Post # 1
So, this is my first post, as I’ve been hiding for a while waiting for something to say. And I finally ran into my first major road block–with the invite list and the FI’s parents.
They want to invite everyone they know, even though some of those people have already told them they aren’t coming! From what I know of etiquette, inviting them would seem like present grubbing or as a plea to come anyway. But, they swear (yadda yadda yadda) that these people won’t be coming, so we should just send the invites anyway.
Our venue holds 200. Our guest list is 296! And FI’s father (parents are divorced) are the only people who have people on the guest list that we don’t know. For example, my parents’ friends are ALL people I have know for at least a decade, if not my whole life, and the FI knows all of them too.
How do we handle this? Are announcements an option? (The nice ones, obviously, with no mention of presents or anything, as that’s EXACTLY what I’m trying to avoid). Some bees on here seem to think announcements are still acceptable. What think you, bees? How do I handle the FFIL?
Post # 3
Definitely be careful about this. My parents made me invite a bunch of people and swore they’d never actually come- about half of them have rsvp’d yes. People will definitely surprise you. If you’ve sent save-the-dates out, you should still send an invitation even if the invitee said they shouldn’t come (per an article I read in Martha Stewart’s Bride’s Guide yesterday). You should also invite anyone with a reasonable expectation to be invited. Now if we’re talking coworkers of your FILs from 10 years ago, they have no reason to expect to be invited. Or great great uncles or fifth cousins 7 times removed. You get the idea. I think you are within reason to point out that you are significantly over the maximum head count of your venue and you’d feel much more comfortable shaving off some guests. Set a maximum you feel comfortable with. Announcements are a polite way of announcing your wedding to people who were not invited, and I see nothing wrong with sending them.
The guest list is always the stickiest part of wedding planning. I’d talk all of the above points over with your fiance, but make sure your fiance is the one actually talking to his parents. I was amazed at how much more effective it was for me to have my fiance address any issues with his parents– it eliminates a lot of awkwardness.
Post # 4
Can you compromise and tell FFIL that you will put these guests on the b-list? Let him know that for every decline you get from your a-list, you will immediately send out an invite to one of the guests on his b-list.
Post # 5
How many people are we talking here that you don’t know and "won’t come"?
Post # 6
Post # 7
Wow, 296 with hopes of getting down to 200 is a big leap. I would suggest sitting down with your FI and analyzing the list guest by guest. Right now our list is just around the 200 list, and seems to be growing by the minute. I think we are going to send invites to 225 because that is the absolute max we can have but know that some people will politely decline.
We are going to add to our list as needed and closely reevaluate at least two times. The first time will be Save The Dates. For us, we will only send these out to family and friends, whom would be truly missed if they weren’t there (but not like, my dad’s hunting buddies or a few old college friends). The second time will be right before we send out the invites.
Consider sending some rules, such as adults over the age of 16 (or 18), family friends of whom you’ve met personally, etc. My favorite argument right now is "If I were walking down teh street and Blahblah was walking toward me, and neither of us recognize one another, they aren’t getting an invite". This has been successful when I have sat down with my parents and they suggest a few friends of theirs whom I never met.
Since your wedding isn’t for another year, maybe reevalute your guest list again at the end of the summer and then around the holidays. Keep in mind, relationships you have with certain people could easily change.
Post # 8
I had my FILs separate their list into 3 categories people who must be invited, people who should be invited and people it would be nice to invite. It also helps to alot a specific number of people to each set of people. if you want to invite 200 people that is about 66 invites per couple: you and your FI, Your parents and his parents. If parents are divorced simply split the number in two: 33 invites each. In my case me and my fiance don’t have a whole lot of friends we are inviting. Our total number of invites is 150 so we split it 60:60:30 (we got the 30 since it was all we needed).
If they already gave you their guest lists let them know it ran over the maximum capacity of people and you can’t take any chances on people who won’t come so you’ll need to do it this way. The people who don’t make the first cut can be invited if you get many no responses. Like emileee said have the extras on a B-list!
Hope this helps!
Post # 9
My FMIL pushed for this, but I didn’t want to allow it. I was afraid that people who we thought wouldn’t come would decide to do so, and then we would be over our limit. It was a really big fight, but I stuck to it. I’m glad that I did, because some of the people who she insisted wouldn’t fly in for the wedding are doing it! I’m glad that I budgeted for that, because we wouldn’t have been able to fit everyone into our venue otherwise!
I know a lot of people say to expect that a certain percentage of people aren’t going to attend, but I think you have to go on the assumption that everyone you invite is going ot accept. I know we’ve had very few "no" responses, so I’m glad that we did that.
Post # 10
My fiance’s mom wanted to do the same thing. (We’re talking guests like a neighbor who used to babysit him as a kid but they haven’t talked to in ages.)
We’re doing announcements. I’m not risking the "but they definitely won’t come" and besides, I think announcements look less gift grabby than invitations you don’t expect to be taken up on.
P.S. Welcome to the hive! 😉
Post # 11
We had a similar issue- and we just ended up invite everyone. BUT- we invited about 125 (over our original projections of 90-100) and only about 7 of those are not coming.
We expected it to be more.
So, be prepared that some people may change their minds and attend!!
Post # 12
I am in the same boat you are. My parents want to add people I haven’t seen since I was little, "but they won’t come, so why not send an invite?" I tried doing the a-list, b-list thing, but Mom is not very wedding-savy and didn’t understand two lists. I don’t know what to do either, but my situation isn’t as bad as yours is. Inviting OOTers will only add about 30 to my list, not almost 100.
Post # 13
My FI’s parents did the exact same thing. We told them to give us 150 guests, and they gave us 230 the first time around, stating that because we are getting married in my hometown (Cleveland) as opposed to his (Boston), they could GUARANTEE less than 100 guests would come. We had 450 on the list back then.
We since insisted on trimming the list down. I told them they absolutely HAD to have only 150 guests on their list, regardless of who they "knew" wouldn’t come – because there is actually NO way of knowing. People could surprise you and our venue holds 300, 250 comfortably! They were not very happy because now they think that only about 50 people will come, and I do feel bad about that, but we can’t afford to risk the chance of them having a much higher percentage come than they expect.
I think you just have to be firm about this. Give them a number and insist on it, even if they "know" people won’t come. As for announcements, we are not doing them because even if they are classy, they still give off the vibe of "get us a present." That is just my opnion though, I respect that others disagree.
Post # 14
Thanks hive! Your responses have been enormously helpful, if only to show a huge string of suggestions to the FI to use for his parents. Things I’m definitely going to do:
*Ask them to immediately split their lists up for us into 3 lists: must, should, and would like.
*Start a B-list: and remind them that people will immediately go off of it in in a fair way once we receive nos (in a year, for g’s sake…)
*Be firm–just tell them to cut!
*Bring up the idea of announcements.
I’m glad that I’m not the only person whose numbers were off by such a wild amount. The hardest thing is that we aren’t going to "limit" our lists at all–we have too many friends and family with small children (who we love and the kids are a big part of our life), and I’ve had too many friends on the bad end of not being allowed a plus-1 at a wedding. So, I guess we’ll just have to see. Thanks ladies!
Post # 15
Just a quick update–I’m down to 250! Wahoo!
Our venue holds 200 easily with a seated dinner, so if we get 220 or so we’ll just switch to floating reception tables without name cards. And if they ALL manage to come, we’re going to convert the area where we’re doing the ceremony (about 10 yards away) into a lounge for extra seating (and away from the band).
Thanks for giving me the guts to face the FMIL!
Post # 16
Unless they are paying for the wedding, I would just start a B list. If they cause a huff about it, show them a floor plan and how many people can sit there. Someone on the boards recently said something about sitting these extra guests outside of the reception area eating sandwiches or something. lol
You’re already stretching a lot with a guest list of that size going for a venue that small… you’re going to have to have your FI tell them why you can’t keep inviting these people.