Wedding Bell Blues

Dear Annabel Manners,

I’m a would-be bride in a pickle, and I hope you can help. I’m currently planning a destination wedding for next May, at a venue that ideally seats no more than 100 for dinner. Being that I’m the oldest daughter and the first to wed, my mother is over the moon. It’s wonderful that she’s so excited, but her exhilaration has led to a desire to invite…everyone.
At this point, my upcoming nuptials have been mentioned to around 130 prospective invitees. Save-the-dates have not gone out yet, and I’m wondering what the most gracious–and rational–way to handle this is.
How do I do my best not to go over 100…without insulting people are who are expecting, but might not ultimately receive, an invitation?
HJ, Los Angeles
Dear HJ,
There’s nothing like a wedding to throw perfectly reasonable people into a tizzy. Let’s begin on the bright side:
1. Your wedding is out of town. Hurrah!
2. Your save-the-date cards haven’t hit the mail.
3. 10-20% of people invited to a wedding typically regret.
4. When space is tight, you can delete the words “And Guest” from your vocabulary.
As you probably know, sending save-the-dates means an invitation must follow. And alas, muzzling the mother of the bride is probably impractical. I’m sure she’s gushing to business associates and distant relatives, when in fact your wedding should only include people who know and adore the lovely couple.
Have you considered throwing a post-honeymoon party for well-wishers in your hometown? That way, perhaps you can whittle down the guest list without excluding anyone from the celebration.
I suggest you sit down with mama and get some hard data. To whom has she been blabbing, and would she be willing to sacrifice anyone from her previous list in order to accommodate those people?
If not, she might have to do some backpedaling. (Something along the lines of, “You’ll have to forgive me. I got carried away and made my own assumptions without consulting the bride and groom. Unfortunately we’re limited by both venue and budget, but we hope you can join us for an informal local celebration.”)
Going forward, just make sure all the key players are on the same page — and on message. Breathe deeply and don’t fret. Wedding worries always work themselves out!
Graciously yours,
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