Post # 1
I’m trying to finalize my guest list right now. My ideal size for a wedding would be 80-100. My mom made a point that we need to invite around 120 to get that many. My venue fits 150 guests for a sit-down dinner.
I made the mistake of asking my parents & my FMIL for their guest lists without limiting how many they could include. My FMIL wrote down almost 80 guests.
I had my FI contact her and tell her that 1) we are not inviting children under 13 years old 2) we are having a small wedding. She replied that the majority of the list are not going to come. She suggested not sending save the dates to the ones she doesn’t think will come & just sending the invitations as “wedding announcements.” She has a point about them not coming because our wedding is at least 10 hours from my FI’s hometown and it is at the end of September when it is not easy to get away. However, I do not feel comfortable inviting these people and then have the possibility that too many will show up. Plus, she still wants the children’s names on the invitations, even though children are not invited… because once again “they won’t show up.”
Our guestlist is up to 180 and that is with me deleting some of my friends/coworkers and my mom taking off a few family friends. How can I (or my FI) approach her to tell her that she needs to weed the list down? She told FI that she already told most of these people to expect an invitation when she asked for their addresses.
So bees, at an average wedding, how many people usually decline? If you were invited to your friend’s son wedding 10 hours away, would you go? (The good news is that we do not have a real airport and only 2 airlines fly into it making flying a difficult and expensive option).
Post # 3
@jeg14: She replied that the majority of the list are not going to come.
You don’t know that.
Just sending the invitations as “wedding announcements.”
I do not feel comfortable inviting these people and then have the possibility that too many will show up.
True. Expect 10 – 15% to decline.
Plus, she still wants the children’s names on the invitations, even though children are not invited… because once again “they won’t show up.”
NO!!! This is just bad form. It’s confusing for your guests and will most likely put you in several awkward situations.
Moral of the story: Only invite those you want to attend. You could suggest a B-list or “wishlist” if and when you hear people RSVP “no.”
Post # 4
ALWAYS expect every one of your invited guests to attend. Don’t invite more people than you are able to host. This board has had many threads from people in a panic after their prescribed percentage of declined invitations failed to decline. Also, who is paying for your wedding? If it is anyone other than your parents, you need to sack up and tell your mother no.
Post # 5
Had the same problem with my FMIL. She wanted to invite all of her siblings even though half of them don’t speak for whatever reason and the other half my FI has never met. All backed up with the reason that “they won’t come”. Um, no. You’re not using my beautiful INVITES as a wedding announcement, especially if you aren’t contributing to the wedding.
+1 to AlwaysSunny about 10%-15% decline rate. Then also keep in mind of those who said they would come but could not last minute.
Post # 6
If your venue can seat 150, you should invite 150 tops — or whatever number less thsn 150 that you can afford. You really, really shouldn’t invite more people than your venue can hold. We had many guests on our “these people definitely won’t come but let’s send a courtesy invite” list actually show up — and it invoved 500-1000 miles of travel for most of them! People will surprise you and want to be part of your day. Invite what you can afford or your venue can hold, and no more.
Go back to each of the mothers and ask them to refine the list because it’s gotten out of control!
Post # 7
You can ask parents for their guest list, and some parents will push it on you without you even asking, but it is up to you to decide who you will include to invite or not. It was very wrong of her to go ahead and tell those people to expect an invite. If she told them she should also fix the situation. Or if they contact you when they do not get invites, you can share venue constraints. You need to set your boundaries. Do Not include the names of the children unless you want them there. If their name is on the invite, they will most likely attend.
Post # 8
I’m with PPs on this one. Absolutely do NOT invite more than can fit in your venue or that you can afford. FMIL needs to understand that you have space and budget limitations, and that she needs to be accomodating. Is she helping to pay for the wedding? If not, she really doesn’t have the option to push these people on you, despite if she thinks they will come or not. My FMIL is having a very hard time getting down to the required number, but she knows that I am only sending out 80 invites for her, so if she gives me a list of 100 people, the last 20 aren’t getting invites. Try that with your FMIL, she will realize really quickly that she needs to come down to your number or risk the really imporant people not getting an invite.
Post # 9
do not budget, based on how many people you think will decline. you never know, everyone might say yes. invite the people you can afford. if no’s start coming in and there are others you want to invite, then send a 2nd round of invitations.
Post # 10
@jeg14: I would be careful about inviting so many people who “won’t come”. Your situation sounds IDENTICAL to mine, FMIL added quite a few people who “wouldn’t come” and guess what….they’re coming all the way from Ohio to Florida (13+ hours) with the closest airport an hour away!
I’ve heard a 20% decline rate is average. We have 171 (up from our agreed on 150) on our list, RSVP deadline was yesterday…and as of now we have 87 YESSes, 33 NOs and 51 people we haven’t even heard from yet. So as of now, my decline rate is right at 20%…but there are still so many RSVPs still out that it is hard to say what the final will be.
Talk to your FMIL and tell her that the guest list can’t go over 150, and some of her invites can’t be accommodated. Do it kindly and I’m sure it will be ok! You could assume 20% would say NO….but if they don’t you’ll be out of luck!
Post # 11
- Wedding: May 2014 - Madison, WI
We also started to run into this problem, FMIL wanted to invite her coworkers and their children etc etc…mostly because her daughter (FSIL) invited 400 people to her wedding and only 250 showed up! Well we want to keep our number around 120, so that’s not going to work for us. Thankfully FI just kept telling her “No”, that if we didn’t know the people/couldn’t fit them in then we were not inviting them. Just because FSIL had nearly 50% of guests decline doesn’t mean that we will have that happen too. If we do start to see a lot of declines we would consider implementing a “B List”, but it really seems unlikley. In my case – we are handeling the guest list so if I don’t want to invite someone guess what? They are not getting an invitation. I have the invitations, I am sending them out, not anyone else. For us, FMIL has accepted this for the most part but does often feel the need to tell us frequently how many people FSIL had at her wedding..
Post # 12
Always err on the side of caution and don’t invite more people than you can afford to host, unless your ILs want to chip in for their own guests. Alternatively, invite all of your own guests (and any of theirs that you deem appropriate) WAY, WAY in advance, wait a few months for responses, and then if you can accommodate the extras, invite them later. Of course, this wouldn’t work with people that communicate a lot but maybe you can cut out some more distant relatives and friends?
Post # 13
I invited around 140 people to ours and we had about 100 RSVP yes, so that’s about a 30% decline rate. Probably higher because most of our family lives 4, 5, 8+ hours away. Some of these invited were people that we knew wouldn’t come.
I’ve heard around 20% decline rate is average.
Post # 14
Our total invite list was about 180. So far 30 have declined, 132 accepted, and we have about 20 more to hear from.
Post # 15
I’m so happy to know all this now instead of after we send out the invitations. Thank you all for your replies! I’m going to have my FI tell my FMIL that we are just going to send out real wedding announcements after the wedding to these families that she knows will not come, instead of invitations. I just showed FI the list and he didn’t know like 5 of the families that she was inviting. Luckily, my parents have kept the list fairly reasonable, so once we get FMIL’s list down, it should be split equally about 3 ways. My parents are paying for half of the wedding and I am covering the other half. My future in-laws have offered any money and I do not think they will.
Post # 16
@jeg14: Always plan on 100% attendance. We had the same issue – my parents and future inlaws added a TON of extra people, more than our space could hold….so we ended up having to add an extra chunk of ballroom just to be sure (in case a majority of people RSVPed yes).