In-laws not quite accepting the guest list limits… (long and semi ranty)

posted 3 years ago in Family
Post # 4
3664 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

I would feel the same as you. If your parents are contributing most of the money, they should have most of the say. Especially since you have a large family, it seems silly that your in-laws should be asking for extra invites for “non-essential personnel” so to speak. If anybody should get to invite more people, I’d say it should be your parents.

Post # 6
3664 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

@SarahTee:  “What I am hoping happens is that we can really drive it home that my parents have extras that they would like to invite to, and that his parents “give back” some of their 90 and pay for anybody past 75-80 people.”

Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s what’s going to happen. I know you said hindsight is 20/20 (and especially with wedding planning, that is so true!), but this is why it’s a good idea to sit down with your side of the family and make a list of every person you’d like to invite if it were possible and give each side a number of invites based on that. If you’ve promised his parents a certain number of guests, I don’t think it will go over well if you now try to reduce that number (especially since they’re bugging you for more seats).

Post # 7
132 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

@SarahTee:  We had a very similar situation. FI and I wanted a small wedding from the beginning so we booked a venue that could only hold 130 ppl tops. FI and I made our guest list first. It included our families up to first cousins (which was a lot of people! And we felt that was a reasonable place to make the cut) and our closest friends. That put us up to around 115. So then we gave each set of parents 6 extra invites for whoever they wanted – old friends, neighbors, coworkers, etc. We though this would be the most fair way of doing it and hurt the least amount of feelings.


Boy were we WRONG!


FI’s parents threw an absolute FIT when they found out we had cut it off at first cousins. They had numerous conversations with us where they tried every tactic to get us to expand the guest list – pressure, guilt, ultimatums. They even tried to get us to change our venue! But we wouldn’t give in. They wanted us to invite great aunts and uncles and second cousins. We told them they could invite them with THEIR extra invites. That didn’t go over well either. 


Long story short, we stuck to our guns and made them make the tough decisions. If they had 19 second cousins and only 6 extra invites they had to choose who got cut. They didn’t like it, but it forced them to understand where we were coming from. It also didn’t end the incessant asking. We’re 3 weeks out and they’re STILL asking to add people. 


Just keep saying no! It’s about treating families equally. Just let her know that there’s a capacity on the venue and if you let both families invite all their extra people (even if they both paid for them) you’d be well over capacity. So the easiest and fairest thing is to keep the guest list where it is – divided fair and square. Just stick to your guns! It’s your wedding.

Post # 8
2787 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@SarahTee:  I am on your side for this. Your parents can’t contribute any more money that they are, and they are already paying for their guests…honestly if they had more money, couldn’t they then help your parents out with the money they already have?

Also is your FI helping at all with the wedding?


Post # 9
2657 posts
Sugar bee

I think the big issue is that they have not been able to give a definite number of how many extra people they would like to invite.  That’s a very slippery slope.  How can they expect you to give a definite answer if you don’t even know what you’re working with?  I’m also assuming that your families have already figured out the important family and friends you wish to invite, so I’m sure these extras would be on the list “just because”.  And if you start adding one guest to the list “just because”, more will follow from both sides of the family.  Until they can provide a firm number of who and how many people they want you to consider, I’d remain firm and say that capacity is limited and that you’ll consider each extra on a case-by-case basis.  I really wouldn’t play the “one parent is paying more than the other” card unless you absolutely have to.  Yes, it’s true that your parents deserve more invites, but focusing on capacity and space keeps it respectful for both sides.

Post # 10
4760 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

I never undersood how people can not feel guilty if someone else is paying for their guests at a party and still want more.

You can’t really retract the invites you gave her, which is very generous btw, but you can say no more than 90. Period.

your FMIL probably told all her friend that they will be able to come and that is why she is being a bother.

Post # 11
2209 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

@Atalanta:  +1

Stand your ground.  They get 90 people, and paying for extra guests is off of the table.  If they want to invite people from the old neighborhood, then they need to bump someone else off their list.  If you aren’t able to invite people you see on a daily basis, then their long lost neighbors shouldn’t be even considered. 

Unfortunately, I agree with PPs that it will not go well if you try to take any invites back from them.

I think the way you divvied up invites was overly generous by giving your parents all of the invite power but not necessarily saving any spots for your own friends.  Remember that when you’re putting your foot down.

Post # 12
247 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

I went through and am still going through the same thing with my FMIL. We dont want to invite more than 230 and are expecting 190. We know a lot of people that can’t come from out of state. FMIL sent me a list with 150 people. She invited 80 friends and some were people that we long lost from long ago that she doesn’t even have a relationship. FI agreed with me and basically said we will invite “x” of your friends. 1. My family is paying for it 2. We don’t know any of those 80 people and 3. We don’t want a super huge wedding. We want our friends and family’s to be there. I know what you are going through and it sucks. Haha 

Post # 14
3222 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2015

@Atalanta:  I never undersood how people can not feel guilty if someone else is paying for their guests at a party and still want more.

Oh my god, yes!!! +10000000! Maybe it’s because I have in law problems and am now at the point of IDGAF, but I would have a very hard time being in the OP’s position and not responding, “Oh, you’d like to pay for some guests? How about starting with the ones you’ve already invited?” I’ll stop being flippant now 😉 

@SarahTee:  I think I would have your FI tell his parents that each family gets their allotted invites, and that since your family is carrying the financial burden, it would be uncouth and unfair for his parents to push for a larger guest list. If that doesn’t give them perspective, then I don’t know what will. Remain firm!

Post # 15
11668 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

@SarahTee: Just don’t entertain conversation with her about it. Tell her a firm up no, you’re sorry but you cannot allow her to pay for extra guests.  If anything, tell her you will be happy to give her more invitations as declines come in.  If she keeps persisitng, tell your fiance to handle her.

Post # 16
262 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

I think you need to be firm with your number.  Take the offer of paying for extras off the table. Dont even mention invited their extras if people reply no.  Dont wait for FMIL to bring up paying for extras let her know now that this will not be able to happen and you need the guest list by a certain day. 

Even if she is paying for their plate who is paying for the extra tables needed, centerpiece, invitations, favors, thank you cards? 

I got so annoyed at the “what about this person you have not seen or ever met but we are such dear friends” crap that I gave my MIL 70 spots to fill. I told her and my mother that I didnt care if the collected 70 names from the grocery store or if they had 30 friends mad at them for not being invited they only got 70.  Dont forget to mention they are included in the 90… my in laws did not and they didnt get STD or invitations until after everyone else because I strictly went off their list.

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