Post # 1
I don’t really know what exactly it is I’m looking for with this post. Advice, opinions welcome, and I think I just need to vent a little bit.
FI and I are having a semi-DW (5 hour drive for us, 5-8 hour drive for most of our guests). Our intention was originally to have a pretty small wedding. We had planned on inviting a maximum of 80 people since we’re paying for almost all of it ourselves.
Since then, both of our families have added onto our guest list, which is now up to around 120. We explained that we were trying to keep the list on the smaller side due to our budget and both sides offered to pay for whatever went over our budget in terms of food/beverage and the fee at the venue. Okay, fine, that works.
I can’t help but feel weird about this though. Both of our parents said that it doesn’t matter if we invite all these extra people because “they won’t come anyway, but send them an invite because then they’ll probably send a gift. It’s too long of a drive, the old people won’t want to travel that far, they won’t want to leave their kids with a babysitter for that long” (we’re doing an 18+ wedding). These are all valid reasons, I totally get that. But most of the people who “won’t come” we barely even know. Some of them I’ve met once or twice. Some of them, when I showed the names to FI he was like “I have no idea who that is.”
I don’t even know what it is about this that has me feeling so conflicted. I just feel weird about inviting people who I don’t/barely know who everyone is telling us won’t come anyway. I also have this fear that some fluke will happen and they will ALL come and then I’ll have 120 people at my wedding after committing to 82 with the venue (extra $13 per head for the site fee over the # we committed to, plus all the extra food and alcohol). I know our families said they’d help pay for the extra but I don’t know if that offer will change of those extra people actually show up.
Feel free to tell me that I’m being ridiculous by feeling conflicited about this. Would you feel the same way or would you just not care?
Post # 3
Unless you have a “down payment” from your parents to cover each person they said to invite, do NOT invite anyone you cannot personally afford to host. Too many a thread has been posted by a frantic bride who must find a few extra thousand bucks to cover head count she was sure would not show up, and was promised money that never appeared to cover those extra invites. If you feel uneasy about it, it is probably a bad idea. Go with your instincts on this one!
Also, I assume your wedding isn’t a gift grab, and that is exactly what I would tell my parents who said to invite so-and-so because they will send a nice gift but probably not show up … Heck, I would be offended that they would suggest I do it for those reasons! Super rude!
Post # 4
I agree with the above. Unless you have cash in hand from your parents or can spare to pay for the extra guests yourself, don’t do this if you feel uneasy about it.
Post # 5
I’m going through your exact situation right now. My fiance and I planned a small-medium wedding and my parents and other close family members got crazy with the guest list. The main thing the said over and over was “It’s nice to send an invite. They are not coming anyway”. My mom even offered to pay. Now those people who were “not coming anyway”, well a few so far, are actually coming. And guess who doesn’t remember they offered to pay?
Don’t agree to it, unless the money to pay for extra guests is already in your hand, period. If your family doesn’t hand over the cash or promises to give it to you if the extra guests actually come, that’s a no go. Be firm and tell them no!
Post # 6
I’m with you because I’m super budget-conscious – by nature and also because event planning is part of my job. One of my top rules is never to invite more people than you can comfortably accommodate in your budget. Assuming people won’t come is too much of a gamble and if money’s not there, it’s not there!
Here’s what I do for work if there are lots of possible people to invite but limited space. Say our ceiling is 80, like yours. We’d do maybe 2-3 “waves”. I’d invite 80 of our top clients (so, your closest family members and friends) way in advance – as in several months. Give it 1-3 months, depending on the cushion you’ve given yourself. If there are a lot of declines, I’d invite the second tier of clients. Give that 1-3 months, and then if I have to, invite one last wave. If wave 1 or 2 fills up the 80, you’re done. No more invites.
The main problem is many people wait to the last minute to respond – so I have to follow up. I’ll call people as the end of my waiting period (the 1-3 months) approaches to get a definite answer. It’s important to call instead of emailing. If they don’t get back to me in 1-2 weeks – really, it’d be rude not to return a phone call in a whole week but I’d give them some wiggle room – I’d see how many people haven’t responded. Say only 60 people respond – that means I still have room for 20. I’d invite the top 10 people from the second wave. Anyone from the first tier who doesn’t respond by the end of my waiting period – if we really want them to come we’ll call again, but usually we’ll just assume they’re not coming. So I can invite the next 10 from wave 2.
Hope this helps!
Post # 7
I have a question for you (or anyone who B lists ). Say Aunt Martha and her 4 kids decline because Johnny’s playoff game is that same weekend. You give those 5 spots to someone else. Then Martha calls with good news, they’ll be able to make it after all! Now what? You un-invite them? Un-invite your second string guests? Or worse, she tries calling you but cant get in touch/message gets lost/tells your mom who forgets to tell you, so they just show up at the wedding. You’re now over your guest list.
Post # 8
@OkieHeart: Well, since SO and I are paying for our own wedding with no assistance, there’s no way we’d hand over the guest list to our families and let them add to it (which is where OP’s problem originates).
In terms of late replies – this is why I recommend calling personally to confirm declines. If I’m on a really tight budget and I absolutely can’t go over, I’d let them know politely during that phone call that since they’re declining, we will be inviting a few others we hoped could come but we weren’t sure we could accommodate, or something like that. This eliminates self-screwage. 😛
If I somehow forgot to let them know their seats were going to be taken during that phone call (highly unlikely), I’d have to apologetically let them know that the spots we saved for them for the reception have gone to someone else (but if there’s still room, I’d tell them they’re still most welcome at the ceremony). :/ A budget’s a budget – you can’t fight with your pockets.
This is also why careful planning is an art! You’ve got to plan well to eliminate problems later.
Post # 10
@ChicFoodist: “This eliminates self-screwage.” LOL 🙂
@BellJarBride: I’ve already made the mistake you are worried about. I wanted a max of 75 in attendance, so I set the guestlist at 85. After my FI and both of our families added to the list, it ballooned to 151. I freaked out, obviously, because that’s almost double! But, my parents have gifted us a set amount to pay for the wedding, which we’ve been sticking to and are projected to be slightly under budget only 5 weeks out (yay!). My FI has said he will pay for any extra people that show up, but I would have much rather not paid anything for our wedding since my parents were so gracious. I had found some peace about it all, but now I’m super worried. I’ve been hearing that some of the people who “aren’t going to come” (says FI), are actually planning to come.
We do have a few factors on our side that should serve as guest control. 1. We had a less than 3 mo engagement, so we didn’t do save the dates. 2. We’re having a Friday evening wedding at 5pm. 3. Most of our guest list lives at least 2 hours away, and people around here seem to think that’s far to drive for a wedding.
I guess we will see what the RSVPs have in store.