Well, it was bound to happen. Most couples faced with trying to keep the guest list small will eventually go throught it--the guest list spat. People will be surprised to learn that I am pretty stubborn about things, and when you put my equally-stubborn fiance and I in a disagreement, things can get ugly.
Yes, we both decided early on that we wanted our wedding to be a small intimate affair full of only our closest family and friends. We decided on 100 guests--a modest number. It's what we can afford and well, we want a smaller number so we can have an opportunity to talk and interact with one another. We agreed on 50 guests on both sides. Easy, I thought. I don't have a large family anyway. But really, 50 is more like 25 when you think about it. You invite your favorite aunt, but it would be rude not to invite her husband, your uncle. You want to invite your best friend, but how can you get away with not extending the invitation to her boyfriend of three years? Then you start to think, Daaayum! I do have a big family.
Coming from a close-knit Filipino family, where respecting your elders is the ultimate rule, every little thing can be perceived as an act of disrespect. People can hold grudges, and saving face and being polite is a huge deal.
But why should I invite an aunt and uncle I hardly see or talk to --along with their brood of children--over a friend I've known for years? The obligatory invite can be such a touchy issue. My parents don't think there's any alternative. It's better to sacrifice a friend then to upset family. My aunts and uncles will get an invite, but I may not be able to invite all of my cousins. My fiance doesn't understand why I bother to invite some of them at all. For him, if you don't know his birthday, you're not invited--even if you are his dad's sister. No hard feelings, just move on. Why can't I just be more firm and say no? I suppose it has been culturally engrained in me to try to make everyone happy.Thus started our disagreement.
Maybe I just wasn't raised that way. If I put myself in favorite cousin's shoes, I would feel wierd attending a family member's wedding that my parents weren't invited to. I can see years of family drama ahead. So after hours of defending certain family and friends, our guest list was finally cut down to just a little over 100 guests, although we're pretty sure we will receive some declines. Some friends and family don't get to bring a guest. It is kind of annoying that a friend of a friend gets to be at your wedding over another friend who you actually know and you had to cut. Children (except my sister's children and a couple others) are not allowed. But I still have the recurring bad feeling that certain guests still won't get it. People have already invited themselves to our wedding, people I would love to have at our wedding, but probably won't make the cut. Maybe they'll just get the hint when that invitation doesn't arrive. I won't rule out certain guests bringing their own wedding crashers, either. For some, it's the more the merrier. There were a few guests at my sister's wedding who brought friends or children not on the invitation. It may be a cultural thing, they might not realize how rude that actually looks when food prices and packages are determined per head. (I found this really good blog post on wedding guest ettiquette) So, my fiance and I will be calling each guest to make sure that the people planning on coming to our wedding are the ones on the guest list. Tacky? Maybe. But it must be done. Of course we'll try to do it in the sweetest tone possible. We would love to be able to have a huge wedding and have all the time in the world to talk to each and every one of our guests, but it's not possible. People need to understand that they're not entitled to be at anyone's wedding. We hate to seem like mean, stingy people, but it must be done.