Asking parents to pay for their guests?

posted 9 months ago in Etiquette
  • poll: Is it reasonable to (politely) ask parents to pay for their own guests?
    Yes, they can pay for their own guests if they want them there so badly. : (48 votes)
    75 %
    No, they're paying for the rehearsal dinner so they can invite whoever they want. : (11 votes)
    17 %
    Other, explain : (5 votes)
    8 %
  • Post # 2
    Member
    265 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: Scotts ~ Walnut Creek

    So instead of giving you the money towards your wedding, which would actually be helpful, they instead choose to use it for a rehearsal dinner that you don’t really want or care about? Sound logic there.

    I have no clue what etiquette dictates but imho these are separate events. Your wedding, your guest list, your rules. If they want to try and add to or dictate the guest list then its reasonable for them to pay for the extras. If thats too much of an issue and you see it becoming a major problem I’d also politely decline their rehearsal dinner so they have zero reason to yap about what they contributed or how much money they put towards your celebration.

    Post # 3
    Member
    1958 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: October 2017

    How did the original guest list get sorted? Were your FI’s parents involved in who was invited from his side? If they’re exceeding the number allotted to them, then I would tell them you can’t invite those 8 extra people due to budget. If they bring up the rehearsal dinner, you can refuse the dinner if you would like. But just because they’re paying for the dinner, does not mean they get full control of the guest list for yor wedding. I’d tell them no because of budget restrictions and see if they offer to pay and go from there. 

    However, despite your saying in your OP that you didn’t expect your FI’s parents to contribute to your wedding and that you’re fine with it, other statements in your post make it clear that you’re not. Their money is their money. Regardless of if your FI’s sister is engaged or not, they have a right to save for the future possibility. Traditions typically last when many people follow them. Everyone I’ve known who’s gotten married ended up with the bride’s family contributing to the wedding and the groom’s family contributing to the rehearsal dinner and groom’s cake. There’s nothing wrong with your FI’s family wanting to stick with that tradition. The tradition is neither right or wrong, but all that matters is what your FI’s parents want to do, since it’s their money. 

    Post # 4
    Member
    1919 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: April 2016

    hickoryhills :  Yes, they should be allowed to invite 8 guest. They are paying for a portion of the wedding, and you have accepted them paying. You already allowed this. 8 is nothing. The guest list should be split 50/50 with your family/friends and then Fiance family/friends, if any parents are paying. 

    Anyone paying gets a say… No pay, no say. “We told all of the parents that if they wanted to contribute something, that would be lovely but we were fully prepared to cover the cost of the wedding ourselves and it wasn’t expected.” You opened the door for this by bringing up the topic of contributing. 

    I would allow the 8 guest. If they ask to add more, then maybe approach the subject of being over budget.  “We have met our guest limit, I am sorry, no more can be added at this time.” or “We are currently over budget, for the additional __ people beyond the first 8, it is a cost of ____ that we are unable to cover___.” 

    Post # 6
    Member
    1919 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: April 2016

    hickoryhills :  Seeing your update, I change my vote. I was under the impression that Fiance parents only had requested 8 total. However, with your update that they were involved in the guest list and that these 8 are after the final count. I would tell them no. 

     

    Post # 7
    Member
    1116 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: City, State

    hickoryhills :  Since it’s only 8, which most likely you will have 8 declines, I would let this pass and use this opportunity to clarify that this is the last and final addition. Anything else they will have to cover. 8 is not worth it to start a battle.

    Post # 8
    Member
    322 posts
    Helper bee

    It’s up to you who you want to invite. But I don’t think it would hurt to let the parents know that adding these people will put you over budget by 1500. Then you can see how they respond. Also, personally, I’d cancel the rehearsal dinner as I think it’s a complete waste of time, money and emotional energy. Plus then maybe they’ll give you a cash gift instead. 

    Post # 9
    Member
    2091 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: March 2019

    If they were given a certain number of guests (a number that you can afford) and they are going over it, then, yes, I would ask them to pay. Or just tell them that their half of the list was done and you can’t invite these people. 

    And if they pay, 8 people is another whole table, so another centerpiece, linens if you are renting, invitations, etc. So make sure you take all of that into account when you tell them how much it would be. If they want to go over their number, the venue can hold it and they are willing to pay for it, and you don’t mind, then I would say yes. 

    It’s really just a matter if this is a hill you want to die on. My fiance’s family’s guest list was 20ppl over their allotted amount and it was absolutely a hill I was wanting to die on. Besides all the extra costs that I mentioned above, it was more strangers I didn’t know there and more work for me (we are DIY-ing a lot and his family has not helped out with any of it). At first my fiance was upset and frustrated and then he helped me put together invitations. As we were going through, he was like “I can’t believe how much work this is. No way would I want to do this for 20 more people!” And I kind of told him that this is how its gone for everything. Save the Dates, table decorations, etc. It’s a lot of work, and the more people we invite the more of this we have to do. He finally got it and has actually been telling his family how much work all of this is! 

    Post # 10
    Member
    4662 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: September 2018

    hickoryhills :  my mum was like this for mine and my siblings weddings.

    You already asked for their input. So at this point I’d say no. But it’s FIs job to sort out, his parents. “FMIL, we received your extra 8 people but we’re unable to accomodate them.” If you get “they have to come” you have two options “we asked at the outset about guests and added X, Y and Z. We have no space for additional guests” or “we haven’t budgeted for these 8 people, if it’s important they come you’ll need to cover the cost of $$$ per person.” Personally I’d avoid this because they’ll argue they’ve paid for the rehearsal dinner.

    Ultimately though you need to decide if this is a hill you really want to die on.

    Maybe you can say “instead of the rehearsal can we put the money towards the extra 8 guests”

    Just some ideas.

    Post # 11
    Member
    265 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: Scotts ~ Walnut Creek

    Please do not make decisions involving your money based on what if scenarios. Ever. Is 100% acceptance unlikely? Sure. But its also a possibility. Money decisions should be based on facts. Fact is you’re inviting x amount of people and should plan to pay for x amount. Now if you have $1500 to burn then great, if not $1500 is worth a battle.

    For example. My cousin decided to invite 50 family members from Southern CA to her Northern CA wedding. This was nearly half of her guest list. She budgeted for 80. I said hey listen I feel like this is a terrible idea bc _________. Oh its fine, this person wont make it, that person wont etc., RSVPs start rolling in. 6 declines total, only 2 of which were Southern CA guests. So now she’s scrambling to find funds they don’t have and its a mess.

    Post # 12
    Member
    1958 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: October 2017

    hickoryhills :  No, you didn’t do it wrong. You’ve already allowed their input, and the list is finalized. At this point, you and your Fiance should tell them the guest list is finalized and the budget is set, and so you can not accommodate the additional guests. 

    Post # 13
    Member
    1958 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: October 2017

    purplepixel :  If OP doesn’t want the rehearsal dinner, canceling is an option. But going from personal experience, OP’s future in-laws will not redirect the money they would have spent on a rehearsal dinner to the wedding or as a gift. They’ve decided they’re paying for the rehearsal dinner, and if anything, they would likely be angry if it’s canceled now. I’m not saying that means OP has to go through with it, but I wouldn’t cancel it in hopes of the money going towards something else. 

    Post # 14
    Member
    252 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: March 2020 - City, State

    Yeah, if they helped build the “final” guest list, that’s it or they can pay for more. A budget is a budget. And I agree about including cost of an extra table etc, 8 folks is a table. You were prepared to pay the the whole shebang including the rehearsal dinner when it was of a certain size, that they’ve already insisted on you expanding and dressing up. That was your budget. If THEY want unnecessary things that go over that budget, you can politely let them know that inviting 8 extra people is $xxx over budget and you and your fiancé can’t afford that right now. If they offer to pay, I would let them have it.

    Post # 15
    Member
    1889 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: October 2019

    How are 8 people costing 1500? Yikes. 

    I’d tell them how much it costs and ask them to reconsider how essential those people are. Then I’d probably just suck it up and include the ones they deem essential. 

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