The guest list is easily the most complicated task related to wedding planning. You can't decide where to have your wedding until you know how many people it needs to hold. You can't price out save the dates or invitations until you know how many households you're sending them to. It's also a lot easier to pick a date when you know how many out of town guests you're expecting. Along the same lines you can't get an estimate on catering or any type of rentals until you have a head count.
It all sounds very rational, but it's an emotionally charged process. We started with an ideal number in our heads. It meant little and was based on nothing. We made a list of all the friends and family we'd want if we could have everyone. That list came to 175 people. Many more than we had hoped. When I crunched the numbers again it went down to 150, but that was still too many. Finally, I got cut throat about it. If we've haven't seen or spoken to someone in the time we've been engaged they're out. If it's a family friend, but not a personal friend of ours out, etc. You can really loose your head doig this.
First, I was pained and emotional about every name I crossed out and then I was cut throat and callous. I remember wondering if it was ok to invite my friend, but not her children. I must have been foaming at the mouth at that point. Clearly, the numbers had gone to my head I no longer saw the names on the list as people. Once I collected my head, I pared the list down to 85 guests (10ish children) not including our nuclear family. That's 38 households that will need invites and save the dates. Sounds doable.
As I mopped the sweat from my brow I had but a moment to wallow in my accomplishment (and doubt myself) because the next step was assigning the wedding party. I'm going need a lot of help and support in the coming months so it was time to think bridesmaids. By the way, before I visited any wedding sites or looked at any wedding magazines I thought it was bride's mate. The mate of the bride. Doesn't that sound nicer?
I know I have very supportive friends and family that will help me any way they can, but it was time to bestow the honors. Mike's side of the aisle was a piece of cake. He only has three friends it's a good thing he has a son because I wanted four attendants. The kid's jobs were a breeze too. Boo and Roo were born flower girls (or at least will be adorable in there dresses and fairy wings.) and there was only one "man" for the ring bearer position, Mr. Jack. Aren't I lucky to have so many two year olds in my life?
The bridesmaids were trickier. I knew both of my sisters biological and in law we're in. That left two spots to fill. I've only been a bridesmaid one and a half times and I know how much the job means to the right person. I pondered group dynamic, strengths and weakness, length of friendship and how often I see them. I spun my wheels all afternoon about it. My heart ached at having to choose. I LOVE my friends. I tried enlisting Mike's help, but he said "That's girl stuff and social stuff. I don't have any opinion about that." He only has to count on his men for a bachelor party before the day of my ladies have a lot of responsibilites. Ugh.
I pondered and pontificated for awhile and then I made some very honest phone calls. In the end I have four attendants and an unofficial bridesmaid who will participate as fully as she can and be a guest on the day of. Everyone's happy (or at least they say they are). I know I made the right choice. The choice my head and heart can live with. Now let's plan a wedding!