Post # 1
I keep hearing that in a certain part of the midwest, it’s an acceptable practice for people to invite others to weddings, without asking the bride or groom first. One person said that in that state, the bride and groom only expected 150, but then 175 showed up, and they just had to accomodate all of them. But seriously is it just family culture, or is actually OK in some regions?
It’s 1 1/2 weeks to our wedding and I just found out one of my FI elderly relatives invited 3 extra people. But all of them are tentative and we won’t know until the day before the wedding if they’re coming. None of the additional guests knows anyone at the wedding. He invited then because he’s travelling and wanted to see them while he’s in town. I’m being told, that’s how thing go in XX state.
Instead of my FMIL handling, she asked him to call me. At which point I told him we didn’t have room to accomadate that many extra guests, possibly one more at most. Yes technically I could have asked the venue to try to adjustment table sizes and I could have rearranged the seating chart, but I didn’t want to deal with this so close to the wedding esp. since they’re all tentative and I have a lot of non-wedding stuff going on as well.
But now I’m being told it might cause contention in the family, becuase some people may believe that I wasn’t accomadating to him and should have made an exception because of his age. Please let me know what you think.
Post # 3
Hmm, not sure about in the US, but I have heard in some Asian and Indian communities, often everyone is welcome. Sort of a "the more the merrier" type thing.
I’d push for your FI to find out whether they can come or not. Even if it were normal to invite other people (which is strange and rude to me), I don’t think it’s unreasonable to know if they can come with only 2 weeks to go.
I wouldn’t stress about space/seating until you know if they can come or not. This is very odd to me. What’s your FI’s take on this? It’s his family =P
Post # 4
Wow, that’s a tough one. My suggestion is if, he is an "elderly" and to a certain degree you must respect that no matter what culture you are, let it slide. When it comes down to it, the venue that you are at should be prepared for unannounced showups. There’s just some things that are out of your control and on the day of, if they do happen to show up, let your banquet manager or maitre d’ work it out. I know when we went to give our final head count, our banquet manager let us know that regardless of what happens at teh wedding, if there are unannounced guests that show up, they will feed them and will seat them, so just let the venue do their job and work it out for you. There’s no need to stress over things beyond your control. THe day before my wedding, my mom called me to tell me a distant uncle of mine got into a car accident and would be unable to make the wedding. Concerned that I had already paid for the X number of guests, she decided to take it upon herself to invite some friend of a friend’s son and his girlfriend to my wedding. When she called to tell me what she had done, I flat out refused. I told her no and I did not want to see them there. Ultimately the day was about my husband and I, they didn’t show up, but had they been there, the venue would have seated them and served them food. SO in the end, don’t worry about things you can’t control. There’s so many other things that need to be done. Arguing with your future family about 3 people may do more harm than good in the long haul, so pick your battles wisely! Best of luck and everything will be just fine!
Post # 5
I think stick to your guns. I don’t think what state you’re in should make a difference, etiquette is etiquette. I especially wouldn’t have expected this from an elderly guest, as older people are usually far more adherant to etiquette in these situations.
If people are worried about ruffling feathers, I’d as FI (since it’s on his side) to call the elderly guest, and just make sure he understands it was not done as a slight, but because it is important to you both that you only have guests that you know, and at this late date, trying to accomodate extras is not feasible.
If you’re worried about hangers-on showing up at the weddding anyways I’d contact your caterer about possibly having food on hand for an extra 3-4 people. Also speak to your caterer about making sure any invited guests are served first (if you’re having a sit-down meal), that way if you run out of food, it wont be for your invited guests.
This really sucks. Good luck!
Post # 6
Okay, I’m from the Midwest and I’ve never heard of this. People have a reputation for totally ignoring RSVPs, and the "and guest" has always been fairly prevalent from what I can tell, but I’ve never heard of a situation where someone invited a small entourage to keep him company.
I’d say you’re fine for offering to invite one additional.
Post # 7
I have lived in (and have family and/or close friends stilling living in) North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois, and I want to say that this is not regional (Midwest), nor is it by State – rather it must be the "norm" in that family, church community, generation?! I may live in Cali now, but I want to clear up any ideas that poor (or different) etiquette is regionally the norm.
However, it may vary by community. I went to a cousins wedding in a small town where the entire town came. The wedding was held at the only church in town and then we went to the gymnasium for the reception. Everyone brought food (it was a pot-luck) and we danced all night. It was very different than some of the weddings we talk about on weddingbee, but it was very fun, and special (and in the mid 80’s when I think the wedding industry wasn’t as developed!).
Tell your FI and FMIL that you have a billion things on your plate and that they need to deal with these situations as they are THEIR family members. However they want to handle it is fine, but they should call the venue, DOC, make the extra placecards, etc. if they want to say "yes to the random guests." And I agree with one of the other posters, just let your vendors do their job (DOC, caterer) and they will take care of the randoms.
Have a great wedding!
Post # 8
I’m sorry, I don’t care where you live. Inviting additional people without the bride and grooms permission is totally unacceptable.
That said, I say in the spirit of not wanting to have everyone in a pissy mood on your wedding day, accomodate the additional guests. Since we started planning our wedding, my fiance and I have realized that unless you’ve actually planned a wedding in the last 5 years, you have no idea what they cost the bride and groom and or their parents. It’s entirely fair to say, that the ederly unlce had no idea how much of an additional expense inviting 3 extra guests would be and that if they didn’t end up coming you’d have to pay for them regardless.
It’s unfortunate, but I think you are going to chalk this one up to yet another one of those pesky "miscellaneous expenses"
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Post # 9
Maybe its just a generational thing from when weddings used to be a lot simplier.
Because if you are having a punch and cake reception this would be less of an issue than the sit-down dinner you are having.
I think you handled it fine. You compromised gand allowed one guest, right? And your venue simply has an absolute rule restricting guests, right? You weren’t able to invite some very close friends even. (This is what you tell people that think you are in the wrong anyway. With big wide eyes. And maybe a catch in your voice.)
🙂 Emotional manpulation of people who are unreasonable is perfectly allowable.
Post # 10
A few weeks ago I would have said, stick to your guns and don’t let him invite them!
BUT, I’ve now been faced with a similiar matter. An elderly couple (kinda psuedo grandparents) are now coming to the wedding. They will be visiting people that I know but that were not invited to the wedding the same wknd of my wedding. Now my aunt asked me to invite that couple my g-parents are staying with so that they have a way to get to the wedding! Frustrating since it instantly adds at least $200. But it’s also hard to say no out of respect for them.
I would just push for a more clear answer on if those 3 people are coming. Explain to him why you need to know. If it was a simple party no big deal. But when you need to provide an actual seat and a meal it is a big deal and he needs to know where you are coming from too!
Post # 11
Thanks all! This really helps. My FI and his mother agreed that we didn’t need to accept all the extra guests. My FI said that he’ll "defend" me if anything is said. At the time, I just shocked that I would even need to be "defended."
For clarification, the person I said could come was "his driver," he did n’tanswer when I tired to get more details on who this person was. The 2 guests I declined would actually have to drive from 2 hours away to get to the wedding as well. So I’m just hoping that they were not planning on coming, esp since the relationship is really remote, they’re actually his deceased friend’s daughter and husband.
Also the elderly relative does know it’s a a really formal affair, because apparently he’s dusting off his old tux for this. My FMIL even "suggested" we order an additional boutonniere for him.
I told several of my friends that they could not invite "dates and friends," however there were a lot of accomodations made for for +1 guest on his side because… not as many people were willing to travel from his side, the wedding is closer to my parents, that’s just how things are done in his family, etc, etc.
Post # 12
Really, its just crazy. Not only is it unreasonable for your elderly relative to invited extra people, it would be unreasonable of them to actually show up. If the extra person is his "driver," then I would offer to accomodate them by letting them eat in the kitchen, with the waitstaff. Are you treating your limo driver like a guest? I don’t think so.
And the issue of people from out of town staying with friends is also not an excuse. If I’m travelling to go to a business conference, and friends happen to offer to let me stay with them, I don’t drag them to my meetings. Ditto a wedding. If they feel the need to pay their friends back for the accomodations, they should take them to dinner themselves. If they need a ride, then send some other family member or a close friend to pick them up!
I actually have a few of this type of elderly relatives. They are just unpleasant. I don’t think it has anything to do with being elderly – I think they were sort of bullies their whole lives, and by now expect to be able to manipulate others into doing whatever they want. Its really no excuse. If you think its somehow going to cause massive unpleasantness, then go ahead and cave, but I see no reason why politely making other accomodations to get them a ride to the wedding, or providing a dinner in the kitchen for someone purported to be a chauffeur, should be an issue. Just smile and say it nicely, as if its the most reasonable thing in the world. It usually works.
Post # 13
i dont know. about regional differences, and 3 extra people is alot, but an elderly relative should get to bring a guest whoever that may be. there are a few single older family friends / relatives we are inviting that we are going to make more comfortable by putting "& guest". they may not be able to make it on their own & i wouldnt want them not to show up bc they dont want to make the trip alone. either way, FMIL should have fielded his call, then called to ask you, then returned the answer to him, not push him off on you. hope things get worked out, but dont make his friend eat in the kitchen as punishment. he just wants company 🙂
Post # 14
I’m with pp on this one.
Anyone accompanying an elderly relative so he can dust off his old tux and come to your wedding ought to be treated as an old family friend and welcomed. You were right to nix the other two, though.
And graciously get the relative a bout. People will look back at this occasion as possibly the last time they saw this relative. You are lucky to have him there as an honored guest, IMHO.
Post # 15
I don’t think I was suggesting "punishing" him by making his friend eat in the kitchen. But when asked, he apparently said it wasn’t a friend, but just "his driver." There’s a difference. If an elderly relative needs help getting there, I agree that you either need to provide that yourself, by sending someone to drive them, or you need to accomodate whomever helps them get there. If the extra person is a friend, and is coming as a guest, I think that’s fine. If a friend of mine was driving me to an event, let’s say because I had broken my ankle skiing, I wouldn’t refer to them as "my driver" though.
Post # 16
Indian community definitely uses the more the merrier mentality like <span class=”postby”>peihan17 said. Before many weddings people add on guests- like their live in mother in laws on either side (so +2), friends ask to bring their mom’s, dad’s etc. In the end being inclusive isn’t a bad thing as long as it doesn’t break the bank.