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Wedding Planning: Numbers Game

September 22, 2009

You know that ring I was gushing about in the previous post?

The shiny thing? Yeah. THAT one.

Turns out the the thing is a veritable beacon to family, friends, acquaintances… even strangers in stores.

They zero in on the sparkle and, as if programmed by some wedding obsessed fiend, immediately spit out “Ohhhhh! Did you set a date?”

To which I typically reply, “No, we aren’t sure yet. You know, Belgium and all.”

They all accepted the (admittedly lame) excuse for the first few months. Like Belgium was some sort of condition that had to be cured before giant halls and childhood chapels could be booked.

But. 10 months in (yes, 10!), we still do not have a date. Or a venue.

We’ve got a guy. And a girl. And a ring.

Isn’t that enough?

Apparently not.

If you ask either of our mothers they will exclaim in tones of mock (scratch that, genuine) consternation, “WHAT is SO difficult?? Check out a few locations, pick a place, set a date and we’ll all show up.”

And therein lies the problem. “We’ll ALL show up.”

If my ENTIRE family plus our close family friends all show up we’ll fill a half dozen pews at the church. Including aunts, uncles, cousins, family friends (including little kids) we’re in the 50-60 range.


Under normal circumstances, you would approximate the same number for the fiance’s side, invite 50 friends and have a lovely gathering of 150 or so of your friends and family.

Super awesome.


Except that BF does not come from “normal” circumstances. His was not the standard American family with 2.4 kids and a dog. His family would take up a dozen + aisles. Standing room only. Christmas mass style. How?

He is the eldest of 7.

His father is the eldest of 9.

His mother is the 5th of 16.

He has 90 first cousins. At last count.

His father is remarried and his stepmother has siblings who are close with BF.

Etiquette dictates that if we invite my entire family, we have to invite his entire family.

We’re talking 300+ people. THREE HUNDRED. 3-0-0. Like the movie. But even more terrifying.

And the’yd “all show up.”

I have a panic attack just thinking about it. Nightmares of tripping down the aisle in front of 300 laughing strangers. Of spending the entire reception meeting people and engaging in small talk ala “It’s so nice to meet you! Did you enjoy the salmon?” instead of dancing with friends.

Because that’s the thing. I’ve met maybe 20 members of BF’s extended family. If we do invite all of these people, I’m pretty sure there will be a quiz component to the invitation. Along with the RSVP, they will have to answer three simple questions. If they get any of them wrong, their acceptance of the invitation will be null & void. Or perhaps it will self destruct, Mission Impossible style. I still have to play with the details. I know the questions though:

1. Who is getting married? First & Last names please. (I’d be sure to not include my first name anywhere on the invite…)

2. Where do we currently live? (I may accept “Europe” but Cleveland or Pittsburgh will be an immediate disinvite.)

3. Where did we go to college?

+  Bonus question: What do we do for a living? (#3 could get tricky for some people so I’ll throw in a bonus question…)

Ha. Except it’s not so funny.

So. Yes. Our first hurdle in setting a date has not been the dreaded “Belgium” disease but rather the Numbers Game. How do we have the kind of ceremony we want, surrounded by the people we love, without offending anyone? And without going bankrupt?

It’s taken 10 months but we’ve come up with some options. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s discussion of said options.

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