The spreadsheets were laid out neatly on the table, color-coded by category. I knew immediately that serious business was afoot. This matter could no longer be put off. Time was growing short and decisions had to be made. Yes, it was time…time to finalize the guest list.
Pam was succinct in her instructions, “There are 211 people on this list. Tonight, we must make the final cuts. None of us are leaving this room until this list only has 180 names.”
The names were grouped into various categories, Dunnevant family, Manchester family, Kaitlin’s friends, Jon’s friends, work friends, family friends, borderline acquaintances, and people who get invited to weddings because of tradition or guilt, and finally a group of people you invite out of courtesy knowing full well that they will never come because they live 1000 miles away.
“But suppose someone we think won’t come decides to make a road trip?” I warned. “Maybe we should add an insert to their invitations as insurance, something like…We would love for you to attend Kaitlin and Jon’s outdoor July wedding here in the south where we consider it bad form for gentlemen to remove their jackets even when it’s 95 degrees with 100% humidity. Can’t wait to see you!”
The delicate strategy of paring down a wedding guest list seemed to center around one central question, who is more likely to get their shorts in a knot if they don’t get invited? A secondary consideration was, did they invite us to their daughter’s wedding?
I glanced down the list. At $75 a head to feed these people and a “chair fee” for every soul over 100, extreme care must be taken. “Who the heck is Elaine Krazinski?” I blurt out. Kaitlin says, “She’s that really nice neighbor lady I met down in Winston-Salem during grad school. Don’t worry, I’m sure she won’t come.”
“Why are we inviting Bob and Sally Buttinski? Do we even like them?”
“Of course not, silly.” Pam explains. “But they are best friends with the Krunkshanks, and since we’ve invited them, we don’t want to make things awkward for Bill and Patty.”
After an hour of such machinations we had our 180 names. Then it happened. As I was cleaning up the supper dishes, I heard Pam say that the postage required to mail out the invitations and the save the date announcements was going to be somewhere around 80-100 bucks. That was when I said, “Finally, something that I can write off as a business expense!”
Pam turned to me with a puzzled expression, “Wait, what do you mean?”
“I’m running those invitations through my postage meter at work!”**
Pam then gave me that look that I have grown to recognize over the years. It’s a combination of, “Oh, aren’t you adorable” and “How can you be so clueless.” She then lowered the boom, “Honey, you are not going to run wedding invitations through a postage machine! We’re buying special heart and romance stamps.”
“What??!!” I pleaded, even though I knew it was no use. “I can’t use my postage machine? I have to buy what.. wait, romance stamps?”
Pam seemed genuinely shocked at my ignorance. “Sweetie, these are wedding invitations, not business correspondence. They are works of art, even and especially down to the type of stamps required.”
So, now the list of things I didn’t know about wedding protocol has reached 87.
** To the NSA/IRS blog scanner: this is known as dramatic license, a writing technique whereby the author exaggerates to better make a point. I would never actually attempt to claim a business deduction for wedding postage. Haha.