Dear Married or Engaged 100 Hour Board Writers,
How did you decide who to invite to your sealing? Did you invite every aunt and uncle from each side, or endowed cousins? Were any you didn't invite upset?
How about your reception? How did you gather addresses? Is Facebook tacky for this or a good tool?
This is much harder than I expected.
My husband and I invited all my aunts and uncles to our sealing, but not very many of my husband's—a lot of his aunts and uncles aren't members of the Church, and he had never even met a lot of them that are, so it was a pretty easy choice for us not to invite them. We invited a few of our endowed cousins to the sealing (emphasis on few) who we had really good relationships with, but none of the rest of them. Sealing rooms have limited seating, which means inviting everybody isn't even an option, so we didn't feel too bad about not inviting everyone we knew.
Facebook is the easiest way I know to gather addresses for invitations, and it's what we did. We created a group, and posted a link to a Google form at the top where people could give us their addresses. Instead of doing a mass invite to our entire friends list, we both went through and added people to the group individually, both to avoid annoying people who didn't want to be added to our group, and because we couldn't afford throwing a reception for our entire friends list. We weren't super exclusive about who we added to the group for invites to the reception, but we did handpick all of them. We also both got lists of people to invite from our parents.
I have no idea if anybody wanted to be invited to the sealing/reception and was upset that they weren't, because if anybody was, they had the good sense not to mention it to us. Your wedding is about you; don't spend the entire lead-up to it worrying about what other people will think. Just do what makes you and your fiance happy, because you two are probably the only ones who will still look back on the day in 20 years anyways.
Vienna and I basically left the decision of what family to invite up to our parents, and then filled in the extra spaces with friends and other people we knew. We did use a Facebook event, which I don't think is tacky, but a word of warning: not all of your Facebook friends may see your invitation, so you'll probably want to double-check the list and reach out to anybody who didn't fill out your form.
So, yeah, we mostly left that decision to other people, but hey: I was finishing up my last semester of a physics degree, and she was student teaching. We kind of had a lot on our plates.
For the sealing, we invited the Aunts/Uncles who would conceivably attend. We may have invited all of mine, I'm not sure about my husband's (he has a lot!) We also had in the temple our bishop and his wife, the members of our bridal party who were endowed, and I think one of my cousins who was endowed. Nobody got upset with either of us about not being invited.
For our reception - we got lists from each set of parents. My parents have moved a lot and have semi-regularly sent out Christmas cards/letters, so they have a decently maintained database of names they could give me. We also had a Facebook group. I think using a Facebook group is a good tool, but probably not the ONLY thing you need to do. Some people will (wrongly) assume you already have their address or just won't want to fill it out even if they want an invitation.
Have fun wedding planning!
We invited Tally's aunts and uncles but not mine because I have a ton and she only has a few. I mean, we had a limit on the number of people we could have in the sealing room and my immediate family filled more than half that space.
Also, I think Facebook is a great tool for inviting people. In fact, I would say that is almost the entire purpose of Facebook since I don't actually post much there but I still have like 900 friends. Who are those friends? All the people I want to maybe send wedding invites to and maybe want to get wedding invites from. You can even do the whole "Put your name and address in this google doc and we'll send you an invite" so you don't feel bad if you forget anyone because now it's their responsibility to opt in to getting an invite. You save money and time so you don't have to hand write addresses or put stickers on envelopes or anything like that. Plus, if someone unfriended you on Facebook then you know not to send an invite to them.
On the other hand, Tally and her mom think Facebook is very tacky and not a great way to invite people and very impersonal. I'll let you guess which approach we took.
Dear puce and tangerine,
For the sealing, we invited all the aunts and uncles on both sides knowing only a fraction could come. We would have invited endowed cousins too but all were on missions. We were worried about inviting one uncle who has schizophrenia and is sometimes disruptive, but he was fine. We were glad there were a lot of other people we were close to to balance it out. My parents also invited a few close family friends.
We invited lots of people to the reception. Owlet thought a mass invite would have been tacky so she individually messaged each of her friends (or rather sent them a link to a google form to fill out). She mostly hoped contacting them personally would make it more likely for them to fill out the form and/or send us a gift. And we gave a hundred invitations to our parents to give to their friends.
Dear colores de boda,
My wife's parents and most of her family aren't active members of the Church. We eventually decided to limit the sealing to my immediate family members, since it seemed inappropriate for anyone else to be there when nobody from her family could be with us. It was the least bad of several bad options. Four years later, I still have a lot of regrets about the whole situation, but I don't think there were any better solutions available to us under the circumstances and I would probably make the same decision again.
Dear Wedding ~
First, we reserved the biggest sealing room Mt. Timpanogos had to offer. Then we invited all of our aunts* and uncles, siblings and spouses, 3 of my best friends over the years, and of course, parents. We filled the room quite well. We did not invite cousins. That would be insane. My grandma has 17 kids and step kids. Both of our families are large and mostly active LDS. There's just not room enough for that. No one expects it in my family.
Basically, we looked at what all my siblings had done (I'm the youngest) and gauged if that would work with Yellow's family (he's the oldest; sibling tradition had not yet been set). It did, so we went with it.
As for the reception, our parents mostly gathered addresses. My mom likes to invite EVERYONE, so we did. [shrug] Parents paid for it and more presents for me, so... not too put out by that. I wrote a list of my friends' and their addresses in a Google Sheet. If I were to do it now, I would send out a Google Form. While Facebook existed back then (10 years ago, folks!), it was not a useful tool for gathering addresses like it is now. Instead I sent a mass email, hopefully bcc, and asked people to send me their addresses if they wanted an invite. People I was close to I asked directly.
Mostly, I'm ridiculously chill and don't really care about things like this. Heck, two weeks before my wedding I went to France for a week, and pretty much left my mother-in-law in charge of everything. So if you care, maybe I'm not the one to ask.
~ Dragon Lady
*Which led to a really hilariously awkward moment when The Heartless Siren came to give us congratulations afterwards and hugged us both. When she hugged Yellow, he scratched her back, which is an inside joke (which I will share if anyone cares) and we all thought was really funny. Unfortunately a few of my aunts saw and their eyes went wide and their jaws dropped, and I'm pretty sure they thought their new nephew-in-law was cheating on me in the sealing room. Also, I recognize that THS's nym at this moment is terribly appropriate, but I swear, she had that nym LONG before our wedding.