(Closed) Controlling the out of control guest list!!

posted 7 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
Member
1418 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

I would never invite more people than you can actually have because as much as we can guess, some people will surprise you and RSVP yes even if you were counting on the opposite.  You can’t physically have that many people at your venue, so you have to realistically make your guest list based on that.

In terms of your lists…is there any way to invite some of your mom’s extended family without their kids?  I guess my question would be…do you know these people well?  With the rising costs of weddings, it is often unreasonable to invite all the extended family, especially with the space constraint you have.  And if you are paying for your wedding, I don’t think it is necessary to invite 40 of your mom’s extended family.

Another thing – that you may have accounted for but I forgot to initially – don’t forget to include you and your Fiance as well as other people such as your officiant (if you choose to invite them) and any vendors you may need to feed (such as your photog or DJ) in your total number.  Actually, you will need to include your vendors who are present for your reception in your number regardless of whether you are feeding them because they will count towards the space limit.

Post # 4
Hostess
18644 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2009

Who is paying for the wedding?  If you are, then it is within your rights to not invite the 40 people from your mother’s extended family that you possibly don’t even know.

And I just have a question, why is your wedding party 22 people?  That seems pretty big to me, and usually a larger wedding party like that means a wedding of 200+.

Post # 6
Member
117 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

When I made my list I had 3 tiers of people outside of our family–Definitely inviting, maybe inviting, it would be nice if we have space/money. We also aren’t sending out our invitations all at once. As we get rsvp’s in, then we can send out more. We will only be sending STD’s to family since they are the only ones we are definitely inviting.

We are keeping our guest list around 100. 90% are family. We would have liked to invite more friends, but it’s not looking good.

The guest list has been the biggest source of stress for us. I’ll be glad when it’s finalized. Good Luck!

Post # 7
Member
165 posts
Blushing bee

Sounds like your mom has some cutting to do.  From your list he’ll have 30 family invites and you’ll have 65.  Besides not being fair to him, that’s asking for one heck of a mismatch in the “friend of the bride or groom” ceremony seating arrangement.  I’d have your mom cut down her list and make some of your own cuts in the friends we want to invite and the people we “have” to invite list.  People are generally more understanding than you’d think…and if they’re not, they don’t deserve to be there in the first place.

Post # 8
Member
1775 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2009

I would have your mom cut her list.  No kids is an easy way to cut the list, although you will likely have some trouble with people wanting to bring their kids. 

Post # 9
Member
10 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: May 2015

can you make it kid-free wedding? that would eliminate at least 15?

Post # 10
Member
369 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2011

Make yourself a B-list.

Cut out any guests of your guests. Only invite the partner if they’re engaged or in a serious long term relationship. Plus, try what GoldenMorgan suggested and cut out the kids. 

My guest list is 18 years of age and older. Consider it an event when mommies and daddies can be free to enjoy themselves rather than make sure their kids aren’t being silly in the bathroom, going nuts at the Viennese table, or whining.

Post # 11
Member
1872 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: February 2011

We did what ejs1228 did–tier the guests into “MUST HAVE” “SHOULD HAVE” and “NICE TO HAVE”. We then sub-divided our “NICE TO HAVE” into “B-LIST” and “ANNOUNCEMENTS ONLY.” Some people aren’t keen on B-lists–I think they can work if you get your invites out on the early side and if you can get B-list invites out at least a month before your RSVP deadline.

I can’t tell you how to divvy up your invites because it’s so complicated as social and family relationships are complicated, but here are a few things we decided early on to help cut things down:

-No inviting people to our wedding just because we were invited to theirs. This is a big thing. Leave past occasions out of it–are you good friends NOW, is the point.

-No inviting work/school colleagues (unless someone is a particularly good friend. Most of ours are just colleagues–some of whom we like very much, but our litmus test was, if we moved away, would we still stay in contact with them? It was pretty much “no” across the board. And by “good friend” we also mean good enough that if you were to invite them and NO ONE else from the office, everyone else in the office would understand. If that’s not the case, then chances are, they’re not a good enough friend.)

-Should you invite children? In the end, we decided to, but do consider that if you don’t invite children, you may be “killing two birds with one stone” in the sense that not only do you save by not having the children, but also some people won’t attend if their children can’t (I know, it’s kinda sneaky, but whatever)

-Forget the plus-ones. It’s a nice courtesy, but it’s not a breach of etiquette to invite singles and if you are under a strict space and budget guideline, then you can forgo the courtesy. If people feel awkward about attending as singles, then they can decline.

And I agree–40 guests just for your Mom seems like a lot. She should probably make some cuts. And as PP said, DO NOT assume that people aren’t going to come–a lot of times, people will surprise you!

Post # 13
Member
1775 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2009

I think the B list is great in concept, but much harder in practice.  You need to have people RSVP no AND in enough time to courteously invite people.  I asked people to RSVP by 1 month prior to the wedding.  Almost all of the early RSVPs were yes.  Almost all of our people who said no responded right before the deadline or I had to track them down.  There are TONS of posts about people who don’t RSVP by the deadline.  I am not saying that it can’t be done, but for us, it wouldn’t have worked (fine because we invited a number that would have been tight in our venue but made it).

If you have people your mom wants and you don’t care, telling her they are on the B list might be a great way to deal with it. 😉

Post # 14
Member
1315 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

If your mom won’t budge, I say cut the kids. You’re gonna have to play hardball – you can’t build an extension onto the venue!

Post # 15
Member
1872 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: February 2011

I actually DON’T think that putting your mom’s relatives on the B-list is a good idea, unless they know about it because you are setting yourself up for half of them to get off the B-list and half of them to not get invited. We tentatively have a B-list–which I think is how you have to do them–tenatively. Because, as guitargirl points out, if you don’t get enough “nos” fast enough, then you can’t take people off B-list.

But to answer your question, you can give yourself as much as a whole extra month (so send them out 3 months in advance rather than 2) to send out the first round of invites–most brides find that people either send RSVPs back immediately or at the deadline–very few in between. The good news is that “nos” sometimes come back earlier because some people already know that they’re not going to be able to attend. But you want to give those on the B-list at least about 4-6 weeks ahead of the RSVP deadline to respond.

Post # 16
Member
1315 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

Actually, by aunts/uncles are we talking your mom’s brothers/sisters, or HER aunts/uncles? I’d say you can cut all cousins without offending, once you’re even handed with it.

One of my dad’s sisters came (from overseas) for my brother’s wedding. She asked me who all the guests were, as she only knew a few people, were all of these people the bride’s extended family? I told her most guests were friends of the couple. She said, well why didn’t he invite all of his cousins? _ I was so close to saying , well if you’d offered to help pay, maybe they would’ve _ but instead explained to her how all cousins were left out. People are amazing!

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