Perhaps the most dangerous activity for an engaged couple to partake in before wedding invitations have been mailed? Getting hammered. In the last two weeks alone, I think we’ve added—and taken off and added again—at least 20 people to our guest list. Thanks to the influence of alcohol, acquaintances become best friends, and before we know it, offhanded verbal invites fly.

That’s how I came to invite an ex-boyfriend and his girlfriend to my wedding in September. In all fairness, he’s an ex who became a good friend post-breakup, but since I got engaged and he’s grown more serious with his girlfriend, we don’t hang out much one-on-one. That said, I’m always happy to see him, and when The Fiancé and I ran into him and his girlfriend at a recent street fest—after we had already been drinking for a couple of hours—I let it slip before I could help myself. "We’ll see you in September!" I said, extending a verbal save the date under the influence.

At least I remembered doing so the next day, and neither The Fiancé nor I regret the invite. Sometimes, though, the situation isn’t so clear-cut. On recent nights out, a mischievous friend who is invited to the wedding has developed a habit of putting me on the spot with people who aren’t. "Will she be at your wedding?" he’ll ask, mid-conversation with the potential invitee, while we’re all shooting the breeze about something totally unrelated. An awkward pause follows while I try to think of a way to deflect the question, but I’m never quite able to pull off a casual response. If I were a little quicker on my feet, I’d laugh it off with something like, "She is, but you’re not." As it is, I’m usually left hoping the uncomfortable silence doesn’t translate into a yes.

Thankfully, most friends and family are trying to help us—not get us into hot water. We had dinner with The Fiancé’s parents recently before they left for a trip to Israel and South Africa. Since the weeks they’re away add up to crucial planning time, our conversation over chopped salad focused on—what else?—the wedding list. "We aren’t inviting some friends we’ve known for a long time," his mom said in an attempt to help us figure out how to contain our own list. Certain friends will understand, she explained—but if they’re good friends, why shouldn’t they be invited? Basically, it comes down to categorizing friendships one of two ways: friends close enough to be invited and everyone else.

There’s one other element that comes into play: the plus one. About half of my friends are still single, and when I was in that group—as recently as my Wedding Tour 2007—I would have been a little offended if I hadn’t been given the option of bringing a date. "In my day, you only invited people with a guest if they were engaged," my mom has told me countless times. But her friends got married in their early 20s, which meant everybody had a built-in date.

"Just wait until the invites go out," a veteran Married said to me a couple of months ago. "When people started RSVPing that they couldn’t come to our wedding, [my future husband] started inviting everyone he bumped into."

Gulp. We’re teetering on that precipice already.