I thought the dress would be difficult. Finding an item in which you look so incredible people gasp for air in your presence sounds tough. But it turns out that anyone will look nice in a wedding dress. Even someone who still has a skin condition only babies get 27 YEARS after they were born.
And finding a venue was easier than I thought too. They have food and tables and are willing to serve you booze until the early hours of the morning. What’s not to like?
But the guest list is tricky. It’s sensitive, it’s complicated and – above all else – it determines whether you’ll be so strapped for cash after the honeymoon that you have to eat your wedding cards to survive.
So how do you choose who to invite? There’s a lot of advice around about what justifies an invitation to a wedding: how long you’ve been friends, how close you are, the likelihood that they’ll buy you that Cath Kidston rolling pin you’ve had your eye on… but very little on how to rule people out. So here’s a check list to help slim down those numbers:
1) Do they get dangerously over-excited in the presence of food and booze?
It’s customary for guests to be given some kind of meal and beverage at a wedding. And if black or deep red were the colours brides wore then this may not be a problem, but white and cream are much less forgiving. One ketchupy paw here, another gravy soaked cheek there and all of a sudden your couture looks like a mucky tea towel. So choosing guests who don’t need hosing down after dinner is advisable.
2) Will they think it’s funny to shout out mid-ceremony?
When I’m standing at the altar and the shit is about to get real, I can’t imagine I’ll be in the mood for jokes. As entertaining as it is when somebody bursts in during a soap opera wedding at the ‘Does anybody have any reason why these two mugs should not be married?’ moment, I don’t think it would be so funny in real life. So if you’ve got a friend whose pursuit of laughs is likely to outweigh their fear of being punched in the face with a bouquet, maybe leave them off the list.
3) Would your fiancé be better off marrying them?
The groom’s final chance to make a run for it before the ball and chain is attached comes when he’s arrived at the venue and is watching the guests arrive. So be careful not to invite anyone who might make him think he’s made the wrong choice. For example, my other half likes festivals and camping and generally being sociable outdoors. I, on the other hand, don’t even like watching festival coverage on TV because all the mud makes me angry. So I won’t be inviting any women with a penchant for portaloos lest he realises at the last minute what he’s missing. Best to opt for your most offensive acquaintances to make sure you stand out as the best option.
4) Will they notice if the registrar’s eyes don’t match the centre pieces?
As a couple for whom it took more than 12 months to change the light bulb in our bedroom, I think it’s unlikely that we will be organised enough to ensure every detail of our wedding is perfect. And that’s fine as long as nobody mentions how much of a shame it is that the wedding vows are not written in the same font as the invitations, or that the sausages on the barbecue are not the exact pink of the flowers. So I recommend crossing off any perfectionists you know and prioritising your less observant friends and relatives – they won’t notice if the wedding car banner actually says ‘Just Barried’.
5) Can they dance?
The best thing about wedding receptions is that everyone lets their hair down and dances like idiots until their feet can take no more. And just as good singers are not welcome at karaoke, good dancers have no place at weddings. I want air punching and hip thrusting and the occasional robot. So if you’re as dangerous as I am on the dance floor, leave anybody with rhythm or co-ordination at home, they’ll just make you look bad.
So there you have it. It’s a cut throat approach but at least it’ll prevent you having to spend your big day in a marquee the size of Wales.
Or if you choose to opt out then just make sure you buy some honey. Card can be ever so tasteless on its own.