Monday, February 22, 2016

The Wedding Waitlist: a Campaign for a Tradition We Need

When Matt and I first got engaged, the first thing my more experienced married friends who had been through this before and were lovingly pretending to be excited for me instead of laughing in my face because soon I would have to have a very strong opinion about things like what color shoes my bridesmaids should wear suggested that we start by making our guest list before we did anything else. The idea being that if you know how many people are coming to your wedding and who they are, it will be easier to plan everything else. This is great advice. It's also, apparently, impossible.

Matt and I are now roughly 5 months into wedding planning and we still haven't finished a guest list. I didn't realize deciding who was coming to my wedding would be so hard but it's terrible. I feel like a really mean varsity volleyball coach, cutting people left and right. Who expects they will be invited to the wedding? Will I hurt someone's feelings if they were expecting an invite and it never came? Am I being self-centered to think anyone would be disappointed if they weren't invited? What is the optimal number of people to invite to ensure there will be leftover cake?

The hard thing is, since everyone knows I'm getting married, pretty much everyone I talk to wants to talk about the wedding. It's an easy topic, and lots of people want to share their advice. I talk about it with co-workers, acquaintances, people I haven't talked to in years who have messaged me on Facebook to give me the low down on things they learned when they got married. And its great! One thing I actually like about being a bride-to-be is that it's ability to connect me with people I haven't talked to in a while. But then it makes it extra weird when I realize I've been talking to these people about my wedding, but it's likely I can't actually invite them to my wedding. It always goes back to that Excel document, with the "invited" column and the "Mom's friends it's important I invite because they invited her to their daughter's wedding" (which keeps growing suspiciously longer and longer) column and then the "maybe" column. The sad "maybe" column where people I genuinely like but maybe haven't talked to much since college are hanging out with someone I went to summer camp with or that guy Matt knows from work who he only really talks to when they bump into each other at a vending machine but he's super funny.

So here's my idea: weddings should be allowed to have a waitlist. You know when you apply to college and you get waitlisted and you just have to wait for other people to say no but once there's room, you get to move in. When you send out Save the Dates, you should also be allowed to send out waitlist notices. I mean they'd be really nice like "Hey, I really like you but you there are physically not enough chairs at my wedding for everyone I want to come so you're on deck, I'll let you know." Personally, I would not be offended by this because remember, these would be people you wouldn't be inviting at all otherwise. What's more offensive, just never hearing from someone who you thought you might be invited to their wedding or being pleasantly surprised that you maybe can go to their wedding if several of their relatives and closer friends have other stuff to do that day? In fact, you could even tell waitlisted people, "don't worry, you're off the hook for gifts". It's a win-win situation. And once it was a cultural norm, nobody would think it was weird.

Unfortunately nobody wants to be the one to start the waitlisting both because it's an idea I just made up and because you will look like a jerk, so I'm proposing that if you are a person who I'm sort of close with but maybe not close enough with you that you want me to watch you dance with your new husband/wife to an Ed Sheeran song and throw a bunch of flowers at some unmarried women, then please, waitlist me. I volunteer as tribute to be the first ever waitlisted wedding guest. Then maybe one day we can live in a world where waitlisting wedding guests is as normal as other wedding traditions like throwing a piece of the bride's underwear at a group of grown men or shoving baked goods into each's others faces. Long live the wedding waitlist.

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