Gingerbread Party: The Invites

I’ve written a lot about my Gingerbread Party, but I’m back with one last* (boring-ish) post–this one on the technical side.

Pro Winner Shannon's Nativity (she's an architect, but this is her first win and she was beyond excited. She even had her husband come back and pick it up so it could be there for the judging, and it apparently is still on their coffee table)

Pro Winner Shannon’s Nativity

This is the fourth year I threw this party, and the guest list gets tougher every year. Who do I invite? Does anyone not get invited this time around? I think having an annual party makes this a lot trickier–even as relationships grow and change, the party remains constant. I don’t want to leave out old friends, but there isn’t much room in a one bedroom for new ones if its full of old.

So I have a spreadsheet. The past-winner couple (he designs, she builds) entertain tons and have struggled with invites as well, and she gave me great advice (that I initially made fun of) to keep a spreadsheet. It actually helps a lot, especially if you have an annual event and want to invite as many people as you can.

Someone's Boyfriend took second place in the Amateur Division with his very first house ever.

Someone’s Boyfriend took second place in the Amateur Division with his very first house ever.

Mine look likes:

Affliation* Name*# in party* 2012 Status (y/n/m), and then Invited/Attended/Replied for each of the past two years, which makes it easy to see where people fall.

I don’t want to stop inviting anyone who has attended, or who has not attended but rsvped. If I’ve invited someone and they didn’t rsvp, I won’t feel as bad about dropping them, especially since that will allow me to invite someone I’m closer to now. I’ve thought about not inviting people that I was much closer to in the past, but after someone said to me last year, “It just isn’t Christmas until your gingerbread party!” no one’s off the list.

Having those records make it easier on me in a couple of ways:

  • I don’t forget that I invited that acquaintance last year and leave them off this time around
  • I realize I only thought about inviting Bob last year, so I’m not dropping him if he doesn’t make the cut this year.
  • All the information is in one place, so I realize it if I accidentally invite 50 people to my one bedroom.

To give you some perspective, 2011 I think 60 people were invited, and about 40 came. It. Was. CROWDED. At one point, there were four people in my hall. It was so crowded it was uncomfortable.

This year, I had 58 adults and 8 children on my yes/maybe list and cut 30 people who were past invitees, including a couple who came once, but who I really don’t talk to any longer (so I’m okay with offending them if it happens). What was at issue were two basic questions:

* Two people who were married and are now divorced–I’m in the same social circle as the man, who is dating someone new, but have also socialized with the woman. Both have been invited in the past, and I’m not sure what to do here.

* Work. Right now I have nine coworkers on the Maybe list. And realistically, if I invite them, there are another half dozen I should invite as well. Most of those coworkers come with significant others, so that’s even more people. I’d love to invite them, but I don’t feel like I can invite everyone, unless they promise to stay outside. The issue? Two of them actually came last year, and I feel rude not inviting them again–even though they aren’t the ones I’m closest to. I AM inviting two coworkers, but one is my other half (we have the same first name & last initial and are always together, so I could easily invite her and no one else) and the other I did a 62 mile bike ride with in September, so I think hanging out one on one qualifies.

Ultimately, I left the divorced couple off the list, and invited only the two closest coworkers.

My party had plenty of room to breathe and I actually talked to my guests. Next year I might put some more coworkers back on the list if I feel like there will be room, but having my spreadsheet updated and ready for the 2013 party makes the guest list a much easier process once it’s time.

Do you keep a list of who gets invited to what? Do you think I’m crazy for having one?

Do you invite coworkers to parties? What is the biggest party (not wedding) that you have ever thrown?

*This is the last post about this unless I get the really awesome photos back from the official party photographer or the recap video.

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