Q: I'm getting married--this is not my problem, but it is the source from which my dilemma springs.  You see, we are planning to have a small ceremony with only close friends and family, and like many brides to be I am being hounded pursued by casual acquaintances well wishers seeking an invitation.  The truth is that I would love to invite them all, but I'm limited by the size of my venue.  I originally sought to combat this situation by planning a pig roast on the eve on my wedding to which any and all are invited, but now I'm second guessing my choice of date for the roast, and the invitations have already been printed.  What do you think is the best way to invite these nut jobs colleagues to the one without making them feel excluded from the other?

One (Wedding Survivor):  Here's the thing about weddings: They're actually a lot more like real life than those in the middle of them (i.e., YOU) realize.  This may well be the most beautiful/important/emotional day of your life, but that same level of passion doesn't translate to the entire guest list.  I think you already have a really great plan.  It sounds fun, and just for the record, way more inclusive than most.  Let go of the guilt, do what feels right, and then commit yourself to fully enjoying every minute.  Remember, you can never make everyone happy -- so make sure that you and your Love are on cloud nine.  Everyone else can work through their issues in therapy. 

Two (Thinks about this stuff all the time lately...): How much did you spend on the invitations?  If you spent a lot, stop second guessing yourself.  It is really nice to include people in your happiness as long as it doesn't create too much residual stress.  Your friends will be happy that you thought of them and wanted to include them in some way.  If they are your friends, they should also understand that you are not loaded and probably not in charge of your guest list or wedding.  let them know that his is your piece of the wedding and that you want them to be included in it. 

Three (Salivator):  Your apprehensions around inviting people to only the pig roast should stop by the time you say the words "PIG ROAST." I'm vegetarian and that still sounds awesome.  No one in their right mind is going to think "I'm only invited to the pig roast, boo-hoo, poor me."  And if they do think that, that's their problem not yours.

Four (Selfish): Call me old fashioned (or selfish, or crazy, or unreasonable), but, I have always believed that weddings are actually more about the marriage than the party--more about you and your fiancé making the commitment to spend your lives together, than the random guy at work who wants to participate (no matter how good or bad his intentions may be). So, I totally applaud your decision to have a small wedding. I think it will probably be absolutely wonderful to have only those you know and love best around during your wedding. I appreciate your efforts to have a party for everyone else, but agree that it may be unnecessarily stressful to hold the event the night before your wedding. Why not wait until after you get back from your honeymoon? It will be easier for you and--unless they're really crazy--I don't think anyone else will mind. at all. I guess it depends a little on how expensive your invitations were, but--I would say--for the sake of you and your nerves (and everyone who has to be around both of you during that wonderful but maddening time)--reprint. Or, if reprinting is just too expensive, send the BBQ invites via email. The thought of sending e-vites may make you cringe, but people do it all the time, and BBQ's are usually super casual anyway, so I don't think anyone will judge you too much :)  Whatever you decide to do, CONGRATULATIONS! (and, I'll hate you forever if I don't get an invitation to that BBQ...what's it to me that I've never met you before?) And by BBQ I definitely meant pig roast. Yeah.

Five (Unempathetic): From extensive participation in small weddings and their consolation celebrations, I've learned that the best way to invite people to one, but not the other, is simply this:
             Invite them to one, but not the other.
If they even notice, people should have thick enough skins to realize that they aren't the most important thing to you on your wedding day. If they decide to take umbrage, you can write them off as pissy haters, therefore nullifying any guilt which you may feel. Also, do a tree a favor and send out your already printed invites. . . or just 'reprint' them with a handy dandy Sharpie (it's what I'd do)!

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