Fitting the guest list to the venue (or vice versa)

We both agreed that we wanted a small wedding, consisting of close friends and family; the people whose absence we would feel, if they weren’t there. We came up with 70 people in total.

According to Dunbar, who began his research on primates, the neo-cortex grows to allow for social interaction. Basically, brains have evolved to remember and process information about others, in order to maintain relationships with them. This research can be applied to humans, apparently, and the maximum number of relationships the brain can cope with is the same for both apes and humans: – 150.

This means that our brains (Intended’s and mine) must be somewhat smaller than that of the average ape, as our combined social circle appears to be less than half of Dunbar’s number. Though of course, we had decided not to invite everyone we interact with socially. The wedding wouldn’t be an opportunity for schmoozing the boss or networking; we wanted a small, friendly gathering.

This turned out to be more difficult to arrange than expected. Our group of 70 would have been lost in the majority of official ‘Wedding’ venues. We did visit one absolutely gorgeous little bijou hotel, with a roof terrace, which was perfect – apart from the prices. I balked on seeing the wine list, given what my first thoughts were about the wedding: – get the bar prices right and the guests won’t mind about anything else. I envisaged some friends’ reactions to buying a £7 glass of wine, and decided that this just wasn’t the place for us. Looking at some of the websites advising on budget weddings, I noticed that the lowest budget ones involved either hiring a church hall or commandeering someone’s garden (usually a parent). I pictured our 70 guests looking lonely at one end of a church hall. Then I imagined my Mum’s face on being told that 70 people were coming over for dinner. After this, I thought about some of the ideas I had seen for decorating gardens and church halls, considered my non-existent crafting skills, and moved swiftly on. I thought I knew which was the place for us. I just needed to arrange a discussion with My Intended about this. Unfortunately, one or the other of us was always busy.

Finally, we found 2 child-free, work-free hours on Saturday and decided to get out of the house for our conference. It was one of those early autumn days when the sun shines against a deep blue sky, golden leaves floating past, and even grey Manchester is transformed into a beautiful place. Shame, then, that this was the scene for our first Wedding Argument (more about this later).
When we got over our very cliched Wedding Argument, we agreed on The Place (literally, The Place Hotel, Piccadilly Manchester). The informal barbecue we imagined having was now a sit-down meal, in order to fill the space better, and we relented and agreed to extend the guest list somewhat, but we now had the advantage of cheap, apartment-style acommodation for those with children (including ourselves), bar prices which wouldn’t cause anyone to hyperventilate, and a bouncer to ensure no unwanted guests at pub closing time…
Phew. So, decision made. Is that it yet?


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