That's G as in "guest."
As I mentioned before, our guest list has been shrinking exponentially over the past year. This is deliberate, on our parts, and unwitting on the parts of some who did not make the cut…but when all is said and done, it will be just fine, which is the point of this blog entry.
When we made out the first guest list well over a year ago, we felt we had to invite former co-workers; former bosses; “friends” (air quotes-friends-air quotes) from elementary, middle, or high school that we hadn’t seen since elementary, middle, or high school; and family members we hadn’t seen in twenty-plus years. It was a wedding, after all…and isn’t that what weddings were supposed to be: a convergence of everyone who has ever touched my life, however tangentially, with anyone who has ever touched his life?
I continue to meet newlyweds and engaged couples who tell me guest list horror stories. “My mother insisted that I invite Aunt Ethel and Uncle Herb!” Meanwhile, no one in the family has had any real contact with Aunt Ethel or Uncle Herb outside of the annual Christmas card/litany of health woes since Jimmy Carter was in office, but the bride or groom relented and Aunt Ethel and Uncle Herb were there, resplendent in polyester double-knit, regaling the guests at the reception with—you guessed it—a summary of every ache, pain, minor ailment, and major surgery they have ever had, might possibly need in the future, and will never need but fear anyway.
These are the same people who also gave in when their mother insisted on twelve bridesmaids and twelve groomsmen.
Well, our mothers were not consulted, so there will be no Aunt Ethel or Uncle Herb, but we did have the niggling voices in our own heads insisting that we invite that girl we used to hang out with and haven’t seen in ten years, or that guy we used to work with, or that couple that lived next door fifteen years ago. So, we made out our list of over seventy-five guests, and mailed off our save-the-date cards (which, while I am on the subject, are regularly referred to as STDs by any website or print publication pertaining to the wedding planning process, and I just have to ask: who in the gay hell decided that was a good idea? But I digress…). Then we had to postpone the wedding, and while it did suck, in the end it was a good thing…because over half of the people we invited the first time didn’t need to be on the guest list anyway, and when you have an entire year to really reflect on who you want to be at your wedding and why, you really learn a lot—not just about the guests, but also about yourselves.
In the past year, we really paid attention to who we kept in contact with and what those exchanges were like. Who did we see and actually hang out with, and what was it like when we spent time with them? Who, of those who lived in other states, did we keep in touch with via phone or email or social media, and what were those exchanges like? The results were surprising. I learned that I had a lot of acquaintances, but really only a solid double handful of true friends. I realized that some people I thought I liked actually irked the hell out of me if I had to spend more than five minutes with them at a time. And I discovered that I didn’t even attempt to stay in touch with some people, because you know the saying: “To have friends, you must first be a friend.” (That may be paraphrased, but you get what I’m saying.)
And Derwood went through the same discovery process, then we both came to the same conclusion: when you are making out the list of people you want to surround yourself on what you fully intend to be the happiest, most symbolic day of your life, why would you even consider—or allow yourself to be coerced into—having anyone there who does not play a truly vital role in your life? I mean, I don’t want to be exchanging vows and glance out over the gathering and have to gnash my teeth at the sight of an Aunt Ethel or an Uncle Herb or that annoying cow from the office or that guy I had that class with who asked all those annoying questions. I want to be happy and at peace and filled with positive thoughts and good energy. And why anyone would want otherwise for their wedding day goes beyond my comprehension.
So, here we are, less than a month from our wedding day, and we have mailed out new invitations—sent, strategically, only five weeks before the day—to less than fifty people. At this point, we are at less than forty confirmed guests, and those are people we really and truly want to be there. Now, we really and truly wanted everyone we invited to be there, too, but life happens. As I keep saying, we’re keeping it small and cheap and very intimate. I know there are those folks out there who will accept no less than a ginormous wedding on the scale of the British royal family, and to them I say “Have fun with that! But don’t let me run into you later and listen to you whine about Aunt Ethel and Uncle Herb!”