Post # 1
Situation: Both Fiance and I have large families, but not a large budget. Actually, his family is HUGE compared to mine. (But as we’ve been dating for 7 years, I have met most of them and love them/they love me.)
People think it’s easy to just “say you’re having a small wedding” or “it’s family only” and everyone will understand. Well that doesn’t really help our situation because it’s either a 20-person “immediate family only” wedding or a 150-person “family only” wedding. There seems to be no inbetween number for us. (And I cannot pay for the 150-200 people we should/want to invite. Plus the venues I most love cannot fit that many anyways.)
My solution is: Rather than picking which cousin can come and which cousin cannot, I want to let the guest list naturally thin itself by factors of location, date, proximity to other family members’ weddings, and giving less than ample notice.
Example: I’m most likely having the wedding in Philadelphia, which it makes it costly for Florida/Georgia family members to attend. I’m looking to choose a Friday date (January 4th), which is inconvenient for working people but may be convenient for those off from school/have children off from school and able to combine a New Year’s trip with our wedding. Further, two female cousins on different sides have their dates set and announced: one in December and one in January. I’m hoping by doing it close to both of those, some guests will only come to one wedding, and hopefully choose the other cousin’s. (Both brides have long announced their dates—plus both of those brides are the family members, whereas the groom is their family member in our wedding.) Also, the members of both families often announce their dates 1 year out for plannning purposes. We will prob. announce the date and send out STD’s 6 months out (or less).
So, is all this a bad idea? I’d really love if I could afford EVERYONE to come and if everyone could afford to travel to come to our wedding, but since both things aren’t true, I’m thinking of letting the guest list naturally thin itself by expecting many, many RSVP declines.
(I’ve read lots of articles/blogs where this seems to be a no-no, but it seems like the only way to not start a family war, and still have the medium-size wedding that we want and not just a tiny elopment.)
Post # 3
Just make sure that the people you NEED there can come and everything will be fine!
Post # 4
Is there any way you could put a cut off on the family? Maybe invite (the same for both sides), your siblings, parents, grandparents, your parents brothers and sisters, and first cousins only?Would you be able to eliminate children maybe under the age of 13 or maybe even 18 if you’re really stretched?
I too am hoping for a few regrets, but in the back of my head I need to be comfortable with the idea that what happens if everyone I invite says they are coming?
Post # 5
I think your idea is a really bad idea. Sit down and make a guest list of who you want to pay for and be done with it. Making it inconvenient for people doesn’t mean they won’t come, but for those that are important to you, it will still be inconvenient.
Post # 6
@RunningHusky: I most certainly guarentee you are going to ruffle some feathers but if you would rather do that then choose to cut the list then have at it.
Post # 7
I don’t think it is a good idea. Will you invite 150 and ‘hope’ they won’t come. What if the venue you choose won’t fit 150 and they all decide to come? You should decide how many guests you are comfortable paying for, what venue you really love and invite only that many people. Don’t feel pressured to invite all of the family; if there are aunts and uncles you are closer to, invite them and don’t invite others. It is your guest list.
Post # 8
Recognize that you may lose out on grandparents, aunts, uncles, other cousins, etc.
I probably still wouldn’t be comfy with inviting over the venue max.
Post # 9
- Wedding: July 2012 - Baltimore Museum of Industry
I would advise against this for several reasons. One- letting guests cut naturally- last week I received a yes rsvp from someone I never expected to attend our wedding- people may surprise you and do whatever they can to make coming to your wedding happen!
If I was one of the cousins, I’d be unhappy that you chose the same month as mine. Some guests could chose your wedding over theirs. The cousin would probably be less offended if you hold the wedding later in the spring, and don’t invite children, or cousins.
Or- you’re better off selecting the relatives you’re closest to. Can you afford a 100-person wedding? Then you and Fiance each get 50- up to you to figure out how to split it.
Post # 10
@bananamonkeysavannah I considered doing the adults only thing, but realized that the children cost next to nothing compared to the adult food and beverage costs. (And there’s really not that many children.) I think the main way it would help is if I hope that “adults only” causes the parents to decline to come at all. And I don’t want to lose them in particular. Valid suggestion though, thanks!
@quiltqueen and @hisgoosiegirl The venue I am most likely going with has a capacity of 150. However, my budget allows me to pay for about 100 adults (plus whatever kids– they don’t significantly affect the budget). So, should I invite 150 (and not even 151) guests and then hope/assume the number in attendance will be closer to my budget number? (At least I played it safe that no more than capacity were invited.) However, I do anticipate being pressured into >150 because of relatives we “know won’t come”.
@rebwana Thank you for your comments. I actually am already giving FI’s side way more invites than my side. (I’m so nice!) I’ve been agonizing over who/how to reduce his side (I know everyone–we’ve been together a while). Do you think I should I give a number to FI’s parents and let THEM cut their side down to what I can afford/fit in the venue? I know they’d rather us pick a less expensive but bigger capacity venue in order to invite “everyone”.
Also, I plan to definitely um, get permission (?) from both of FI’s cousins about our wedding dates being close. Although what I expect is an “of course!” to my face, and grumblings behind my back. However, we want a winter wedding, both brides know that, and we don’t want to push off the date for another year. What I wanted to do is clear it with cousins, make sure they’ve told everyone and sent their Save-The-Date Cards out, before we announce. I don’t want it misconstrued at all that we’re trying to steal anyone else’s spotlight. I want to somehow convey that if a guest can come to both weddings, great! But if a guest can only come to one, please choose hers and not ours. Any suggestions on this?
All 3 of us got engaged around the same time. At first, I freaked out when one cousin announced “December” and one “January” because though our date was TBD, we were looking at those two months only!! Then I started to think it was maybe a blessing in disguise—-the magical way to reduce the food and beverage costs without having to cut the invite list.
Ugh, I’m so stressed that no matter what I do, people will think I’m RUDE!
Post # 11
@RunningHusky: It’s not easy to cut down a wedding guest list but if your budget doesn’t allow a huge amount of guest then cut has much as you can. From personal experience, we originally wanted 50 guests. That went out the window when we included our parents especially FI’s parents. We were up to 120. We decided to cut down the list because we were going to go over budget (not by a lot but still) and it was just causing us but especially me a headache.
It got to the point where we said [email protected]# it, lol! We knew we didn’t want a large wedding, something intimate with our closest family and friends. We told told our parents what we wanted and told them it would help us maintain our budget and they understood. Fiance and I looked at our list and only included close family members: grandparents, immediate aunts/uncles, close first cousins (a handful), long-time friends of the family who always been there for us, and close friends.
We discarded any first cousins who we aren’t close to anymore and it was a good move because we would’ve been stuck inviting their kids. The only first cousins that are coming are because they are adults with no children (one cousin’s child is part of the wedding court) and those who are 15-yrs and older/young adults who live with their parents. If the remaining family who isn’t invited is upset with the decision we have made well then oh well. Fiance and I are paying for most of our wedding and we would like to invest some of our money into a new place for us.
We ended up with a guest list of 57 guests until FI’s parents intervene and had a conversation with us telling us we had to invite his aunts and uncles and some very close friends of the family who have helped them especially during the time FI’s dad was battling with cancer. Before I could have said a word, his parents told us they would pay for our catering and anything else we needed help with. It works out and I don’t have a problem because they will be paying for it. Our total guest list is now 85 and no more, lol! I’m sure there are some people who won’t be able to come so it isn’t has bad as 120.
My suggestion to you is to sit down with Fiance and ask him who you two want to share your wedding day with (despite if they can come or not). Make sure that whoever you want to be your guests fits within your budget. Also, devise a small plan b guest list if those who you want to come cannot come then you will have a backup.
Post # 12
@RunningHusky: I think that if you haven’t actually written down everyone that is on your and your fiance’s “Must Be Invited List” (ie. the people that you wouldn’t get married without them being present such as your parents, grandparents, siblings and their spouses, bff…) I would say that both you and your fiance should be able to have all of the people on both of your lists.
Then you can halve the remaining spots between you and your fiance and make a second list of “Possible Invitees” the other people that you might invite if you had the space/ money. If you only have the budget for 100 adults plus kids, and you don’t want to change venue/menu then only plan to invite 100 adults.
Since you are asking for tips on how to cut this part of the list here are some suggestions.
- Know that with wedding invitations reciprocity is not necessary
- Do not include “Plus Ones” unless they are married, engaged, or living together
- Include people that know both you and your groom over people that only know you
- Do not include coworkers
- Include people that are actually a part of your lives and help contribute to your relationship
- Do not include people that you haven’t had any contact with for more than 1 year, 2 years, etc.
Post # 13
Thanks for your personal experience msfuturea! I think my other fear from cutting our family from a guest list is judgement about our choices. i.e. People hear the reason they aren’t invited is that we are on a budget, but then later hear of some “extravagent” detail that we could have done without paying for in order to add on 5, 10, or 30 more guests. Maybe I could just blame it on the venue?? “I’m so sorry, I want to invite all the family and friends, but the venue we fell in love with can only fit xxx people.” ….with the xxx being our budget number and not actually the venue capacity 😉
Thanks @Zusie for those tips! I was already following some, but some were new to me! Mainly the “Know that with wedding invitations reciprocity is not necessary.” FI’s parents are invited to 6+ weddings a year, consistently. They just know everyone! Fiance has been out of their house for 10 years now. The parents think that since the invites always say “and family” that Fiance has been invited to all of those weddings too. I however, feel only obligated to reciprocate the maybe 4 invites Fiance actually received personally, in his name, and to his address.
Lastly, I love the “Include people that are actually a part of your lives and help contribute to your relationship“. The good family friend (of FI’s family) who we see several times a year and has a personal relationship with me (the girlfriend) should trump FI’s blood relative I’ve never met or met once in a 7-year period, right? On the other hand, marriage is about blending families and me becoming related to these family members….
Boy, do I feel bad for every time I just assumed I was going to be invited to someone’s wedding! 😛
Post # 14
@RunningHusky: I was just reading a really useful book (Miss Manners’ Guide to a Surprisingly Dignified Wedding), and she made a point that I find germane and really agree with: people should be the most important consideration. You should choose your venue and tailor your budget to accommodate your guest list, and not the other way around. I get that a certain amount of tailoring your guest list to your budget is inevitable – but I think it makes sense that you opt for less expensive food, fewer/cheaper flowers, compromise on the venue, etc, in the interest of including more people.
That said, we have something similar on our hands. I have a huge family, both Fiance and myself are from out-of-state, and we’re holding the wedding in the city where we met and now live. (It means that both sides will have to travel, not just one, and anyway the city where we live now is a vastly more interesting place to visit than either of our hometowns!) We know that as a result, the people to whom it matters the most will self-select in, the others will “regretfully decline” (or not-so-regretfully), and we are hoping to end up with our target number. It’s a gamble, though – and we’re planning accordingly. We are scaling down our expectations on a lot of the frills, we have a venue that can potentially accomodate a bigger-than-expected crew, and, depending on how many people we end up with, maybe we’ll add some things back in, but we agreed that our rule of thumb is “more important to include more people than to have a bigger/fancier/more expensive (fill-in-the-blank).”
Finally, I know that this is probably going to be seen as a crazy suggestion, but would one of your cousins ever want to consider a double wedding? Nowadays weddings are seen as a really individualistic thing, but it wasn’t always so, and in previous decades families would hold double weddings if (more often) sisters or (occasionally) cousins got engaged around the same time. It almost never happens any more – but it’d be really unique!
Post # 15
I wasn’t able to read everyone elses replies.
But here’s something you could do.
Stagger your invites. Such as decide on how many people, and who is “1st string – immediate family”
Then send invites to those people, and when you get responses then send out 2nd string invites, to grandparents and aunts and uncles… then maybe third string to cousins who live on their own. Etc. Maybe you don’t need that many “strings” but it was just an example.
So that way you know who is coming and you can get the top number of people you want to invite.
Post # 16
We are having the same issue. My moms mom has 9 married brothers and sisters. Which means a lot of extra people. I don’t have any of their numbers and don’t communicate with any of them now, but growing up I could actually count 3 of the 9 siblings that I actually went to their house and had conversations with. My mom decided it was either invite ALL or NONE. Basically, she said there would be confrontation within the family if I only invited the ones I wanted to come. Keeping in mind that my mom had a wedding a few years ago in our home town and most of them didn’t even show up for that and they are her Aunts and Uncles. So I guess I really don’t have an answer, exact maybe all or none. We cut down to just Aunts and Uncles, no greats (aunts uncles), no cousins.