@stuffisthings Me! Me! (we have 0 butlers, but I would love to talk about this--anonymously--because it is a THING that (a) makes my life amazing in many many ways but also (b) makes many baseline friendship transactions totally complicated in ways that I can not talk about with other people.)
@Charlsie I think there are MANY situations where +1s are not appropriate! Oh my god, I have so many strong feelings about this. Basically I think you invite people who live together /are married / the equivalent and give those who will literally not know anyone else a +1. If you are having a laid back / informal wedding, sure, the more the merrier. But in other scenarios? I can't emphasize enough how rude it is when people assume they are entitled to bring any random +1 (which is not to say your boyfriend of 2 years is in that category!) But people also get burned by poor seating. The best weddings I've been to BY FAR had assigned tables and mixed the groups a little. This forces you to talk to other guests and get to know people better. It's the only way to make friends at a wedding. Open seating is a disaster and grouping friends with friends often backfires. Of course, the "living together" litmus is slightly arbitrary and there are always reasonable exceptions. But I have no patience with people who whine that their +1 didn't get invited unless it's an obvious slight. I could go on about this for many paragraphs, but that's probably not appropriate at this point.
I had thought I was too old for the multi-wedding summer, but this year we have 6, a new high after the epic 8 wedding summer of 2008 (since I got married in '07, I went to all but one of those weddings out of reciprocal guilt). I am now an expert on almost all aspects of weddings, from several different perspectives. Here are Thoughts! -having the wedding in the city you grew up in, or somewhere else important to you/pretty, and then a casual party in the city where you actually live is a great way to manage the cost for guests. We got relatives, friends of family, and the people who love us most at the wedding. The large group of friends and coworkers came to the casual party in town - no travel and an open bar = less $$ guilt. Plus, less formal expectation of a gift (not that I assumed we'd get gifts from all guests, I didn't get married to collect loot!). Plus, the actual wedding was smaller (175 instead of the original 225 we'd been budgeting for) which was a savings for us. -I paid for bridesmaid dresses for my 2 non-relative bridesmaids. Sure, this added about $300 to my bill, but that was a small fraction of my wedding cost and made a big difference to them. -Save the Dates! These are either evil or amazing. Amazing because they give you lots of lead time to book an airplane or hotel room at a discount. Evil because they presume attendance. My mother was HORRIFIED by the idea of sending save the dates. "If we tell everyone the date nine months in advance, how will anyone politely decline?" Her point basically being that save the dates hold the invitee hostage. We compromised: once we had a date set, I emailed people who knew we were engaged and told them we weren't doing save the dates, but they were going to be invited and they should email me if they wanted advance info about hotels and transportation. But since we had blocked off rooms at a special rate, those who only found out the date when the invite arrived were not screwed. I know this is controversial, but I now feel resentful whenever I get a save the date. How will I politely decline if I've known the date for months? Send me an invite 6 weeks out. If I can make it work, I'll be there. If I can't, I won't and we never need to talk about why. Finally, if you want to have a million people you love at your wedding, get married somewhere close to where you live or grew up. If you want to get married in a beautiful remote place, please recognize that only your wealthy friends will be there.