Post # 1
Our wedding has a strict 125 person limit due to venue space. I’ve been paring down my guest list, but FH is expanding his.
He has a smaller family than mine, but is inviting considerably more family members. There are aunts and uncles that he hasn’t seen in years (and whose spouses names he doesn’t know) that he insists need to be invited.
Here were my guidelines as I planned the guest list:
Have I seen them in 7 years?
Do they know FH’s name?
Would I be sad if they didn’t come?
No? No? No? Probably don’t need invited.
FH didn’t follow any such guidelines.
Also, many of these family members FH insists needs to be invited are people he is 98% sure won’t show up. So we’re using an invite on someone who won’t come? With our strict limit I don’t want to send out extra invites in case they do happen to come and I don’t feel entirely comfortable sending out invites in waves. So should I not get to invite people I’m close with so that FH can invited long lost aunts?
Post # 3
@laurenrenee33: How many people was he “given” from the guest list? Is he going over the number?
Post # 4
I don’t know if this is the situation with your FIs family also, but in my family, invites to weddings are certainly an all-or-nothing type of thing. And if it’s nothing or partial, there’s quite the backlash. As a result, I HAVE to invite family members (aunt and uncles and even cousins) that I haven’t seen in years. It does not fly in my family to exclude them because they haven’t been around. That’s just how it is. Some of them I, too, am 98% sure they won’t show, but that doesn’t mean they don’t get an invite. So if his family operates the same way, I can very much empathize with him on that. But I also understand how that is frustrating to you.
On the other hand, if that isn’t his situation and he thinks the wedding is a great opportunity at a “get together”, I’d tell him maybe you can host a holiday at your house when you’re married and invite them to that or something. It’s not a summer BBQ where you can extend an open invitation to a lot of people. It’s a wedding, where important people should be invited and you can’t invite everyone. The guest list is selective. I’d try to explain it to him like that. But like I said, if his situation is like mine with all family needs to be invited, that situation is MUCH tougher.
Post # 5
@thenewmrsmax: Yes, he’s guilting me into allowing him to go over the number we agreed upon because mine is bigger. However, this means inviting his long lost relatives and friends he hasn’t talked to in years at the risk of losing people I’m actually close with.
Post # 6
My FI is a little more reasonable but we got in a fight last night over inviting his cousins kids to my shower. He isn’t even sure who has boys v girls, but apparently all of the girls would have to attend. If you can’t remember if its Joe or Jane, how can it possibly be that important if they are invited!
We both have similiarly large families, but I am closer to my extended family. I’m just crossing my fingers they rsvp fast that they aren’t coming.
Post # 7
@laurenrenee33: This is a hard conversation to have with him. We also had it because my family is 4x bigger than his. We decided that we would do all family on both sides that we have seen in the last 5 years. We added his aunt and uncle in Hawaii because he talks to them on a monthly basis. Then we split EVERYTHING else down the middle. If he wants to use his remaining spaces for long lost family, he can, but he has to take out friends.
That is what we did, but I was also OK with not having every single family member at my wedding because there are literally hundreds. HUNDREDS! However, this approach worked for us.
Post # 8
My FMIL added 20 people to the list that I would never in a million years send an invitation to if they were my family. Not only does FI not know who they are, SHE doesn’t even know their names! My Excel spreadsheet has columns for first and last name and for 10 of the 20 she left one or the other blank. And in the “relation” column? “Relative.” I’m sorry, but if you don’t even know how these people are related to you, or their names, and you haven’t seen them in EVER, why are we sending them an invitation?! She insists it’s a cultural thing and it would be a gross insult to leave them off, but good grief. We’re not in contact with these people, so how would they even know, and how would it impact our non-relationship?!
I’m not sending out any more invitations than we have space for at the venue. FMIL’s additions were OK when the venue we were looking at could hold 150, but we’re seriously considering a downsize and I am NOT going to kick my friends off the list for these courtesy invites.
Something I’m considering is just sending wedding announcements (nice ones, on nice paper) to the distant family instead of an actual invitation. I cringe at the idea of sending out an announcement before we actually get married (because strictly speaking they’re supposed to go out AFTER the wedding) but I think I’m going to have to grin and bear it for diplomacy’s sake.
@laurenrenee33: also, I had to laugh at your “does this person know FH’s name” stipulation. Not because it doesn’t make sense, but because my mother’s only sister keeps spelling my FI’s name wrong, despite having met him and despite my attempts to drop the correct spelling into every email/letter/card multiple times! We’re still going to invite her 🙂
Post # 9
@Phamnomenon: I just imagined sending out invitations to some long lost, distant family member addressed to: “First Name Last Name.” or like, “Dear Relative of FI.” Is she going to call around and ask what their names are?
Post # 10
that at sounds like a reasonable solution. The only part I struggle with is our number of guests doesn’t really fit every family member either of us have seen in the past few years.
Post # 11
- Wedding: July 2012 - Baltimore Museum of Industry
We did 25 guests per family, 35 each for me and DH. If your FI wants to use up his invites with family that’s not going to attend, I hate to say it, but it is “fair.”
That being said, send invites in waves (give the random aunt an earlier deadline) and have a B-list. I’ve twice been a B-list guest for a friend’s wedding, and when you come right out and say to someone- “Hey, I know this is kind of short notice, we had such a restricted guest list due to the venue, we have family whom were “must invites” that can’t make it, we’d love to have you there.”- No one should get upset with you over that if you’re honest about it. Anybody who’s been married and dealt with a guest list gets it.
Why doesn’t he invite more friends than random family?
Post # 12
Unfortunately, this is just how family dynamics work sometimes. Why don’t you split the invites down the middle and you can each invite whoever you want. This seems like the most fair way to do it. You can absolutely send more than 125 invitations out. 100% of people are not going to come. If you’re really not comfortable doing that, there are ways to implement invitations in waves – it just takes planning ahead to make sure you send them out far enough in advance and have two sets of reply cards with different RSVP dates on them.
Post # 13
@beetee123: I have no clue how she’s going to handle it when I tell her it’s time for actual names and addresses! I think she may have even sat down with FI’s grandma, The Keeper of Knowledge, to assemble this first draft, so I have a feeling we’ll have to leave some people off based purely on lack of information. Oy.
Worse comes to worst, FI and I are paying for the whole shebang ourselves, and I’m not afraid to pull the “he/she who pays, says” card.
Post # 14
@Phamnomenon: Good idea. That’s why I want to pay for my own wedding. I just want it to be a small get together. My parents paid for most of my sister’s wedding, and they invited whoever the heck they want. I don’t like being up in front of people as it is, so having 25 people that I’m close with will even be hard. My parents invited every single distant relative, dad’s work friends, etc. It was awkard even as a bridesmaid.
Post # 15
We decided to invite with the same guidelines.
Aunts/uncles/cousins/distant relatives were NOT invited unless they were Godparents.
No one from work aside from our direct superior.
Friends were only invited if we’d hung out in the last year.
So DH’s list was twice the size of mine, but we both agreed on the basic frame of who was allowed to be invited and who wasn’t so it felt fair!
Post # 16
@laurenrenee33: Set the bar higher than “spoken to in the last few years” to something like “I talk to them or see them at non-holiday functions.” Or cut it off at relation. Only invite grandparents, uncles and aunts. No cousins unless they are in the “friend” list.
When family size is vastly different, its hard (and somewhat impossible) to just split it down the middle.
Have you each made a “if there was no limit, these are the people I would invite” list? Maybe start there and take people off.
In the end, this is a compromise. Give and take. He may get to invite the random aunt, but that means you get to invite your second cousins and eventually means his cousins don’t get the invite.