Post # 1
Sorry if this becomes a really long post….I NEED HELP!!
We’re having a really small ceremony and reception (35 close friends and family) We’re in the position where if we give everyone in our families +1’s we cannot afford to have a reception at all!
We decided that we wouldn’t do +1’s unless people were travelling some distance. I thought this would be reasonable as at my cousin’s wedding FH wasn’t invited even though we had been together 2yrs by that point. We also figured that those whose partners lived close by could just come in the evening.
I asked FH’s sister to draw up a list of who we need to invite on his side. She has sent back a list with almost every person having a +1 and now I don’t know what to do! (she has done this even after I said our budget is really small) I don’t want to offend anyone but everyone seems to be asking left right and centre to bring a guest! FH’s dad was widowed last year and I honestly didn’t expect to need to give an invite for a guest for him. I’ll point out that I have even forfeited all my uncles, aunties and cousins on my dads side because we can’t afford to pay for them and I plan to send evening invites to those I can’t invite for the reception.
How do I get around this? Is it ok to explain that we would love to invite more people but our budget won’t allow? Also FH’s sister said their Auntie does have a husband but won’t want him to come so I should put her down as +1 instead, could I get around this by inviting her and her husband so that she can only RSVP for her self?
I’m really worried about offending people and making sure people don’t feel it’s one rule for one family and another for the other family.
Please help me!!!
Post # 3
Ok, breathe, it’s going to be ok!
You haven’t sent out invites yet, right? So don’t panic yet 🙂
Whether or not people listed plus ones on the guest list can be fixed by just deleting the plus one (or “and guest”. Is your FI’s sister single or has she not been involved in weddings much? I’ve found that people who aren’t accustomed to wedding planning assume that everyone should be able to bring a guest to a wedding. I’ve been guilty of this myself! So maybe she just assumed that you would let family members bring guests?
The rule is you really do have invite spouses, fiances, and live-in partners. This annoyed me before, but now that I have had a wedding I’ve realized its more about keeping the wedding to people you know or are at least the significant others of people you know (and give you a chance to meet their SO if you hadn’t), then about oppressing single people.
That being said, if you really want to keep the wedding small and don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings (which, btw, is pretty much impossible with a wedding, but it can be minimized), then stick to the rule. Thirty-five people does not allow much wiggle room!
Just be honest! Say that you would wish you had room for them to bring a guest that’s not a SO, but you just don’t have the space. Smooth things over by saying how much you hope to have them (and a guest 🙂 over for dinner or a visit sometime.
Post # 4
You need to communicate to both of your families so they understand where you’re coming from. I would probably have your fiance communicate with his family as that may be better perceived. If you’re paying for the wedding yourself, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to tell guests (especially family) that there are no +1s. I do agree with ginnyc – all spouses and fiances should be invited.
Post # 5
Yes we arepaying for the whole thing so I suppose it’s fair we decide-don’t like to rock the boat! Out of the +1’s none of them are spouses or fiance’s so i suppose they’ll just have to deal with it!
Thanks for the help!
Post # 6
This issue is always a tricky one. People might get offended and there’s nothing you can do about it. 35 is a tiny wedding so stick to your guns – it’s your wedding. 🙂
Post # 7
Just repeat over and over that you are only inviting X amount of people. If anyone asks for a +1 just politely repeat we can only have X amount and we have already reached that number. People act dense when it comes to guests lists, its very frustrating but dont back down.
Post # 8
Yes, as Ginnie says, don’t panic — it’s going to be ok!
Etiquette is your dear friend on this problem! Because, etiquette says you should not invite anyone you don’t know, nor anyone whose name you don’t know. You really do need to invite spouses (etiquette, being coy, assumes that people who are sleeping in the same bed are “secretly married”) and fiances. That means you need to find out their names and (ideally) get someone to introduce you ahead of time or at least in a letter. And for those rare fiances who are not living together, you need to send each party his invitations to his own address.
This works in your favour with your sister-in-law. You thank her for the list (of course) and add the actual close relatives to your guest list. Then for the ones that say “and guest” you call her up and ask who the guest is. After all, *you* wouldn’t want to be called “and guest” when you have a perfectly good name, would you? You wouldn’t want to be included in an event just as someone else’s accessory, to dangle prettily on his arm knowing that it was he that your hostess wanted and not you, would you? Chances are good that Sis doesn’t know the names of the guests (and can’t find out) so you just send the invitations off to the close relatives whose names she does know. If she suggests you “just include ‘and guest'”, you blush prettily and say “no, no, I couldn’t do that to his guest; how rude it would be to call her that.” In my experience, expressing gently-bred sentiments confuses people enough that they don’t know how to argue with you. Remember, just because *they* don’t understand where you are coming from does NOT oblige you to change, or even to explain. Why would you give up the strategic advantage of having a confused opponent?
For the few people that she does have names for — and addresses — you ask her how they are related. Because, of course, you aren’t inviting anyone who is more distant than the uncles and aunties you have already cut. So she needs to explain the relationship to you so you understand that they are, in fact, closer than your auntie. If she succeeds, I imagine that you will be all to happy to invite the person. In the meantime, you get to smile and be gracious and helpful — while she spins her wheels trying to do the impossible.
Yes, I am a passive-aggressive old biddy. But why is passive aggressive wrong when dealing with people who are insensitive, bossy, and aggressive?
Post # 9
I definitely agree with the above posters. Don’t worry! First, you and your FH get to decide on the size of the wedding and the guest list – not his sister! (Unless she’s paying for the wedding, which it sounds like she isn’t).
So, politely thank her for helping you out iwth the list of names and addresses – that is a non-trivial piece of help! Then say that because of the size of the wedding, the only +1s allowed on either side (stress that this is totally equal for both your family and FH’s) are spouses/fiances/live-in partners. You can also add, that since it’s a small wedding, no one will be left out or feel the need for a companion – they should mostly already know each other! If her guest list is too long, then just ask your FH to cut out however many names he needs to in order to have your total guest list counts right.
Then emphasize to everyone involved that there will be NO EXCEPTIONS (on either side of the family) – unless someone gets engaged and/or married between now and your wedding, in which case you’ll happily accomodate the addition.
If you’re fair and even, no one will complain – just don’t make ANY exceptions.
We did this, and while a few people asked to bring dates, they certainly understood why we said no when they showed up to our 40-person wedding! Good luck and don’t worry!
Post # 10
@aspasia475: That’s genious-I think this is how I’m going to play it.
Thanks everyone, we called her last night and FH said as we have cut so many from my side and my cousins aren’t bringing guests the same rule is going to have to apply. FH said “who’s Dad meant to be bringing anyway??” and his sister said that it was just the ‘done’ thing. We have left it at that but will definitely follow everyones advice on here. Like you’ve said as long as I make it fair on both sides we can’t do much-if we applied the rules she had to my side I’d end up an extra 30-40 people. This has been the only part of wedding planning so far that I’ve not enjoyed so thanks for the help!!