The Guest List: Addresses, Spreadsheets & Thank-You Note Hand Cramps
The number of guests you plan to host at your wedding is one of those surprising things that has a huge impact on the whole bash. Think about it—your head count rules out some venues, determines how intimate your event will be, not to mention how fifty extra mouths impact the food and beverage budget!
Early on in our planning process before we booked anything, Rooster and I sat down with a deck of index cards and wrote down the names of friends and family (and potential +1’s) that we might invite to the wedding. We took our deck and eventually pared it down to exactly 100 people. We weren’t trying to hit a round number, it just happened that way. The whole thing was very Father of the Bride, but with less drama and more wine.
We found that 100 people was perfect for us. We managed to squeeze both of our (pretty big) families into our deck of cards, plus all of our closest friends (with a lot of out of town guests). But the index cards only worked for so long. We needed to collect addresses for our guests, and even some last names (sorry, friend’s boyfriend I only met once). At the risk of sounding whiny to brides with bigger bashes, I was dreading having to chase down information from every branch of the family tree. Even more, I got tremors thinking about typing it all into a spreadsheet. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s calling people. If there’s two things, it’s calling people and Excel. (Pivot table wizard Mrs. Filly, I am not.)
The existence of Postable proves I’m not alone and there must be a lot us out there who hate chasing down addresses. I forgot where I first heard about Postable, but I must have filed it away in my bride brain because they make the whole thing so easy. After you sign up for an account, they’ll set up an online form and give you a link (something like postable.com/roosterandhen) to share the form with your guests. It dumps all of their info into an online address book which you can export to Excel, Email, or straight to an Avery address label template.
What is potentially the best part about Postable is you can send thank you’s after the wedding straight from the website; they’ll print, stamp and send them on their way for $2.49 each. The part of me that gets hand cramps really likes the idea of typing our thank yous and having the messages printed into real-life (and really cute) cards.
I’m a little concerned that a printed thank you seems less sincere somehow. Even though you can choose fonts that look like handwriting, I don’t think you’re fooling anybody when all your a’s look identical. In fact, it is even more disingenuous if I not only type a card to thank you for coming to the wedding, but then also try to trick you into thinking I hand-wrote it.
Whether or not you do the thank yous, Postable is still an awesome (and otherwise free) tool for gathering addresses and keeping track of your guest list. I exported our guests’ addresses and emails to a spreadsheet, and use it now to keep track of who has RSVP’d through our website’s online form or booked rooms in our hotel blocks.
I’m glad that our group of 100 is a small enough to be manageable and give each guest a little personal hospitality. With my spreadsheet, I’m tracking where guests are staying, when they’ll arrive and other vital stats to make sure we welcome them properly and don’t leave anybody out of wedding weekend festivities. Each of these folks are making a (potentially expensive) trek to be with us on our big day, and we just want to make sure they know how much we appreciate it.
Of course, our perfect 100 has creeped up a bit since our index card days (it’s 106 now). And apparently people are doing this thing called “having babies”? What is that about? We’ve unexpectedly added four babes to our guest list since the first count. Thankfully, the little cuties won’t need their own meals or drink beer. At least not a lot of beer, right?
I feel at peace with the whole organizing-our-guest-list thing—at least until I have to start sending out thank you’s. Would you be offended to get a printed thank you card? What if it was an obviously typed font and not pretending to be handwriting?