Uneven guest list, only one side paying

posted 3 years ago in Money
Post # 2
2792 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

Get it through to your fiance first.  Give him the hard numbers on what it means financially ($100 per head, 20 people, $2000)  Yes, it may feel like holding the money over the head, but sometimes people need to see a hard demestration as to what something means. 

Post # 3
3836 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

cbj9:   If his parents would be willing to pay for their additional guests, then they can invite them.  Otherwise, to be fair, I’d suggest his parents invite the same number additionally as your parents – 4 couples.   

Post # 4
7654 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2012

I would tell him your parents are paying for their additional guests. Is his parents willing to shell out X amount of bucks for their additional guests? And make sure to tell him how much it is going to cost. Your parents are being very generous with their money, and it really sucks he can’t see that and appreciate it and stand up to his parents.

Post # 5
3664 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

Divide the guest list – you can say 50% of guests will be chosen by you and your family and 50% by your fiance and his family. Or divide it into thirds and you and your fiance choose 1/3, your family gets 1/3, and his family gets 1/3.

Post # 6
6964 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

We gave each set of parents a set number of people they could invite and let them choose who was most important to them. His parents are either going to have to deal with it or cough up the extra cash IMO.

Post # 7
610 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

I agree with what cmbr: said. Give each side a number, and leave it at that. They shouldn’t feel as though they are being penalized for having more friends, they should be understanding that the people paying have a budget, and since they aren’t contributing, they really don’t get a say in the numbers. If it’s really that important to them to have more people, they need to offer to pay for them. 

Post # 8
1372 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

cbj9:  I would frame this one as totally about the number of people and not about the money at all.

Theres just no way to say “you can’t invite your friends because your not pitching for the party” to a person, especially your in laws. Those are waters I just wouldn’t even dip my toes into. 

Yeah, I feel where you’re coming from. Our prelim guest list pushed 200. Two fricking hundred. I’m a little crazy and loud but WOAH! When I looked up at FI with the most bewildered look on my face he was like “what? That’s what all our weddings are like.. I have a big family” oh Boy. It’s gonna be interesting…

So I totally get that you want to keep it down. That’s a fair sentiment and you know what? It’s your and your FI’s wedding, not his parents’. 

If they want to have all their friends over, tell them to have a dinner party or something. Okay I’m kidding.. That won’t go over any better than telling them they can’t bring people because they’re not payin 😉

To the MIL and FIL: while we totally appreciate that these are your friends and part of your circle, we want our wedding to be an intimate affair; surrounding ourselves with the people who love us and support us most (like you!) Due to this, we have chosen to keep our guest list at x. We know a few of these people are very special to you so we have reserved seats for couples y, z, a, b. We are really excited to have them come celebrate with us and hope you understand the reasons we have for choosing this guest list limit!

Frame it with love! It always goes over nicer 😉


Post # 9
1231 posts
Bumble bee

I think it is crazy that they will contribute nothing and want to invite 15 COUPLES. It would even be slightly different if their son was contributing.  How do your parents feel about adding more guests? Is there a reason his parents have refused to contribute?Are your parents giving you no guest limit? 

In short, I don’t know why they won’t pay, but maybe they see it as their son’s responsibility. 

Post # 10
1202 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

It’s not fair that your parents are paying but your in-laws have the larger guest list, but life isn’t fair.  

I think other Bees have super suggestions about cutting the guest list.  I just want you to keep in mind that (most likely) you love your FI, his parents love him, and his parents are so happy about inviting their friends to his wedding to you.  If it’s possible to cut costs somewhere else (attire, menu options, flowers, groom’s cake) in order to invite those extra guests, you have the option to be generous and make the sacrifice.  

If you don’t want to have 30 extra strangers at your wedding, I don’t think anybody on the Bee will fault you for it.  But I don’t think you will lose anything by being generous to your in-laws and allowing them to bring close friends.          

Post # 11
1627 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

You and your fiance could pay for his parents guests.

You can explain to your fiance your parent’s budget and agree on a 50/50 split of the 110 invites. No more funds to the budget and neither you nor your parents will dictate how him and his family will dole out invites for his 55.

Honestly, I do not see the problem. You say that you and your fiance agreed on 75 people or 110 invites. Then why does it matter how many friends his parents invites if the overall guest list size doesn’t increase. Does his parent’s friends impact your parents four or friends that are super close to you? If your fiance is willing to invite less friends of his to accomodate his parents then so be it. It’s his choice.

Post # 12
2649 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

cbj9:  I find it unreasonable for your FI or his parents to expect an unlimited number of invitations under any circumstances.

You and your FI along with your parents get to detemine the number of invitations you will offer his parents. If you want to keep things equitable with your parents than give them the same number of invitations. This isn’t “penalizing them” and it’s frankly outrageous that your FI thinks it’s up to your parents to foot the bill for however many guests his parents want to invite.  

His parents do not owe you or your parents to contribute financially to the wedding but in turn that means that they also don’t get to call the shots when it comes to matters of budget. 

Tell your FI that if he wishes to offer his parents more invitations than he either needs to cut people from his side of the list or he and/or his parents need to pay for those seats.

I would advise offering them the number of invitations you can offer – say four. If they object, tell them that is what your budget allows.  They can either offer to pay for additional guests (if you are even willing and able to allow them that option) or not. 

Post # 13
111 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

Is the constraint financial, or is it the space? If it’s the space, you obviously need to communicate with his parents about your need to limit the guest list. You just can’t fit more people, and you need to be sure immediate family and close friends are included. That shouldn’t mean cutting out all of their friends, but possibly paring it down somewhat.

If it’s financial, I think then you can have a broader conversation. If they’re able to help support the costs of the extra guests, I think it would be kind to invite them. 

Post # 14
1896 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

We set ground rules with our parents

– They were allowed 1 couple/ friend that we’ve never met or that we didn’t consider adding to the list ourselves. Otherwise, if we don’t know them, we don’t feel they belong at OUR wedding.

-Family members: they could send us all the family members they wanted to invite, but we were going to veto certain family members (due to drama or true lack of relationship) and they would have to accept it.

My FI’s mom ended up sending a pretty complete family invite list even though FI has little to no relationship with almost all of them. We ended up inviting them all because his side was already pretty uneven (I have a big family, and a large group of friends).  

Also should mention, that I insisted on inviting out of town family to the rehearsal dinner (which FILs are paying for) and they did not push back on me, even though they only have 2 family members coming and is not the tradition where they’re from to invite non-wedding party/immediate family.  I like to think that’s because we were fair to them about the family we inviited to the wedding knowing my FI doesn’t really care for them much.  

So, my point is, set rules, but be fair.  But 15 couples that you wouldn’t have added to the list yourself, but not contributing?  They’re being TERRIBLY selfish 


Post # 15
511 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

Fortunately we’ve not had this problem, but my mother explained the way they did it at their wedding – each set of parents was told they have a certain number of people they could invite. I think they split it up evenly (ie the couple invite 30 people, the groom’s parents invite 30, bride’s parents invite 30). They can choose to assign those people however they like, and it takes you out of the worry of having to decide who is important and who is not.

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