Unbalanced Guest List

posted 3 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
272 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

We had a rule when making our guest list: The guest had to have at least met BOTH of us. If there was someone who had never met my FI, they didn’t make the cut. 


As for it being unbalanced, you won’t even notice it the day of – as long as you forgo the tradition of having his family/friends on one side and yours on the other. I do find it kind of silly that he wants to invite people he doesn’t even consider to be friends to such an intimate wedding. I would assume most of those that he isn’t close with will RSVP no for a Wednesday wedding out of province. 


Good luck sweetie!



Post # 4
429 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

@JessicaJupiter:  Have you tried to talk to him about this?  My guest list is 150 people, about 90 of them are my friends and family.  We don’t have a balanced list either! My mom is one of 9, so needless to say I have a huge family!! 

Post # 5
42157 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

@JessicaJupiter:  I would never invite people I had met only once to my wedding. It may be perceived by them or others  that he is inviting them merely so they will send  a wedding gift.

Having said that, if the guest list remains unbalanced, don’t let it bother you. That happens to many couples whether caused by geography, family dynamics or history etc. Enjoy the day with those who are able to attend.

Post # 6
2798 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

I don’t think a truly balanced list happens with a wedding.  It’s almost inevitable that one of you comes form a bigger family, or had a different social circle at one point in your lives.

My list is littarly a 2:1 ratio mine to my FI’s, and this is giving him all our mutual friends.  I have 150 person family, he has maybe 20 if we go outside of the box.

I would talk to your FI and go through every person on his list, one by one and go “Why are they on the list?” If there is not a good answer, start removing them.  Don’t try to get him down to 8, but try to get within your comfort zone on numbers.

Post # 7
951 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

@JessicaJupiter:  Ours is pretty lopsided as well but I think I’m okay with it.  We’re having a larger wedding – 150 invite (well, FMIL made it 152 with some last minute additions).  We started with each getting 75 except that MY 75 includes ALL of OUR mutual friends – including FI’s best man!  What the heck?!  We each have big families which is why we got stuck with 150 but come on.  His initial list had 135 people on it.  Um, NO.  There were many conversations on getting that down, and he did pretty well for the most part.  We did end up with a 30 minute late night, bickering fest to get it down to 75 but, we did it!  Turns out he was just very concerned with offending people, even extremely distant relatives, by not inviting them so he added literally everyone.  Maybe that’s your FI’s concern?


Post # 8
687 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

We are in a very similar situation: I’m from a different country (and continent!), so my friends and family will be minimal. I honestly don’t see a problem with the lack of balance, however I do see an issue with inviting people you barely know!

I have a feeling that you will get a lot more last-minute cancellations, heavy alcohol consumption etc. with people who aren’t close, and that can really ruin the day for everyone… Have you considered cutting down your total guest list? That would both save you money (since you’re on a budget) and keep everything truly intimate.

Post # 9
975 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2014 - Banff, Alberta

@JessicaJupiter:  I find the more you think about it the more people you have to add. I started out with about 10. Then my mom added 5 more relatives…. then 10 family friends… Now our total is 113 between the two of us! 

Our situation is kind of the reverse. Most of my family is a long car ride away and will do their very best to make it. FH’s family is a plane ride away and he is only close to his immediate family. We are inviting about the same number of people but expect most of his invites not to come. All of our mutual friends will sit on his side to even it out. 

If your total number after all tweeking is still very uneven you could do the whole “Pick a seat, not a side” thing. 

Post # 10
8 posts

Let’s start by saying that I’m having 400 guests at my wedding and only about 30 of those will be from my side.  Am I upset that the guest list is ridiculously lopsided?  Nope.  The way I see it is that I have 400 guests that want to celebrate a very special day with us.  Which guests are mine and which are his don’t matter. 

Post # 11
1646 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

@JessicaJupiter:  Ours is unbalanced. I have about 40 and he has about 70-80!

But… who cares. I can’t make my family bigger and he cant make his smaller. Also, his family is much closer than mine. His stays in touch with extended family while ours really does not. At first I kept trying to add to my list to make it more even but then I realized… why? Everyone’s there in support of us and I don’t really care whose side they’re coming from. There’s people on our list that he couldn’t even remember who they were- his mom wanted them invited. That’s fine in my book, she paid a chunk of the bill, so I get it. And they’re all family, just some he hasn’t seen since he was little.

Post # 12
258 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

Ours was unbalanced. My family came to 34; his came to 6. We decided that family had to be invited, then we split the rest of our guest list equally, mainly joint friends. You can’t help having a small family, he can’t help having a larger one. But friends should be equal. 

Post # 13
2787 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@JessicaJupiter:  I totally see where you are coming from…I didn’t like the thought of peple that I hardly know, and my FI knows somewhat, trying to be all buddy buddy with me on my wedding day…I am social but also selective in whom I hang out with. 

I basiclly forced my FI (now DH) to keep the guest list as even as possible. He was like your FI, he wanted to invite anyone and everyone…ummm no..this is a wedding, not a open house party. He did want to invite a few more friends that I had to invite (I spent a good amount of my young adult life travelling, MOST my friends I would have invited lived in other countries, mostly in Australia), so I decided that I would take on all of our MUTUAL firends as my half of the invites, to allow him to invite more people…the original plan was to spit the mutual friends 50/50 down the middle to be fair…but I sacrificed my numbers a little for that…but he still had only a certain number to fill. 

haha he still tried to invite MORE people but I had to pull out the “bridezilla” and say NO….just a side note…someone has to be the “mean” one and stop all the unneccissary invities..or your budget will be blown….

You op don’t have a lot of invites to play with seeing you only have a $2000 budget…your FI needs to stop inviting unneccissary ppl. 

Post # 15
402 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

@JessicaJupiter:  Our guest list is fairly uneven, too.  My FI has less close friends than I do in the first place, plus my family is bigger AND his parents are not contributing at all.  I think the in the end the guest list is probably 2/3 my friends and family, and 1/3 are his.  He doesn’t mind though — he is very close to my family and many of “my” friends are now BOTH of our friends.  We don’t really see our family and close friends are YOURS or MINE anymore…. they are people we all love who will be there to support the both of us as a couple.


There are quite a few people on the list he hasn’t met though–more distant relatives of mine or friends of my parents.  I wasn’t too keen on the idea of inviting all those people, and fought it mildly, but my parents are the ones paying and it was important to them, to the point where it actually caused some drama when I spoke up about it.  I just shut my mouth to keep the peace, and went with it.  There are people on FI’s side that are being invited who I haven’t met either.  If we’d been younger when we met and had been dating for 5 years and hadn’t met some of these people, it might be weird, but we’re older and got engaged after a year.  I think it’s natural that there would be some important people on each of our sides that the other person may not have had the chance to meet just yet.

ETA: just read that you don’t want to spend your night socializing with strangers.  I can’t blame you there!  Just have a receiving line and then go about your business 🙂


Post # 16
88 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

Our list is very uneven.  We are inviting about 190 people from my side and about 80 for his.  I have a large extended family that is very close (we have about 4 different Christmas gatherings each year: 1 for immediate family, 2 with extended family on both sides, then 1 with my dad’s aunts, uncles and cousins) so over 100 people on that list are family members who will all likely attend.  However, my FI has met almost everyone on the list and always comments that he likes my family more than his.  On the flipside, I got his invite list from his mom.  Other than his 9 aunts and uncles and his grandparents, I have NO idea who anyone is (he grew up about 2500 miles away).  I’m not going to freak out about inviting these guests, because they are people that were important to my FI when he was growing up and he wants to send them an invitation.  If they make it, that’s great.  I’ll meet them at the welcome dinner or in the receiving line.  I don’t think it’s fair for me to tell him that he can’t invite people he wants at our wedding just because I haven’t met them all.

I would sit down with your FI, go through the list, and ask him which people are actually important enough to him to send an invite, and which (if any) are just “fillers.”  I think it’s important to remember that it’s a day to celebrate both of you, and so you might have to make some concessions on things that are important to your FI.

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