You’re on standby: why I love being a B-list wedding guest

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Plentiful Blossoms Wedding Invitations from Minted.
Tweaked version of Minted's Plentiful Blossoms Wedding Invitations.
A co-worker recently invited my fiancée and me to her wedding in a month. She told us the invite is late because we were on her “B” list. Once everyone on her “A” list had RSVPed, she could invite others.

I always thought you invited everyone at once. I feel like an after-thought. Should I be offended? -B. Lister

The sad truth about a LOT of weddings is that, due to budget or space restrictions at the venue, not everyone gets to invite everyone they want. Plus, when you add the “parental guest list” factor to the mix (and if they're paying for it they get some major say), your invite list can start feeling the pinch.

Still… even the idea of a B-list can send shockwaves throughout the land of Wedding Etiquette-ville. While I get that the concept could make some people have the sads, I think as wedding guests, we should all start embracing the B-list… starting with me!

True story: I was recently, and admittedly, a B-list attendee at a wedding, and it was awesome. I didn't have any less fun because I was a last-minute addition — I just felt lucky to be there. Let me explain why…

The A list

Don't let the name insult you. It doesn't mean “the better people” — it mostly means “the totally necessary people” or “the people that would cause the most turmoil felt for years to come if they aren't invited.” This list includes your close family members, your bestest friends, your wedding party, and possibly people you can't stand because of Game of Thrones-type politics and whoever is footing the bill.

The B-list

What's that you say? Crotchety Aunt Begonia refused to attend because she's always hated your father? (Yay!) And best friend from out of town is going to be giving birth around that time? (Bummer.) There is only one way to celebrate or bounce back from a declined RSVP: Turn to your B-list! Guess who's getting an invite now… that new friend you made two months after you sent out your invites, and a couple of your partners' favorite co-workers.

A and B lists are often a part of wedding planning realities, and they don't speak for how much a couple cares for you. So snatch up those B list invites, and have a great time! Because Aunt Begonia wouldn't even come close to having the kind of fun you're about to have at your friend's wedding.

Fess up: Who here has a B-list or has been on the B-list? How are you handling the invites?

Comments on You’re on standby: why I love being a B-list wedding guest

  1. I was a ‘B List’ bridesmaid once! I was shocked she even asked me, we really weren’t that close but I’m never one to back out of a good time! At the wedding I realized the groom had a ton of super close friends, and she needed some fillers to keep the count even. At the end of the day, it was a beautiful wedding and I am happy to be apart of it, even if I was chosen based on height to match a groomsman.

  2. The B list is one of the rudest things I have ever heard of.
    I have been on a few “A” lists. I have been on a “B” list.
    The people on the A list are those who would offend if they were on the B list.
    But I would rather not be invited at all than be on the B list.

  3. I will never forget the time I felt truly B- listed: We were invited to an afternoon wedding and an evening reception for cake and dancing. We arrived at the hotel at 8:00, as the announcement indicated, and an entire room full of people had just finished a sit-down dinner with wedding cake for dessert. We were the only ones who arrived then, and friends from work greeted us from their table. The bride came over and thanked us for coming. We were served nothing. I still can’t believe it happened. I hate B-lists.

    On the other hand, the formerly-little girl across the street grew up, went to college in another state, met a boy, and moved even further away. This spring, I saw her father outside one warm day, and started chatting with him. I asked how his kids were and if their daughter had married. He said it was coming up but was otherwise vague. I was fine with that because we’ve been sharing baking ingredients and vegetables for 30 years, but our kids haven’t played together since elementary school. About a week later, we got an invitation for a wedding that was less than two weeks away. I acknowledged the invitation to our neighbor, thanked him, and suggested it would upset their arrangements. He said they hadn’t locked in the number so we went, felt extremely welcome and appreciated, and had a lovely time. We were seated with important family of the bride, and received one of the vases of table flowers the next day.

    The first was a snub; the second just a thoughtful oversight. The neighbor girl probably didn’t want to obligate us for a gift, although I was happy to buy one worthy of my daughter’s childhood friend.

  4. I have the exact opposite opinion of having a “B” list. I find it incredibly insulting. We got our invite 5 weeks prior to the wedding. So obvious that we are on the B list. The “B” list is nothing more than another way to get more gifts out of people. We had a family event planned, to celebrate our Moms 80th birthday party, which is now cancelled and will not be rescheduled due to many conflicts with trying to get everyone together. My family feels obligated to go to every event they are invited to. And when you are expected to gift wedding gifts in the $100 plus range, being on a “B” is insulting. It is nothing more than a money grab. I guess if I gave a cheap gift, I wouldn’t feel so ticked off. It is really obvious to people when they don’t get a Save the Date and get an invite 5 weeks prior to the wedding. Hmmm.

    • I think your assumption is a bit of an overgeneralization. I disagree that the B-list is always a gift grab. Maybe some people do that, but people have many reasons for having a B-list. Some people don’t have space or the budget to invite everyone they want, so they have to wait to see how many of the people they were obligated to invite RSVP before inviting people they wanted to invite in the first place but couldn’t. Plenty of couples have people on their B-list whom they genuinely want to attend.

      In my case, I have a couple friends I didn’t invite mainly because I had not spoken to them in a while and was afraid it would seem out of the blue. Unlike me, my fiance invited several friends with whom he has not spoken in a long time or had minimal contact. After seeing how many of them RSVP’d yes, I realized I should have invited these friends. Both of them work for non-profits, so I don’t expect much of a gift if any, but I am genuinely hoping they come. I admit I told a bit of a half-truth and said they were left off the list by mistake because I did not have their addresses. But that’s not really a lie because I don’t have their mailing addresses, and I realize that not inviting them before was a mistake. Hopefully I didn’t compound the mistake by inviting them a month beforehand. I don’t believe they are the type of people who would be offended, or else I would not have invited them.

  5. As I always say (as a wedding guest, and now too as a Bride): B-List is better than no list! I’d much rather make the B-list to someone’s wedding than not make it on to any of their lists and never be invited! People need to be understanding. They obviously want you there but when push comes to shove that’s just how it has to be sometimes. I have no shame in the B-List game! Although, for my wedding I’m not outright telling anyone that they’re on the B-List. I just didn’t send them Save the Dates and as soon as the A-List “No’s” start rolling in, I have the B-List invites ready to go out in the mail!

  6. I was invited to the bridal shower of a co worker friend . So I assumed I was invited to the wedding – have never heard of this b list thing . So I canceled a trip in order to be there Recently found out I Am on the b list. So if someone drops out then I may be invited. Im sorry but I feel this is so hurtful . Now I have no desire to go to shower as I will be with people who will be talking about the wedding and I wasn’t invited. I’m sorry but if you are going to have a b list tell people up front . Hey we have limited space but would really like you to come to shower. I get it . To some friends I talked to they also thought it rude and hurtful . I would rather she said hey limited list etc …I would still have gotten her a gift . I already did . But now I’m just very hurt. I wish she had been honest up front .

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