job this week. Even though I won’t be at the Post anymore, David and I will still keep you up to date on our wedding plans through this column over the next eight months.



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