I’m fortunate that I was able to find a venue that’s sort of a one-stop shop. My ceremony and reception will be at Fort Gibraltar, who have catering, an in-house DJ, and decoration options. Plus, it’s on the river, right near The Forks and downtown. I booked it over a year in advance because I knew this was the one for me. Why would I want to have to pull all these things together when I don’t have to?

As much as I love my venue, it’s not huge. With tables, we can squeeze 100 people in the dining room. I’m also fortunate enough that I have lots of supportive family and friends, many of whom live in Winnipeg. So how do I decide who gets to be a part of the day?

I opened a glorious Excel spreadsheet and made colour-coded categories: family (first, of course), childhood friends, work friends, and college friends. Then I started with the obvious ones. Parents, grandparents, our wedding party. When you get to guest numbers 88 and 89, you start wondering if you actually need that many people there. Or if you actually like that many people.

I’m not a huge fan of tradition. I hate the fact that some people feel obligated to invite people to their wedding just because their parents want you to invite them (sorry to my dad’s 50 first cousins). I hate the fact that I feel obligated to invite people to my wedding just because they invited me. I hate that sometimes I feel like I can’t talk about my wedding around people that I’m not inviting. But the fact is that weddings cost money. It doesn’t matter if something is or isn’t “polite,” because for every person I invite, I add (at least) $50 to the bill.

So I’m evaluating and re-evaluating my guest list constantly. I’m making sure that everyone who I want to be there is there. But I’m also making sure that I don’t over-invite just to be polite and make someone else happy.