The Oprah Dilemma: Your Wedding Invitations

 

“You get an invitation! You get an invitation! Everyone gets an invitation!”

Sound familiar? One of the most common complaints you’ll hear from a bride is that her future mother-in-law or parents are trying to take over some aspect of the wedding. It comes as no surprise that this includes precious wedding invitations. No matter how big or small the guest list is, there IS a final headcount you have to stick with, and that can be a challenge when one or both sets of parents have a case of Oprah’s free giveaway generosity.

It’s always nice to see a crowd of well-wishing faces beaming back at you from your spot at the altar, but as a bride you should still have the final say in exactly which faces you want to see in that moment.

You and your beloved have spent a lot of time mulling over all your friends and family before adding names to the guest list. For many, that includes the number of guests your budget will allow as the venue, caterer and complimentary transportation (depending on where your venue is located). The last thing you want to hear is your mother-in-law asking for extra invites for her social circle, your mother calling up relatives you barely remember to notify them to check their mailboxes for invites or your father wanting to invite his best buds to see his little girl before he has to hand her off to his future son-in-law. How do you put your foot down on the guest list and your family’s enthusiasm without being branded a Bridezilla?

Be Vocal. Invite your parents and future in-laws to have a little chat with you and be up front about the issue. There’s no need to point fingers or accuse anyone of stepping out of line, just tell them you already have a list you want to stick to. Be firm as you speak with them or you’ll regret giving any sort of leeway. (Hint: Give an inch and they might take a mile.)

Compromise. If you are NOT paying for your wedding, then you might fall victim to an old saying “He who pays, has a say.” Let your parents know you don’t mind compromising your list for them to add a set number of people. This way they can still invite people they really want to attend without half your wedding party turning into Great Aunt Sally who you haven’t seen in 10 years.

Get Technical. You DO have a budget and there is NO wiggle room for extra people being tacked onto your guest list. Between the cost for the venue, food and other wedding expenses, you have to draw the line at what you are willing to pay for. Not to mention what your time is worth when it boils down to sending out all those personalized thank-you notes, rearranging the seating arrangement and all the extra decor (centerpieces, flowers, tables, chairs) you’ll have to deal with just to accommodate a few extra people.

There is nothing wrong with being generous, and it would warm any bride’s heart to see their loved ones’ aglow with wedding excitement. Knowing so many people care about your life enough to want to share in such an important milestone is truly a feeling to behold. However, as a bride, that is all the more reason to want to recognize each and every joyous face you’ll encounter as you look out at the people gathered after your first kiss as man and wife or greet your guests during your fabulous reception. After all, don’t you want to recognize the lucky guest who catches your bouquet?

Loren Swilley
Columnist | The Bride Speaks

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