Post # 1
Is there really any bride who DOESN’T have guest list drama? Wait, don’t answer that.
We sent Save the Dates last October-ish and are now assembling invitations for our wedding this June. Our venue has a max of 190 people (literally the fire code says no more than 190). We asked our parents numerous times what people they want to invite. They’ve given us lists back when we were working on sending StDs. We worked it out and tried to have all the people they wanted, up until about the number that is comfortable for the venue (180). Then, of course, people (including FI!) start saying “oh did you invite this person?”. We ended up sending StDs to about 195 people. I really didn’t want to go over the fire code, but I know RSVP rate is usually 20% decline at least (and lots of our guests are OOT) and I could live with going a few over because I doubt 100% of guests will attend (some already said they won’t be able to make it before invites go out). I had people I had to cut that I really wanted to invite, but I know how this process goes.
Recently, FMIL presents us with a list of people she wants to invite. Sigh. We compare the list to our spreadsheet to see who we’ve already sent StDs to (IN OCTOBER) and many are on there. However, there’s about 20 or so who aren’t on the list. Double sigh. Luckily, FI knows we are already over capacity and explained to his mom that’s the case. And I silently screamed why didn’t you tell us this back in October when we sent the StDs?!!!
Then, my mom recently says she has more people she wants to attend. Luckily, she knows we are already over and understands. But seriously!
FI wants us to send invites to the guests we initially sent StDs to (the 195) and invite other people if any of the originally invited people decline. I think that’s called B Listing and I’m pretty sure it’s frowned upon. I compromised though and said if lots of people RSVP no RIGHT AWAY then MAYBE we can invite a few more. Because if people don’t tell us until June 7 (our RSVP by date, which they will be well within their rights), then we aren’t sending new invites to people as that will be so obvious.
All of this puts a bad taste in my mouth. I feel bad on one hand because parents are helping paying and I want them to have the people they want there (though they each have many already on their side). But most of the people they mention are people we don’t even know or have ever met. I also would personally prefer a smaller wedding of maybe 150 because even though fire code is 190 that will be really tight. I’d rather have more space and less (though not too few) people. I really do doubt most of my dad’s side who are OOT won’t make it, but I can’t bank on that. And what if they don’t tell me until June?
Ahh! Darn guest list.
Post # 2
Skittles131: I hate to say this, but part of the drama sounds like you never clarified that this is the FINAL guest list. If people have forgotten to include people, too bad, so sad. Final means final. If people try to come back it’s easy to say, I understand you’d like to include them, and I hope you understand that they weren’t on the final list we all agreed upon. It’s tough because your / his(?) parents are paying.
It also sounds like you didn’t plan for waves of invites / b-listing. When I was doing corporate events, that was a pretty common practice to hit target attendee numbers. Some people might frown on it, but I don’t know why. A-listers are people who aren’t forgotten when pulling together the original list. If someone was left off, chances are you aren’t that close so they are a “b-list” friend / relative.
I’m avoiding guest list drama by not getting input from my parents or my in-laws. We’re 100% responsible for our wedding and that includes the guest list. Our parents will be notified as a courtesy when STDs/invites are mailed but there is no negotiating because there’s only potential for drama. My family knows that I will not hesitate to leave if boundaries are being crossed or they are being disrespectful. My FIL’s can whine all they want — it doesn’t mean I have to listen. Sorry I can’t be more helpful.
Post # 3
I do not have guest list drama because we knew what we wanted and we made it very clear to my FMIL that our guest list would be decided by us. No obligation invites.
We have 50 people (including ourselves and our bridal party) at our wedding, at first I was concerned after I sent out the save the dates that I’d get a snarky e-mail or 2 but so far nada! And really, anyone who would get mad and send a snarky e-mail I’d write them off anyways because people should understand that not everyone can be invited.
I think your mistake lay in not saying “Mom, Dad, you get to have X amount of people on your list of invites” and doing the same with your FI’s parents and then of course making out your own list and having a proper deadline as to when this should all be done.
I don’t think having a “backup” list is a problem, I mean not everyone is going to make the initial list. So I would have invited the 180 people that were most important and should be there and if people back out, either don’t fill the spots, or fill them in with a list of backup people.
Post # 4
I feel your pain Skittles!! Why on earth would your mom or your FI’s mom think you want to fill your venue to capacity lessining the enjoyment of you and your guest? Its sad that people lose sight of whose wedding it is and whose happiness should be the focus.
I wanted a small intimate wedding of no more than 100 people but our list is now at over 175 courtesy of my FMIL. She literally invited more people to the wedding than me and my FI. It caused so much stress and drama with me and my FI that I finally gave up the fight to have a small intimate wedding.
Since I didn’t get the small wedding my FI agreed to pay for a post-wedding brunch where I can invite 30 or so of the people that are important to me and my FI and his mom isnt’ allowed to have any involvement with that list. It doesn’t make up for having a ton of people at my wedding that neither me or my FI have ever met but it did make me feel better.
Post # 5
We had the same issue! Our venue (per fire code) can hold 300 but the coordinator said 275 is comfortable. So of course we’re inviting 340 people! lol I’m not too worried about it. And if we get more than 40 declines, we have a B list. I don’t see anything wrong with it. Over 50 ppl are just my dad’s friends, and my mom, and Fi’s parents are inviting way more friends that we are. But they’re excited and I’m happy if they’re happy!
Post # 6
- Wedding: December 2014 - Norton Country Club
I’m with you on the feelings about “B listing”… but it may work if the folks aren’t too close to you. I’d definitely be upfront with the moms here and tell them that there additional guests will have to wait for RSVP declines. Maybe you can even supply them with something to say… “Oh, long-lost-friend, thanks for asking about the wedding. Dear daughter is still planning and finalizing the guest list. It’s so tough when venues have such strict limits!” Just stress to them that they should NOT extend any verbal invitations in case the original list all shows.
Post # 7
Are your RSVP cards printed already? If not, I’d set an earlier due date (maybe 5-6 weeks before the wedding) and invite b-listers by 4 wks in advance. If the date is printed and is within a month of your wedding, then they probably is too late to get any new invites out. Usually “no” rsvps are the latest rsvps.
B-listing or sending invites in waves isn’t actually against etiquette as long as you keep ppl who know each other in the same round of invites, get all invites out with enough time for b-list guests to plan attendance (4 wks advance notice for local weddings and approx. 3 mos notice for destination weddings), set RSVP deadline/s that reflect when ppl get their invites (for instance if you give b-list invites at 4 wks out, their RSVP deadline should be 2 wks before the wedding, not some date before they even received their invites), and don’t talk about it.
There is no rule that all invitations need to be mailed out on the exact same day. Some bees don’t like b-lists but that is often because ppl don’t implement them properly, not because b-lists or waves of invites are always inappropriate.
Post # 8
And this is why I’m glad my parents/FI’s parents (even though both sets are paying for it) left the guest list to us. They haven’t even asked to see it 🙂
Post # 9
If it’s helpful, StDs are a rather recent wedding-machine invention. People are/know they are “B” list guests when they receive formal invitations two or three weeks before the wedding, instead of the usual six to eight. So, I wouldn’t let who received StDs worry you! But I would have one firm, final conversation with both sides with the understanding that invitations will only be extended to whomever is on the list at the end of that talk.
Post # 10
I had some drama regarding the guest list too. We got engaged in December 2012 and took our sweet time looking at venues, not booking a reception site until March 2013. Our reception site is on the pricey side, but since we only wanted 100 people we did the math and it was within our budget. AFTER booking our reception based on the 100 number, both sets of parents sprung 6-10 people each that they wanted to invite. My mom basically insisted in a rather rude way (and in public at at restaurant), while FI’s parents were more polite but still kind of like “this is what’s happening.” Both sets of parents are contributing financially to our wedding, but are certainly not paying for it 100%.
I think what bothered me most is that they all knew we were making a guest list when we got engaged and nobody said anything about these extra guests until long after we put a deposit down and finalized a place. I just feel like they could have brought that up to us sooner if it were that important, and maybe we would have chosen a place that was $50/plate rather than $100/plate. We are allowing them to invite their chosen guests, knowing that not everyone we invited will come and it will probably even out. It was just frustrating!
Post # 11
I would also question how close are these 20 people that they didn’t even cross her mind for many months.
Honestly, if she hasn’t even considered them in months they aren’t important to her. Just stand your ground and memorize this phrase “I’m sorry but that won’t be possible”