June 28, 2004

To B-List or Not To B-List

The question of who hasn't been invited to your wedding is always a sensitive one. Now that the invitations have gone out - and especially with the public announcement on this site - I'm sure we'll get a little grief through the grapevine from one or two people who expected to be invited but weren't. (Others, who see weddings as a terrible obligation are probably letting out a big sigh of relief.)

That we're having a big wedding might make this situation a little more awkward should anyone be upset that they weren't invited. "Oh, I see, you're having 783 people at your wedding but you couldn't find the space for 784?" The fact is that no matter how big your wedding is, it isn't always possible to invite everyone you want. With weddings costing what they cost these days, there has to be a cut off point somewhere.

As a compromise, it is not uncommon for couples to invite people from a B-list, a group of people who only make the invite list after other more important people drop off. L and I know couples who kept updating their lists as close as one week before the wedding. Others pick two dates for mailing the invitations, one at the traditional 6 - 8 weeks before the wedding and another only two weeks before, after the first round's responses have come back.

When it comes down to it, no one wants to be on a B-list. It just has perjorative connotations. Does any actor strive to be a B-list celebrity? Who would you rather be? Carmen Electra or Julia Roberts? Would you rather be the starting short-stop for the Boston Red Sox or on the B-squad? And no one wants to get waitlisted at their number one choice for college or grad school.

L and I are not doing a B-list. One reason is that with everything else we have to do, adding one more task - sorting response cards, going down the list and seeing who makes the cut, having L's mom wait in line at the post office again, getting last minute responses, etc. - we don't want to add any more.

More importantly than the logistical considerations, I think having a B-list can be dangerous. For one thing, someone who gets an invitation two weeks before a wedding will have concrete proof that he's on your B-list and might now find himself feeling more obligated - and more inconvenienced - to attend your wedding. We don't want anyone to come to our wedding out of a sense of obligation. We want them there to have fun at camp, see old friends, meet new family members and celebrate.

But the biggest problem a B-list creates is the fact that its very existence means the existence of another, unwritten group of people: those on the C-list.

Posted by The Groom at June 28, 2004 09:52 AM

I totally agree--especially the "added task" factor! You'll feel tempted when that first "NO" is returned...I already have 14 people respond "NO", but I'm not sending anymore invites! Tacky at this point, 3 weeks away!!

Posted by: E from Michigan at June 28, 2004 10:13 AM

we don't have a b-list. very tacky.

Posted by: steve at June 28, 2004 01:18 PM

We are going to "b list". But we are sending out first list at 9 weeks and second list at 6-5 weeks. And I also have a wedding planner who will do it. It's a necessary evil when my future in laws had a 100 person guest list on their own of solely business contacts. That did not jive with our vision of a small 175-180 person wedding. I found this to be a better money saving idea than inviting everyone to the church and then only inviting half of them to the reception. It's more to keep the peace with my in laws than anything.

Posted by: b-lister at June 28, 2004 03:23 PM

1 - The high road is to call close but out of town friends and relatives (especially those you would talk to anyway) and get a better idea of who might actually show up. That lets you safely scale down the A-list so that the second string might be included in the first mailing.

2 - If all else fails, package up a new invitation, take it out in the rain, toss it in the mud, step on it and otherwise bend and mutilate. Call your B-list friends and ask if maybe their response card got lost somehow. Wait two days before mailing.

Posted by: FOG at June 28, 2004 03:45 PM