#171 You Ask, We Answer - 25


November 27th, 2019

1 hr 8 mins 2 secs

Your Hosts

About this Episode

It's that time of the month where we answer YOUR questions...cause we love you!

EMAIL - Guest List Decisions
ASK 1: How do you determine who to give a plus one? With plus ones for each single person, we are at about 360 guests - my parents are covering the wedding and don't seem to have a problem with allotting plus ones across the board. HOWEVER, I don't know how I feel about having a bunch of strangers at the wedding. For some of my friends traveling long distances, friends who won't know people at the wedding, and friends who have significant others, I am more than happy to give plus ones. But is it rude not to give them to some people?

ANSWER 1: Ok. So you will find a lot of conflicting opinions about this out there in the world (and online) but here is where we stand: Yes, it's a little rude to not do plus-ones across the board. We think the exceptions are: A) If money is a serious concern and cutting the guest list is simply necessary. B) If the couple and their friends are all pretty young (early twenties) - to where people haven't really paired off yet and everyone is friends with each other...like you and your fiancé are college sweethearts and recent graduates and you are inviting 60 people that you know from high school and college. In this case, it's ok to have all those friends - that know each other - invited with no plus-one. But I like to say, if you are a 'real adult' (and this description is very tongue-in-cheek...who really is a real adult?!), then you need to include plus-ones for any of the guests you are inviting over 21. I know you ladies will have a great answer. I understand you don't want 30 stranger's faces looking at you when you walk down the aisle...I can pretty much promise you that those aren't the faces you will see.

ASK 2: WHERE ON EARTH do you draw the line on the guest list?! I am getting into dangerous territory now. I feel like I am starting to consider people to invite solely because I don't want their feelings to be hurt. I am to the point where every time I consider one person, I think, "well, then that means I need to invite this person!”

I've obviously already accepted that this wedding is going to be massive, but I want the guest list to be meaningful and to really just include the most important people in my life. My fiancé brought up a good point as we were working on the list - he said "it's almost like we're trying to decide whether or not we want to talk to these people again". I don't want to just invite random folks for the sake of their feelings. What is a good rule of thumb once you get down to the outskirts of your circle?

ANSWER 2: It’s seriously one of the hardest wedding planning things that people struggle with! You are not alone! Totally get that. Just remind yourself: YOU DON'T. Here's a confession - I got married in San Francisco after years of working with Michelle. I considered her a friend. My roommate from college - who I adore - lived in SF also. I didn't invite either of them. I had my reasons and they know them, but it was still a decision that I struggled with a lot and ultimately, I regret not inviting them. But I also chose not to invite about 30 other people that I could have...coworkers, neighbors, college friends... I don't have any regrets there. And the regrets I do have are manageable! I'm not losing any sleep over not inviting people. It's ten years ago and I am still dear friends with Michelle and my college roommate. It's not about the future - it's about the present and the recent past when it comes to inviting people. Have you had them over to your home in the past year? Do you communicate with them mutually more than once a year? (Like, Christmas cards don't count.) Please know that someone can be in your life - a part of your life - after the wedding even though they weren't there. We talk about this a lot actually, in an episode coming up. Keep a look out for the 'Men's Vows' episode - the content is different than the name, but that's where the guests came from. And we surprisingly went in a direction - from the perspective of someone who had been a guest at 175 weddings in his life - and he had some great insight about this very topic.

ASK 3: Last but not least, is it completely taboo/rude to wait until after save the dates to invite certain people? I'm in graduate school and I have made some new friends who are not quite in "wedding invite" territory, but I could see myself wishing they were there by the time the wedding rolls around. Is there a tactful way to handle this situation?

ANSWER 3: Totally ok to have a 'B' list - you just want to try and make sure that no one on the B list knows they're on the B list. Once you hear from a few people that they aren't going to make it, invite the grad school buds! Also, know that a Save The Date is not 100% necessary. When my husband was a GM of a restaurant for many years, it seemed like everyone of his staff members felt obligated to invite him. And some were honestly friends with him! I don't think we ever got a Save The Date. We got the invitation 4 weeks out or so...and if we could make it, we went! If not, no big deal.


I have a dream. And that dream is... “when you get the save the date and know you can’t come please tell us k thanks.”

Is there precedent for this?

Total guest list: 315

A List: 256

Very real number of people on the A List that won’t come (family/parent’s friends) and know they won’t come months in advance: probably 30

I would like to put those 30 B List people on our A List! AND would prefer not to wait until two weeks before the wedding when it’s tackyyyyy to invite them.

The text line I have in mind for the STD, in tiny print on the back:

“Know in advance that you won’t be able to join us? We will miss you! Please kindly send your regrets, as this will help tremendously in our planning!”


We kind of like that! The most basic STD is a postcard with the date and very little information. We have suggested before that if you have a wedding website, include that address on the STDs. Then they can send their regrets that way, easy, smooth and helpful!

Others in the FB group also suggested online RSVPs.

In order to bump people from the A list to the B list, you might need to be proactive. It’s not that tacky to invite someone 4-6 weeks before the big day. There is no rule that you can’t reach out directly to people to see if people can come. Get your spreadsheets out, note who is on each list, and who you have reached out to, then as you move people from B to A, mark that too.

ASK: Did you guys pay for your wedding parties hair and makeup?

Answers from other brides:

  • I am considering paying for their hair & letting them decide if they want to pay for makeup!!! I think it’s a really nice thing to do, but not necessary. I personally wouldn’t require it though if you aren’t going to pay. It’s already so expensive to be in a wedding, so you can ease the burden of your gal pals, or just give them the choice whether or not they want the service!

Christy & Michelle: If this is a big part of your wedding day, the spending time with the gals, drinking champagne, and getting done up, then put it in your budget and your timelines!

  • My 5 bridesmaids are traveling from out of town for the bachelorette party and the wedding. They're amazing and keeping me sane through the process. Because my budget allows me to treat them, I am gifting them hair and makeup on the wedding day

C&M: It is a luxury, but it is a special and wonderful treat if you can make it work!

  • I'm paying for their dresses. The rest (shoes, jewelry, hair, and makeup) are up to them. But, I am not requiring them to wear specific shoes or get their hair/make up done

C&M: This is another way to look at it. She’s saying she has already treated them, which is so nice and generous. And since she’s not requiring it, it takes the pressure and obligation off.

  • I didn’t require hair and make up because it wasn’t in our budget to pay for everyone. However most girls decided to have their hair and make up done - so I included a gift card to the salon as part of their gift. It didn’t pay for it all but it helped offset the cost!

C&M: That’s a great idea! And no matter what, even if you can’t pay for it, remember to thank your people for being there and supporting you on your big day.

  • I did, all of my bridesmaids were coming from out of town and had to pay for flights and hotel rooms, so I didn’t want them to have to pay for something else. But I’ve been in weddings where we paid for our own hair and makeup as bridesmaids and I’ve never minded paying.

C&M: This is so nice!

  • No, but I also didn’t expect them to get it done pro (I didn’t either). I was recently a bridesmaid with full hair and makeup and it was covered by the bride (thank god bc I couldn’t afford it). I feel like if you’re going to require it, you should pay. If you’re not paying for it, be chill with some people choosing not to get the pro treatment and perhaps having a less consistent look overall because of that. I think all is fine but being required to pay for a dress, shoes, travel, hair and makeup is . . . A lot for some of us and I think it’s important to be sensitive to that. When all else fails, remember these are your best friends. Ask them! Ask them what they want and what they can swing, maybe most won’t mind and you can cover just one or two friends if you want that consistent look.

C&M: If you are really concerned everyone has that consistent look, you might want to consider paying for that to get done. Otherwise, you will probably need to be flexible with the looks! If you are going to require a service, you have to pay for it. If you can’t pay for it, don’t require it!

You can also let your bridal party know ahead of time you are willing to cover one of the two! But they have to tell you, so you can schedule everything appropriately. Hair and make-up can quickly throw off a timeline if it’s not properly planned out.

Links We Mentioned
https://www.hitchswitch.com promo code: BIGWEDDING
https://hellonoemie.com/bigwedding for 50$ off your first purchase with promo code BIGWEDDING
https://zola.com/bigwedding for your free wedding website and 30% off invites and paper orders
https://www.facebook.com/groups/TBWPP/?source_id=1020006734764802 The Big Wedding Planning Podcast Community

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