Wedding politics – what you’re not told before you say yes!

Last night Dan and I missed our regular Monday night pub quiz so that we could finalise numbers with our caterer and marquee hire company for our wedding next month.

I thought it would be an easy task, but in fact when I filtered all of the ‘Yes’ reponses in our Wedding spreadsheet  (Yes, we both work in IT…there is a wedding spreadsheet!) I forgot the ‘Maybe’ responses.  And then I got confused about the number of meals required.  75 guests, 3 children, 2 child meals, 1 baby – no food…And the number of seats.  72 adults but 73 chairs…And the number of tables…And then my Mum rang to say my Aunt Maureen was actually able to come now…

Both our caterers and the marquee company received two emails from us last night.  One carefully drafted, politely written email stating that numbers had changed.  This email was quickly followed with a panicked, probably misspelt email telling them to forget everything I’d said in the previous email and to focus on the numbers I sent them the second time round!

Without further ado, enjoy my light-hearted list of things Dan and I didn’t realise about the politics of having guests at weddings when we signed up to getting married last year!  (This list is in no way meant to offend any of our guests and is just a fun but realistic run down of some of the things we have discovered over the past couple of months, which might help others when they are planning for a wedding.)

Wedding politics

* You won’t get all your responses back by the time you asked for them, so set an earlier date than you actually need.

* About 20% of your guests will probably not be able to make it.  Have backups in place or be prepared for less people on the day.  We’ve lost people for the day to pregnancies, long distance drives, holidays, long-term illness and other weddings.

* Some guests respond as “Maybe”, despite that not being an option on the invitation response card!  If I only maybe ordered your food, then maybe you wouldn’t be too impressed!

* Not all guests that respond to say they are coming will remember to return their food choices with the response so you’re left ringing round chasing to find out who ordered chicken and who was planning on having the risotto!

* Some people will just respond with a text saying “We’re coming.”  (Just remember you love them!)

* People want to know what you want as a present so be sure to have something ready to tell them.  We initially planned on choosing out some items for our new house and adding them to a gift list, but now that we are no longer moving before the wedding, we’re not sure of what we need other than money to pay for the wedding, and I feel uncomfortable asking for that.  Also, I’d love some presents that we will be able to say “we received at our wedding XX years ago.”  Lots of people have asked though, and I’ve ended up leaving it quite open and non-committal.  I like surprises!

* Don’t expect everyone to address the envelope to the correct names!  We’ve had several variations of Mr and Mrs Moore / Mr & Mrs Pearson / Dan / Bride and Groom / The future Mrs Pearson / Miss Pearson / Dan and Marie / [No name]

* Your Mother will want you to invite family members you’ve never heard of before, never mind met.  Think cousins of Great Aunts and children of your Dad’s cousin.

* His Mother will want to upgrade all of their side of the family to a full day invite, despite that meaning that you more than double your numbers and would become bankrupt before the day.

* Guests get new partners between you issuing the Save the Date months earlier and the wedding.  I’ve been in the situation before where Dan and I had not been together long and I was invited to a full day wedding, with him invited for just the evening.  It was a wedding we traveled for, which made it incredibly awkward regarding transport, and I was forever grateful when the bride rang two days beforehand to say that somebody could no longer make it and did Dan want to attend the full day instead?  We’ve invited all known partners to our wedding.

* Guests will tell you before the day “I’m not sitting near XX” or “Please can I sit on the same table as XX?”  It is literally like issuing a new seating plan at school to a class of teenagers.  Except it’s much harder to say “No” to friends and family.

* The seating plan should be a perfect balance of people with similar interests and ages.  Tables should contain an even number of people and ideally the same ratio of men to women…In our case it ended up becoming a pot luck exercise towards the end.  I’m told there’s always one odd table at the back?…!

* Some people will become super excited about your wedding, even more so than you and go from ringing you never, to several times a week to see how you are getting on with wedding planning.  (There is usually no progress to report.)

* Some guests will repeatedly ask you if you are nervous yet.  These guests make you nervous!

* Check and double check numbers with caterers and the venue.  I almost ordered three less chairs than required last night.  And someone wouldn’t have been eating the chicken OR the risotto!

* The time between getting engaged and getting married goes super, super quickly and it feels like you won’t get it all done.  (I’m in this stage right now!)  I’m quite a laid back, but fairly organised person and anything that doesn’t happen, doesn’t happen.  The majority of the guests will never know!

Wedding responsesI have thoroughly enjoyed the planning for it though.  Hopefully the points above come across in a light hearted way?!  Some of the points above have had Dan and I in absolute hysterics!
I love planning for events and I can’t wait to see all of our little touches on the big day.

Anything you would add to the above list?

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10 thoughts on “Wedding politics – what you’re not told before you say yes!

  1. Brilliant post. So right!

    Guests forget that they only have to get there and perhaps buy a present. While the bride and groom have to plan everything.

    My mum phoned up 6 months before ours. She said she had been talking to my aunt who had been talking to my uncle. And they were wondering if it was appropriate to wear a kilt. My answer was “he is Scottish – he should F@@king know. I’m not so I don’t. And stop asking stupid questions. Please!”

    We didn’t have seating plans. We left everyone to do it themselves. We figured everyone could sit down near someone else. And I was quite interested in who would talk to who. Worked brilliantly.

    On full day / half day – we didn’t make any distinction. If they weren’t good enough of a friend to come to evening then they certainly weren’t coming to the ceremony. Worked well. We had 80 people in the end. But more on that below.

    We were engaged for 13 years before we got married. The consequence was that we picked up some new friends. Lost some. Many new friends were mutual ones. We didn’t have “sides”. My wife’s family was non existent. Her mum was far too ill to come. Her dad had to look after her (which meant we had to find someone to give my wife away). And because we were older – we had to pay for ourselves (her dad is retired so not much money, and my parents paid our stamp duty on one of our previous houses instead of contributing to our wedding). Of course that meant we didn’t have to listen to anyone and family respected that.

    We only had 6 months to plan the wedding so not much changed. And I think we only spent 10 hours in total. Most of that was on the order of service and designing the info sheet to go with invites (which we got from vista print I think).

    Wedding went superbly well. The only thing I would have changed is the music. I had loaded up iPod with music. But I forgot that the speakers in our hunting lodge style pub were rubbish. And we really needed a dj to keep the music going and keep energy levels up. We had a live jazz band in the afternoon. That was cool.

    Sorry. Massive comment :-)

    1. You were engaged for 13 years first?! That’s a very long engagement! We have only been engaged for 14 months, although together for 7.5 years.
      We are paying for the wedding ourselves, although several people have already given us some money as a present which will go towards the cost of the day.
      10 hours planning? Amazing! My miscounting of guests on Monday night probably lost me 10 hours!!!
      Dan would love a jazz band in the afternoon. We’ve gone for a great evening band instead though, and will be playing jazz music whilst we are all sat eating.
      Sounds like you had a lovely wedding. I find it so interesting how different people plan theirs out.

  2. I hope no-one who replied reads your blog 😉
    Some people are so easily offended I think- and I can’t believe people say who they will or won’t sit by!
    I would also never be expected to be invited to a whole day (and would not expect Andy to be invited if it was my friend getting married) as it is so expensive. One of my friends got married after uni, and we were only invited to the evening, but one of my other friends is still (10 years later) miffed that we only went to the evening.
    But then I am not a wedding person, and reading your list just makes it sound like a nightmare.!
    Maria @ runningcupcake recently posted…Rediscovering home-made ice lolliesMy Profile

    1. I did umm and ahhh for a while before hitting the Publish button! I don’t think what I’ve written will offend any of our guests though and I’ve kept points quite general. (Fingers crossed! 😛 )
      I am enjoying the organising of the day, but it is taking a lot more work than I first thought. I’m very glad that I’ve got a few weeks off work before the wedding!

  3. So funny and sadly so very true. It sounds like you have it under control though – and that’s the important thing! Wedding’s are the best and worst things 😉
    I got very very stressed in planning my wedding because basically I couldn’t delegate anything because I was such a control freak and wanted to do everything. Thankfully though because it was a package thing with a hotel for the reception it was really just a case of booking meetings and talking to each person about what we wanted, such as the cake lady, the stationary person, the florist etc. But there was still the dress, the bridesmaid outfit, the hair appointment and what style I was having, the invitations, the church…etc. Ben tried to help but, bless him, he just didn’t really mind about anything which made making a decision quite hard work. Thankfully I actually had no major issues about the guests or invitations. The only one hiccup we had was Ben’s dad (who is split from his mum) and his girlfriend that we’ve met and like. But then he split from this girlfriend but they still lived together (weird, I know) so we didn’t really think to invite her…caused a bit of an upset. Whoops.

    1. I am enjoying doing most things and am usually a massive control freak. Luckily I’ve tamed that side of me a little this year and my bridesmaids have been amazing when it comes to helping with making decorations, etc.
      I would not have known whether to invite Ben’s Dad’s girlfriend either! We had such trouble knowing who to invite and which people we would offend if they weren’t invited. That was one of the most stressful parts!

  4. Haha! I love this!

    We were quite lucky with ours in most respects, but we sent out our invitations in two batches. The first batch were people that we thought might be “nos”, so that then in the second batch, we didn’t look like we were upgrading. I made sure we had the responses in plenty of time to be able to do that though. We also kept our table plan a secret and wouldn’t engage in talk with anyone (other than my mum – she’s very good with the politics). For those who didn’t make a choice in time, I made sure I knew if they had any dietary requirements (e.g. one was a vegetarian), and made sure that she and her husband could swap meals between them for the starter and dessert.

    Take it easy Mary, and just make sure you take the time to enjoy it all. It’s hard to get away, and it can be hard to stay together – I hardly saw Matt in the evening as we were both pulled off in different directions and trying to get around to see everyone.
    Steph recently posted…Nearly half way through #Whole30 – Days 12 to 14My Profile

    1. Yes, it’s really tricky with the whole upgrading business. I think you probably went about it the best way.
      Thanks also for your advice. It’s very much appreciated – we’ve been told a few times now that we’ll barely be able to see each other on the day. I’m looking forward to our horse and carriage ride to the reception as it’s a 30 minute journey where it will be just me and Dan without having to put on a face for any of our guests.

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