The Drama Llama Named Mama

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning

As I am quite well-versed as to who is on our rather select guest list, I know for certain that I did not invite the Drama Llama or even send them a Save the Date!

Unfortunately what I didn’t realized was that someone we are inviting has been doing a little moonlighting.

Namely, Mama Leadfoot.

On Mom's 50th Birthday Cruise: Miss Road Trip, Mama Leadfoot, Brother Speedy, Dr. Aunt, Brother Truck & SiL Teacher | personal picture

On Mom’s 50th Birthday Cruise: Miss Road Trip, Mama Leadfoot, Brother Speedy, Dr. Aunt, Brother Truck & SiL Teacher | personal photo

Have you ever been in one of those situations where you know you very specifically said A but the other party in the conversation seems to have heard D? That’s what must have happened all those times I said the following to Mom: “just immediate family and close friends, no more than 50 people, max.”

Seriously. Those words have been my mantra since we started planning. In fact, I know I used those exact words when she asked “You’re not thinking of having a big wedding, are you?” when I mentioned we’d started our venue hunt.

Now, I love our guest list. I love that each person on there is an active part of our lives. I also love that by each of us having done the big church wedding in the past, inviting everyone and their cousin to it, we’ve fulfilled our social milestone obligation and I feel no undue pressure to extend those courtesy invites to people we hardly ever talk to.

Or, at least, I didn’t until Mama Leadfoot started in on me a few months ago.

The conversation started something like this back in March:

M.LF: Several people [at a cousin’s wedding back home I was unable to attend] were asking about your wedding plans and I just didn’t know what to tell them since you aren’t inviting any of them.

Miss RT: Well, you could say that we’re having a small wedding with just immediate family and close friends.

M.LF: Well, I’ll tell them to ask you about it because I don’t know anything about it!

Passive-aggressive there, much, Mom?

Now, to her credit, she doesn’t know “anything” about the wedding (not completely true, but we’ll go with it for now) because she doesn’t ask about the wedding. I know she’s happy for us, I think she’s even looking forward to it, but you wouldn’t know it by her inquiries on the subject. And this might not be so obvious if she didn’t ask everybody about everything at every opportunity (we work together, she asks our clients about their kids wedding plans; she’s just that kind of nosey). If I don’t bring it up, she doesn’t either, and even then sometimes when I mention our plans in passing she doesn’t comment on them.

And the reason is the guest list.

The rest of that conversation was me trying to explain that between our budget (which she is not contributing to) and our preferences, we’d like to keep it small. And if I invite her one sister then I really would have to invite that sister’s daughter and granddaughter, not to mention the rest of that side of the family who all live in the same small town and talk quite regularly. And suddenly our guest list has doubled, and that’s before adding in my father’s side of the family or any of Mr. Road Trip’s extended relations. That’s why we made the demarcation immediate family.

It also causes me to do the confused puppy head-tilt when I think of all those times she was oh, so glad that she moved us away from said family members and how she didn’t want to be a part of their gossip and in-fighting and how horrible that self-same sister was to her growing up. And then Mama Leadfoot says to me:

Well, it hurts my feelings that you aren’t inviting them, but I guess that’s my problem.

Just twist that knife, okay?

Of course, at this point I just have to give up–but not give in! First of all, our budget wouldn’t stand the change, it’s just not a possibility. Secondly, the contract we have with our venue is for a fairly small space and was booked over a year ago and there was just no changing it at that point, even if we did fall into a pile of money to afford it. Finally, though, with family comes even more drama. And while I respect my roots and where I come from, I don’t need them telling their favorite make-fun-of-Miss-Road-Trip-as-a-brainy-6-year-old stories that they tell every. visit. home. Teasing is not my love language (is it anyone’s? sometimes I wonder).

So our guest list currently sits at 8 family members, 7 co-workers, and around 20 mutual friends. These are people that make an effort to be a part of our lives (another thing they do not have in common with most of my family) and support us as a couple. And if anything, it’s likely to get smaller, not bigger.

Did you have any Drama Llama sightings from an unexpected corner?

The 8-Month To-Do List

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning

To-Do List graphic

Another month down and a whole new list of things to work on this month in order to stay on track for our November wedding. Now, last month we’d already completed all the suggested to-dos but had plenty of DIY to get done, still. Let’s see how we’re looking for this month:

  • Hire the photographer and videographer (photographer: check! videographer–would be nice, but we’ll have to see how the final numbers shake out)
  • Book entertainment (it’s not that type of a wedding, folks)
  • Meet caterers (they came with the venue and we won’t sit down for a tasting for a few more months)
  • Purchase wedding dress (done!)
  • Reserve a room block for out-of-town guests (there’s on-site lodging at HLP, but it might not hurt to reserve some rooms in-town, too, huh?)
  • Register for gifts (we’re opting out of this one)
  • Create your wedding website (started, not yet complete)

So, not to shabby on the to-do front, only a couple things left to be dealt with for this month: the room block for folks wishing to stay in town as opposed to in the country, and the wedding website.

The above is based on the Ultimate Wedding Planner on It’s fabulous and this month so stream-lined that it’s more of a quote than a paraphrase. Other sites also suggest I start my wedding workout routine now (um, hi, have we met? No) and to book a florist. Since we’re not using one of those, we’re good, thanks. They also suggest finalizing the guest list.

See, now this is one of those sticky bits for me. We have a working list, it’s more or less set, but it’s short on family and tall on friends. Frankly, friends have a way of wandering away over time, and 8 months is still plenty of time for someone to piss me off enough to where they’re no longer welcome in my house, much less at my wedding. (It’s already happened once, sad to say–only not really, life is much sweeter without toxic people around, right?) Also, whose to say we don’t meet a fabulous new friend in 4 months? And we’ve got a strict body count to work with for our reception venue, so I’d hate to make one of those instantaneous, we-must-have-known-each-other-in-a-former-life type of friends and not be able to invite them because we’re friendly with but not platonic crushing on is already taking up a spot. So the guest list will likely not be finalized until 2 months before when we start prepping the invitations.

As for the Save the Dates, we’re sending them (because I love the idea of them and the idea I have for them, more on that soon), but only to the definites: family members, long-time friends, select coworkers.

Gosh that sounds mercenary, but considering the hell I go through with who to invite to the house parties we regularly throw, I’m really not wanting to chance it, ya know?

And, yes, I’ll be putting together one of those template-based wedsites that just about every plugged-in bride and groom use and you know why? Because our guests don’t necessarily need to see all this rambling I’ve got going on up in here. It’s just not relevant. Not to mention it’ll spoil what few surprises we might be planning, ya know?! To that end, though, I’ve had one started via since last fall (last fall meaning 2011, way before we had anything to put up there other than the date…I liked to look at the countdown). Now we actually have information to fill in the blanks!

Pretty Book and Flower Icon


When did you start your wedding website?
Did you use one of the templates through a big wedding site or make your own from the ground up?

The Guest List


I love to entertain and I take my job as hostess very seriously, trying to put together the best possible experience for my guests with each occasion. But after a theme and date are chosen and before much of anything else can be done, I have to create the guest list that will be a perfect fit for my party.

Now, you might be thinking, what’s the big deal: invite your friends and be done with it. Sure, for some events that’s totally acceptable and will result in a wonderful party. Sometimes, though, you might need to be a bit more selective.

An Open House gives you carte blanche to invite anyone and everyone in your address book because the party is very fluid, it’s mix-and-mingle for the duration and people are free to come for the whole thing or stop by for only a moment or two. Hors d’oeuvres and cocktails are the menu, in most cases, and those are easy to replenish throughout the evening.

Your available space is a deciding factor that can drastically limit your guest list. Of course you think about how many can comfortably sit around the table for a dinner party or on your couches for a movie party but something you also need to consider is how much parking your home or venue can offer. The last people you want crashing your party are the cops or angry neighbors because you’re blocking streets or driveways.

Plus you should consider the kind of party you’re throwing from the guest’s perspective. Say you’re throwing a wine tasting party (which is totally on my party-to-do list for Fall) as a for instance. The entire party is about tasting wine and what foods go with the wines and wine, wine, wine. If you invite someone who is allergic to or just doesn’t drink wine, they’re gonna be completely left out of the festivities. Knowing who likes what will help create  a guest list that ensures fun for both them and you.

Finally, there’s always the horror story about weddings where you can’t seat Mrs. Hatblossom at the same table as Mr. Feltenberger because they used to be together but he ran off with her sister and now no one speaks to each other. Don’t invite rival factions or sworn enemies to a party unless it’s a) a very big party or b) you’re looking forward to a bit of extra drama. Save yourself (and the rest of your guests) the hassle and even though it hurts, choose a side. If you just can’t invite one without the other, make the tough call and don’t invite either of them.

Crafting a guest list is more than just printing out your address book onto labels and calling it a day. Choose your guests with an eye towards how they’ll mix with each other and the event you have in mind and you’re that much closer to a perfect party.