Post # 1
I need advice or maybe I just need to vent and get my thoughts out. Here is the situation.
My fiance and I each put together our own guest list for the wedding. We each ended up with a list of 110 guests. He plans to cover the cost of his portion and myself and my parents will cover the costs of our portion. We are now having issues:
1) Today he said that he told his three siblings they can invite their friends to the wedding (on top of his 110 guests) if they pay the per person cost. He has no problem with this because its not a cost for either of us. I disagree – I don’t want his sister’s friends at my wedding if I am limiting my own family and friends bc I can’t afford to invite more- his response is that I’m paying for my guests and she is paying for hers. My mom is outraged at this because she feels our wedding will become a circus and has lost the purpose.
2) He is inviting his single friends with dates and I am not planning to invite my single friends with dates. They all know each other (and some have even dated each other in the past) and I think it will be akward/not fair to invite some with dates and others without. If I add dates for my single friends, I am adding about 15 people I cannot afford. He doesn’t feel we need to agree on this and we can each do whatever we want because we are paying for our own guests.
We’ve been fighting a lot recently about these sorts of wedding related things – first the registry and now the guest list and I’m just tired of it. I’m not sure what my question is – I know that making a guest list is very trying and often causes arguements. Does anyone have any advice?
Post # 3
From my experience and reading etiquette books and such, it is best to have accross the board cut-offs. For example, if we invite all my great aunts and uncles, we invite all of his great aunts and uncles. If we aren’t inviting my parents’ cousins, we aren’t inviting his parents’ cousins. If I do plus one for my friends, his friends also get plus one. It has to be fair, because someone will notice and blame you (the woman always gets blamed because aparantly, men can’t handle things like this on their own).
Post # 4
This isn’t a concert or sporting event where people can just buy tickets! Its your wedding and I don’t think people who don’t make the list should just be allowed to pay their way. Plus, as a bride, I would feel awful having a handful of my guests pay for themselves while I paid for the rest.
But I think the bigger issue here is the mine/yours discussion with your fiance. You are getting married, which means you should make major decisions together. I know not everyone combines finances, but even still – if he makes more money than you, will he drive a nicer car? be able to go out for dinner more often? You guys should be a partnership which means you apply the same date criteria to all of your guests. It sounds like you could use some help in the communication department and making sure you are on the same page as to what a marrige really means – perhaps some premarital couples counseling???
Post # 5
Yikes, this is tough. First, I think you and your fiancee need to decide to do one thing across the board, i.e., either everyone is invited plus 1 or no one is. I think what he wants to do with guests paying for their place makes sense (in that he wants whoever wants to to be able to come), but it does come across as kind of silly, and has the potential to turn the wedding into just a huge party where all your friends bring friends and you end up knowing only a third of the people there. Without knowing your fiancee’s personality, though, it’s hard to tell you how to deal with this. I know I could tell mine "that’s not how weddings are done" and he’d agree and move on. Maybe you could explain to him that it’s important to you to have people who know and care about you there, not just people who want some nice food and dancing. Also, it will be incredibly hard to pick and price out a venue, caterer, or anything until you have at least a basic idea of how many are coming – that would be hard to do if your invited guests could invite as many people along as they wanted so long as they were willing to pay. Maybe that will get him to see clearly.
Post # 6
Janna19 basically covered what I was going to say. You and your FH need to be on the same page here – regardless of whose paying. Def have a nice long talk with him about making decisions together regardless of money. I also think you would benefit from premarital counseling. A lot of people have a hard time transitioning from "me" to "we" and it sounds like your FH might be struggling in that area.
(and definitely do not let his sister pay for her friends! it isn’t her wedding, she can invite them when she gets married!)
If we can help you in any way please let us know!
Post # 7
I definitely think you should apply your criteria to ALL of your guests. So if you aren’t allowing your girlfriends to bring +1, his friends shouldn’t either.
It sounds to me like you are friends with his friends and he is friends with your friends, especially since you said that everyone is in the same circle and some have even dated each other in the past. You are going to have some very hurt friends if one of them gets to invite a friend (simply because they are on his list) and someone else doesn’t (because they are on your list). My suggestion is to have a list for his family and close family friends, a list for your family and family friends, and then a list for "your" friends collectively as a couple.
Also, I would assume that you will be joining your money in some way. Shouldn’t you, as a couple that is about to get married, want to invite more family members that might be left off the list because you personally can’t pay for them, rather than his old buddy’s flavor of the week? I think you need to have a bigger discussion as your wants and needs as a couple, not as two individuals.
And when it comes to his sisters’ friends, it isn’t just a straight cost per plate. What if you need an extra table to seat them at? Are they going to pay for the linens and the centerpieces? What about those extra invites, and the extra escort cards? And those extra favors? There isn’t really a cost per person just based on the food itself– there are so many more things that go into it. And if you say that she can bring a few friends if they pay for themselves, then what happens when your aunt asks you the same question, or his cousin? You are opening up the door for a huge disaster!
Post # 8
Yikes. I don’t mean to sound mean at ALL, but I just really think you guys need to get on the same page, and off of the "mine" and "yours" page. Marriage is about coming together and becoming one. It’s about understanding each others point of view, and putting your partner’s needs ahead of yours sometimes. It’s about learning to meet in the middle, compromising your own wants and needs sometimes for the greater good of the couple.
If you ask me, you should step out of the wedding situation and look at this as how can we better agree on things? This situation easily translates to how you are going to handle your finances and you should probably use it as a lesson in preparation for that. Perhaps try picking one solid number that you don’t want to go over, financially speaking (and maybe that is the sum of how much you each are able/willing to spend), and then determine how many guests that means you can have, TOTAL. And then go from there. If you have room to include some of your plus ones, do so. If you don’t, don’t. But do it mutually, do it out of respect, do it out of communication and the situation that lends itself more easily to requiring a +1 vs. one that doesn’t… and don’t do it in such a "but I’m paying for them" way.
As for the guests of guests being invited to your wedding- I’m definitely on your side with that, and your mother’s. That seems like it’s pushing things a little far- it’s not even an issue of who is paying for it, but it’s not just a party that someone is throwing and guests can bring guests if they pay their way. It’s not a cover at a bar. It’s your WEDDING! The guests that are there should be guests that are important to BOTH of you. If he is close with some of his sibling’s friends, then that is actually a close friend, and they should be invited on the real list. And you guys need to agree on who should and shouldn’t be invited- finances aside. Though, that doesn’t even speak to how inappropriate it is to invite guests to your wedding (even guests of guests) but have other people pay for it. YOU and your FH are getting married, is is YOUR wedding, either YOU and/or YOUR parents pay for it, and YOU GUYS decide who is invited. End of story.
Honestly, if you guys are arguing a lot about these kinds of things… I highly recommend premarital counseling, cuz the issues are only going to be a LOT bigger when you are married. My fi and I are doing premarital counseling now and it is AWESOME. I can’t say enough about how much it’s helped us understand each other’s point of views on so many things.
I hope this didn’t come off as mean. I can hear how upset this is making you from your post, though, and I can completely understand why. Good luck!!!!
Post # 9
First, there were some oversights and a lack of boundaries. My guess is that since you had come up with the list of 110 each, you didn’t really think to tell him that he couldn’t add on extras because you thought his list was set. But he probably thought since it’s a money concern, what’s the problem with having the friends pay extra??
1) I agree with everyone else. You don’t want the extra friends at the wedding. It is more than just the cost of the plate. Why is it so important for the sisters to have the friends there? Are these extra friends, by chance just the +1s for these girls? I don’t know if your mom should go off the deep end. But FI needs to know that he can’t change the guest list like that. Some reasons why have been mentioned.
2) I also agree you really want to have a universal +1 or not policy. It sounds like your fiance made his list and you made yours, but didn’t look at them in detail to figure out the logistics. I say, instead of continuing arguing, add the 15 +1s and either figure a way to cut someplace else, or ask him to pitch in to help with the cost. You are worried about money, he seems to want the plus one. He might not see value in you needing +1 as well, but I should think he’d be willling to help cover the 15 extra, to keep things the way you both want it.
I think these arguments come up from the lack of planning knowledge. I’m not sure what else you are fighting about. But it sounds like it’s wedding related. Planning a wedding is stressful, and now you’re getting worn down. I think it is premature (and possibly unecessarily alarming) to play the premarital counseling card for this. Maybe he just doesn’t see how important it is to have equal parameters for all guests, even if you’ve divided the list as you did.
Now if your arguments are beyond the wedding or there seems to be a pattern of him not wanting to work on compromises to make you both happy in your relationship, that’s a different story. If you are having trouble agreeing on how to split the finances, (for example, if dividing the cost of the guest list was his idea and you caved even though you didn’t like it) then you might want to talk to a counselor before the wedding.
Post # 10
I definitely agree with Mona Lisa. I don’t want to sound mean, but you’re getting married!! I’ve never heard of making separate guest lists and paying for guests on your own. We have one budget, a guest list we made together, and all our decisions are made across the board to apply to the entire wedding (and guest list!).
You should really work this out before you tie the knot- if you can’t be on the same page about your wedding, how do you expect to be on the same page about anything once you’re married?
Post # 11
Thank you for all of the helpful advice. I feel better now.
I think tonight we are going to discuss our budget. I like the idea of combining the budget – We originally split the budget by guest list out of simplicity for my parents – this way they can control what they are paying. But I think that the financial responsability has taken on more for all of us than just a budget item. Ultimately, we need a more holistic approach to wedding planning.
I was thinking about his idea of having siblings pay to bring more guests – and the more I think about it the more I realize its a cultural difference. In his culture weddings are typically 300-600 people and there are no formal invitations. In fact, he told me at some point that his family didn’t need written invitations he would tell them by word of mouth (I quickly set that one straight!). Regardless, we need to discuss it instead of letting it turn into an arguement.
Post # 12
I just want to throw in the fact that I wasn’t trying to "play the premarital counseling card" to alarm you. Too many people think that premarital counseling is a bad thing when in fact it is AWESOME. My Fi and I have been together for almost 5 years and have a great relationship, but I still wanted us to go so we could really talk about some things before we got married. Sure we talk on our own, but it’s a different experience when you set aside an hour every week or every other week to REALLY talk about your future. You leave feeling closer than ever before. I might be biased because I am a therapist myself, but I genuinely think all couples could benefit from premarital counseling, even if things are great. We all have things we could work on to improve our relationship before committing the rest of our lives to someone! I didn’t mean to imply you have HUGE PROBLEMS but I do think that this could easily be translated to some differences with how you guys handle money and how you view your "team."
Post # 13
Ahh, just saw your comment. Is he Indian? I have heard about Indian weddings being like that. In that case it is COMPLETELY a cultural thing. But still- you need to work it out between yourselves together, not in a "mine" and "yours" way. That does help explain things a lot though. I really hope I didn’t offend you, I totally did not mean to! I’m glad you’re feeling better- and YES, that’s exactly what you need- a more holistic approach!! Be a team!!
Post # 14
no worries mona lisa, i’m not offended! I’ve heard good things about premarital counseling and we’ve discussed it, we just have to decide if we go with one of our religons or a non-religious counseler.
After discussing last night, it really is a cultural difference about the silblings bringing guests and I’m glad we talked it out. I think it is just one of those things I need to go with the flow. His sibling’s friends are sort of like my parents friends are to me since his parents friends are not in this country.
Post # 15
My concern is that all those "extras" are going to take the experience away from the guests you actually know and love! My coworker had some "extras" at her wedding who tried to sit in the reserved seating, then took all the aisle seating. Then at the reception they were snagging up all the favors! They were obnoxious about the bouquet toss (although I got one of them real good in the kidney…). Basically total strangers acted like it was their party! I was so mad for her and all she could do was grin and bear it. And do you think any of them even brought a card? Nope.
Also, like has already been said, cost per person is very complex, and just paying for the food won’t cover the liquor, the linens, the chair and table rentals, the favors, the placecards, the invites, or any of the other things you provide for your guests.
I would combine your budget and begin making your decisions as a couple. That’s how it’ll be for the rest of your life you may as well start with the guest list!
And yes we all have arguments! Totally normal. Wedding planning is stressful, this isn’t unique to you and your FH. No worries! Just keep comminication open!
Post # 16
I agree with the other posters. You need to compile the lists together and come up with a set of rules that will determine cuts. You need to approach this as a team, not as "his" side and "her" side.