My Little Etiquette Shop? Sure, we can do that.

Inviting the Obamas to your wedding and other guest list tidbits! Etiquette inquiries welcome! Fear inspiring questions for brides: Am I invited? Can I bring my boyfriend? The kids? The poodle?  Compile our experienced staff, and we have a giant collective wedding-brain at My Little Flower Shop. One designer spent time writing etiquette advice for a wedding website that shall go nameless (ahem – rhymes with ‘hot.’)  She ghost-wrote for an editor at BRIDES magazine, so we figured her thoughts merited space here every so often. Today’s topic? Guest lists. Hit it, Hot Etiquette Chick!
Philip Galanes, of the New York Times’ “Social Qs” column recently fielded this question.
The Self-Inviting Guest

I am getting married next month in a small ceremony. I work in a midsize company and have invited a few colleagues. We have a new deputy director, and when my wedding was mentioned in passing, he asked if he would be invited. I hadn’t intended to, but I was so shocked that I said he would be. I don’t want to make things awkward, but I don’t particularly want him there. Is there anything I can do about this now?

Anonymous, the Netherlands

File the deputy director under “P” for pushy.  I get that you were ambushed, Dutch girl, but you had such a beautiful (and honest) way out: “Actually, it’s a small wedding,” you might have said. “Just family and a few close friends.” But having flubbed it, and having told the man he was invited, I don’t see how you can retract the invitation without awkwardness.  Maybe he’ll bring a great gift.

Another thing: Brides- and grooms-to-be should be careful talking about their weddings at the office, especially when only some colleagues are invited. We understand you can’t invite everyone, but no one wants to hear endlessly about a party we’re not invited to. And if you’re cherry-picking among co-workers, ask the invited ones to be sensitive about this, too.

Well said Phil. How does one take control of the roster? Besides hiring the experts at My Little Flower Shop to keep you calm, cool and collected, here are 5 favorite tips to keep in mind.

List early, and often

Don’t wait to start making a guest list.  Most likely, we don’t have to tell you this – a lot of brides start a list even before they get engaged.  Nevertheless, for the less future-focused, it’s good to have a starting point. So just start by writing down anyone you can think of that you might want to invite.

Never say never

Once it’s time to start narrowing the pool, don’t invite people assuming “they won’t come.” Even those relatives in Malta your family hasn’t seen for 2 generations might be so touched by the invitation that they decide to get on a plane.

Life on the B list

Despite all the refrigerator magnets, the emails and the skywriting, there are still some people who will have other plans on your wedding day.  You’ve got a limited period of time to fill in, so you haven’t a moment to lose.  Have a back-up list of guests at the ready, addresses and all, so you can fire off invitations as the regrets come in.

Embrace your inner beancounter

Spreadsheets can be beautiful things. You’ll be so happy you started keeping everything in an orderly fashion. One gal we know says the address spreadsheet is her favorite thing that came out of the wedding. They’ve used it for everything  from kids birthday parties to holiday letter personalization. (It was a perfect opportunity to ask to be removed from her holiday letter list, but I just couldn’t. Bless her heart).

Just because you went to hers…

This is not Kindergarten. It’s $125-a-plate-gourmet-brunch-in-the-garden. Every girl you’ve ever seen walk down the aisle doesn’t by default belong on your list. Grown ups know this. If this culls immature friends from your life, lucky you.

Always invite the president

This is one case where you really can assume that they won’t come. But, if you send an invitation to the White House, you’ll get a special greeting back in honor of your wedding. Pretty darned cool. 

The Honorable Barack Obama and Mrs. Obama
The White House
Greetings Office Room 39
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500

A wedding greeting from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

On the subject of the White House and weddings, can we just go on record that Prince William is unbelieveably rude? And that you can put a big old tiara on that Kate chick but she’ll never be as regal as Michelle Obama? But I digress.

It all boils down to this: Focus on who you two really want to smile at on your way back up the aisle. An informal poll of the MLFS staff revealed that is highly likely to be one of the happiest moments of your life. Who do you want to share that with? Go forth and list!