The Wedding Invitation B List has never been a favorite subject to me in all my 40+ years as a personal stationery retailer. I have always felt that for a once in a lifetime event you should invite everyone. Casting someone to the Wedding Invitation B list, besides being tacky, must also mean that they cannot be that important to you. I once had a discussion with a bride who told me she had “best friends” but she also had “very best friends”. Luckily they were all invited to the wedding but unfortunately, their graded relationship was recorded for all to see in the ceremony program. Ouch!
Putting my personal opinion aside, I have had to face the reality that cost and venue size must add into the equation when planning the invited guest list. Multiple families, multiple occupations and multiple life long friends can make for a list that overpowers your budget and makes the Wedding Invitation B List a necessity.
OK so you have a problem. How best can we solve it? First, you need to define the problem and then you can attack the solution.
- Make a list of everyone you want to invite. Then divide the list into 2 categories. The first, the “A List” are all those people that absolutely must be invited from Mom and Dad all the way down to your closest friends. Don’t forget to include in your count your wedding party. The second category includes all those people that you would like to invite, or better known as the “B List”.
- Prioritize your lists. The first list of musts is a given but the second list of likes is where you get your wiggle room. Prioritize the second list as to which of these people rank highest in your desire to extend an invitation. The bottom of this list would be those people who are not so important to you but, if you could, you would like them to share in your wedding day.
- Don’t divulge that there is a B List. It seems elementary that awareness of a B List should only be known to the bride and groom. However, social media and the need for someone else’s feedback or advice can sometimes let the cat out of the bag. As a result there are hurt feelings and misunderstandings that can dampen the success of your wedding plans.
- Consider group relationships carefully. I can’t tell you how many times I hear about the problem with inviting work friends. In your work setting you will naturally have a few people that you engage with regularly while some co-worker relationships can be more casual. If you engage with a few of these people outside of work regularly and it is well known by everyone in the group, then go ahead and add those people to the Wedding Invitation A List. Otherwise, all of your co-workers can be delegated to the Wedding Invitation B List.
- Make use of that Wedding Dance for your group friends. There is an additional solution we have used in the past that has worked well for many couples. Consider using a separate invitation to your group relationships that only invites them to the after dinner wedding dance. This is a great way to invite co-workers, the softball team, fraternity/sorority members, church groups etc. This is a cost effective measure that can be a win-win solution and spares everyone’s feelings. This way the entire group is treated equally and they are probably just as happy as a group to be invited to the dance and not the ceremony and dinner.
- Consider the respond date on your RSVP cards. Most wedding invitations are mailed 6-8 weeks in advance of the wedding and the response dates are 3-4 weeks ahead of the wedding. When there is a Wedding Invitation B List you have 2 solutions. One way is to mail earlier, say 10 weeks, and lengthen the respond time to 3 weeks before your event. I would not change the response date to any closer than that. Some people by nature are late responders so I would not give any more time to them. On the positive side, most people who know they will not be coming usually respond quickly so you can replace the regrets with people on the B List right away and they will still have time to respond before your respond date expires. A second solution for the respond card is to order 2 cards with 2 different dates. The A card would be dated 4-5 weeks before the wedding and the B card would be 3 weeks before the wedding.
Two final thoughts. . . Don’t forget to order enough invitations for both lists. And be sure to visit the bottom of our homepage to request your Free Addressing Guide as our free gift to you for stopping by.
And, regardless of your hard work and planning, you will still have people who neglect to respond at all. We have some answers for you on how to handle these folks in a future blog. Stay tuned!
Be well and be kind! Until next time.