Post # 1
What is the general consensus about having a smaller wedding, about 60 people, instead of the larger 150-200? For the larger option FH family is relatively small maybe a total invite list of about … 60 including friends. This isn’t necessarily my concern. My hesitation is with my family. My father is 1 of 8 and my maternal grandmother is 1 of 7. Needless to say I could easily expect 120 to attend from my side alone – just family, not friends. Where I’m running into an issue is, like many brides, I do not have an unlimited budget. My budget is stretched at just over $10k. FH and I will be paying for the wedding ourselves, no help from outside. Feeding 150-200 can get very expensive and what I’ve found with the options in my area is that most venues require that I use their in-house catering. This typically runs between $40-$70 a head (read waaaay outside of my budget for food) and this doesn’t include the additional cost of the bar.
Has anyone been successful in inviting only a small portion of family to the wedding and reception?
How were you able to avoid hurt feelings?
I should also note that about 100 of the 120 live in town and I see them on a consistent basis, although I may not be exceptionally close to them.
I am considering having an intimate wedding with close family/friends followed by a brunch when I get my professional photos back to share with the whole family… but will this be insulting to those that didn’t get an invite the actual event?
Any suggestions or advice, even stories of what happened for you, better and worse would be a great help. Ideally I would have an unlimited budget and be able to invite everyone without worry but alas, I do not live in wonderland.
Thanks in advance!!
Post # 2
The only reason I was able to achieve this was by having a destination wedding. Honestly, it worked out great and I have no regrets. Good luck!
Post # 3
dununt3: I have a rather large family & am pretty close with my parents’ cousins & their families.
With just inviting parents, siblings, niblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, & first cousins, we had about 148 people on our guest list.
That was where we drew the line, because if we’d have opened up the invites to my great aunts & uncles & their children & grandchildren, we’d have had to invite 500 people. Seriously.
The other option would be to only invite immediate family: grandparents, parents, siblings, & niblings (nieces & nephews). This may be a bit weird if you’re really close to some aunts, uncles, and cousins, but is the best way to have a small wedding.
Post # 4
dununt3: Have a destination wedding. This way you’ll be able to invite everyone, but they won’t be able to come. You won’t look bad in front of all the family you left behind because it was their decision not to come.
I have a friend who moved to Los Angeles with his then girlfriend for join the Police Department. He lived here for about 7 or 8 years before they got married. So they ended up going to Mexico and doing a destination wedding. This way they invited everyone from LA and everyone from Indiana. Only the very immediate family came and their closest friends. It was absolutely perfect and didn’t burn any bridges with anyone.
Post # 5
No problems – our wedding is tomorrow and can’t be happier. We invited 51 people – just immediate family and close friends.
Post # 6
dununt3: Our situations are almost exactly the same – budget of $10,000, we’re paying, big families, if we invited everyone worth inviting the wedding would be over 150 people and probably double the budget.
Plus, I wanted a really small wedding and the thought of having to say personal vows in front of potentially hundreds of people I hardly know felt gross and anxiety-inducing to me. But FI wanted the whole nine yards.
We compromised and decided to do a small but very cool wedding, 60 guests. We invited all most of my extended family but hardly any of my friends, and except for close family, pretty much ONLY friends on FI’s side. In the fall, when we visit his fam for Thanksgiving, we will throw a backyard BBQ type marriage celebration in his mom’s backyard for his extended family.
There have been pros and cons to this plan. I am glad to have the smaller wedding I prefer, but really, wedding planning is a pain in the ass whether you have 60 guests or 160 – but now I have to plan two parties instead of one! Plus we’ll surely be paying for the majority of the party for his family, and since we’re at budget now, that means going over budget. And, though no one has said anything, I imagine his aunts and uncles are a little let down that they aren’t invited to the real thing.
In short, though I think my wedding will be fine, if I had the decision to make all over again, I would just go along with the big wedding, get everything done in one go, found a cheaper venue and just have a somewhat less fancy wedding for more people.
Post # 7
Thank you everyone for your feedback, it’s good to know how other brides have handled this issue to gain some perspective. Much appreciated!
Overjoyed: and MrsPiggles: FH actually joked about this when we went to the movies, said something along the lines of film it and then invite everyone to a private showing. But then we thought about the fact that we would likely have to pay for the plane tickets and hotel for 8 of his family members and likely 4 of mine. This kind of puts us back over budget … D@mn!
nadnuk: I completely understand not inviting extended family but “With just inviting parents, siblings, niblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, & first cousins” for me is the 120 that I was mentioning. I guess my best bet is to try and find a venue that will allow an outside caterer.
librarygirl85: I think I would be disappointed if I couldn’t have the family (ie: cousins, aunts & uncles) that I am close to there.
ohnatto: Realistically I think you are right, one big schindig but perhaps less extravagant will be the way to go. I just can’t see going to Christmas and getting the evil eye from half the family because they weren’t invited. Oy vey!
Post # 8
dununt3: I don’t think you have to cover the costs of airfare, hotel and stuff for the people attending, if you do have a destination wedding. In fact, I’m almost certain you don’t have to. But I wouldn’t know for sure since I am basically in your shoes but with a guest list of 500+ and rising because the FI has family hiding under rocks.
Post # 9
dununt3: Not disappointed at all. All my cousins are in there 40s/50s and married with kids. I haven’t seen them since I was a kid and have never met their kids. I’m 28. Family isn’t everything. We have friends we are closer with than aunts/uncles we see once every two years. Money wasn’t the issue for the smaller wedding – we wanted a smaller wedding because that’s the type of people we are.
Post # 10
I have the same issue. I am number 70 in 74 first cousins (this isn’t counting their spouses and children). I could easily have 200 people on my side only. I went with a destination wedding.
I think that if you keep very clear cutoffs you might be okay (aunts/uncles only for example) Or immediate family (think mom, dad, your siblings) that could work.
Good luck! My only solution was to go away and invite practically no one!
Post # 11
MrsPiggles: Our problem is that his immediate family would not be able to afford going away to a destination wedding. So in order to have his parents and siblings we would need to foot the bill for their travel and lodging. Couple that with my brother and sil plus 2 grandmothers we’d have to pay for… 🙁
Post # 12
My fiancee and I have large extended families around 300 and we encountered the same problem. We are paying for our own wedding. When counting just our immediate families, mine are 6 (parents/siblings), but my fiancee’s immediate family are 16 (parents/siblings/spouses/children). At one point I wanted to have a destination wedding, but my fiancee’s family were unwilling to travel to Cancun for our wedding. So we have decided to have a backyard wedding with 40 guests. We have yet to finalize the menu, but for now we are thinking of a high tea or a bbq. I will be doing a pastry bar too since I love baking.
I wish you the best of luck in your wedding planning.
Post # 13
- Wedding: July 2015 - Industrial/Modern
My fiance has 400 family members in the general vacinity alone… I’ve got another 100 family that would find themselves here for our wedding. It would be an absolute zoo if we allowed it so instead we stuck to our guns and have limited our number to 65 and I can’t tell you how much less stress it has been as a result. Best decision I ever made.