In June of 2007, my wife and I were married. The year or so before that, then, we were planning for the wedding. For those who have not been through this process – or to remind the ones who have- creating such an event is a ton of work and a series of difficult trade offs. The first and most painful trade off, after the date/location, is the guest list.
We wanted our wedding to be a celebration of all the people in our lives that had made us who we were. We also had a budget we could spend. My mother wanted to be able to share the day with her old college roommate. I had a pretty large group of friends from high school. We also had a good size list of college friends. In the end, as you remember, there were a few friends… several actually… that were not invited. I still feel really bad about this as I know how much it would have meant to them to be invited. And I know how much it hurt them not to be.
But I felt I should honor my mom by letting her friend come and the closest members of our extended family. This event was to celebrate the path that brought us together and our families were a huge part of that. The choices were hard, but they were right. And if I had to do them a hundred times, I expect the same results each time.
This came to mind today as I saw a tweet about conference organizers actively seeking out women speakers. I dont organize a conference and every event has different goals, but it seems to me this is very similar. Each conference wants to show off the advances in the field, or put forth a diversity of challenging ideas, or to simply blow attendees minds. And all have a budget for time slots and money. Seems very natural to me that an organizer would want to ensure there was proper representation from each group that makes up the community. The choices are painful and it sucks knowing that there are good friends who will have their feelings hurt, but it’s the right choice.