Post # 1
Soon after he popped the question and I said, ‘yes,’ I proposed another question: How many people will your side be inviting?
Ok, maybe not as abruptly as that, but I did try to nail down the guest list within the first month of the engagement because I knew it would be the biggest problem, with me having a HUGE family (think MBF Greek Wedding) and FI’s mother being a socialite.
Here I am, 8 months into the planning process with much Future Mother-In-Law problems in between with 8 months to go, and I still can’t get this situation under control.
My mother won’t budge because she’s paying, by a HUGE percentage, more for our wedding AND our honeymoon, while Future Mother-In-Law continues to think that I am purposely trying to keep Fiance away from his family and FMIL’s friends.
Meanwhile, there’s a space issue at our venue: It holds 200 MAX (150 comfortably) and the list extends beyond 250, having already asked Future Mother-In-Law to cut (although she only cut about 17 people) and my dad’s side to cut (they cut about 50 people).
Fiance and I have made our list as small as possible. I can’t even invite my two bosses and their spouses, but I have to invite my co-worker and his spouse because he’s the guitarist for the ceremony! That’s going to make an awkward work environment…
I’m at my wits end. I hate seeing my mother get upset when I bring up the issue…I can’t say to my Fiance, "You’re mom has to cut more because she’s only giving us $xxxx."
I’m starting to think I won’t have a wedding anyway because I will never know how many invitations to order…Any words of encouragement?
Post # 3
You really need to invite your boss if you’re inviting co-workers.
As far as the other stuff, you just need to sit your mother and your Future Mother-In-Law down and tell them how many people they can both invite and that’s that.
Post # 4
How about doing 50 50 on the family friends? Add up the numbers for both families and the people you and your Fiance want to invite (your friends, coworkers whatever) and subtract that from 200. Then divide what is left by 2 hand those two numbers to each side of the family. They have to trim their lists to meet that number. Your side will still be bigger because your family is bigger. That might help your mom with the who is spending what issue but it is still fair as far as family friends.
Post # 5
I am in similar situation. With much conflict and headaches and tears, I decided that this is my wedding, and i will invite who WE want rather than our parents. As Shannamt wrote, we are making 300 (we are estimating about 600 ppl) invites. We are going to take out all of our guests’ invitations. If that is 100 or 200, doesnt matter! We are going to take out however many we need. Then splitting the leftovers and telling our parents to give to whomever they want to invite.
This works out, bc then parents have something to work with. They know they ONLY have that much and there is nothing that can be done. That allows the parents to figure out their guest list with what they have.
Don’t worry, after all this chaos, you only become more stronger and less things bother you til your wedding. I’m a prime example!
Post # 6
I ran into a similar problem. We decided to have a reception, go on our honeymoon, and then come back and have an open house. The same decorations (besides flowers) will be used, we’re doing our own finger foods (mostly from Sam’s and Costco) and we’re just going to put CD’s on for music. It’s not going to cost a lot (we’re using a friend’s house) and it will allow us to celebrate and enjoy ourselves with the people that we couldn’t invite to the wedding and reception. The actual wedding announcements will be worded to indicate that it’s a private ceremony to make sure that those invited don’t invite other people.
Best of luck to you!
Post # 7
You definitely don’t want to make his family cut more than yours. By tradition, the bride’s family pays more, and it’s not a "we paid more, we invite more, situation. I for one feel terrible that my side will bigger than the groom’s, because I feel like it should be as equal as possible. I also had the unfortunate experience of my brother’s wedding where there were WAY more people on the bride’s side and they kept telling my mom to cut people from our already shrunken side. It was sad to look at the church….it looked like his side were all outsiders and almost unwelcome. I liked the ideas where you split a number equally and tell each parent to stick with those numbers. I’m pretty against inviting all the parental friends in general….they’re not YOUR friends and probably don’t really care about YOUR marriage…however, if you have to do it, it should be as equal as possible. My fiance’s side will be smaller because they have to travel too far, so I’m trying to get him to make it up with co-workers and friends so it’s more equal. Good luck!
Post # 8
I’m basically in the same situation – my mom (parents are divorced) is paying for the majority of the reception, and his mother keeps adding people to the guest list with promises of "they won’t come, but they’ll send a gift!". Well, we had a few of those folks RSVP "yes" and now are in a tight spot… I think the days of the bride’s family paying for everything are long over and so we asked his parents to cover the cost of the extra folks. they weren’t happy, but they did it.
Post # 9
I disagree that if you invite the coworker who is providing the ceremony music, you need to invite your boss as well. Unless, of course, you have him singing or something… The reason for inviting the coworker and his spouse is pretty clear. As long as you don’t invite other random people from work, you should be fine.
As for everything else – you either need to limit the guest list (for everyone – you, Future In-Laws, and your parents) to what the room can comfortably hold, or find a new venue! You can work a bit with budget – a few more people, a little lower priced entrees – but if you can’t afford to host the party everybody wants, it’s completely reasonable to ask your Future In-Laws to pitch in more. Or maybe you and your Fiance can cover some – you don’t say whether you are doing that already, but for most of the brides on this site, families are not covering the whole cost. Many brides are not getting any financial contribution from their families.
I would advise that you get yourself out of the middle on this one. Lay out the budget item by item, calculate the cost per guest, and sit down (you and FI) with Future In-Laws and your parents, and let them see the issue. It wouldn’t hurt to have cost numbers for a larger venue as well. I think that people often feel like you’re just giving them a hard time about the guest list to be difficult. If you lay the problem out for them, and them make them help figure out how to solve it, it should be much less stressful for you.
Post # 10
Thanks to everyone who commented. Sometimes it just helps to know that others are going through the same thing.
I have laid out the budget to my mother, who swears she’ll be able to cover the costs somehow. I am contributing much financially to this wedding as well, but my mother just doesn’t "get it" that our venue is only so big… Unfortunately we can’t change venues because our deposit is non-refundable.
I have decided to lay down the law. If my mother and Future Mother-In-Law fail to make cuts themselves, Fiance and I will look at their lists and make cuts for them. I’m also including a B list for those folks that Future Mother-In-Law swears "won’t come but will just send a gift" and for the people I have to cut from my mother’s list.
Thanks again for all the support. I’m really looking forward to putting this headache behind me and moving on with the wedding planning process!
Post # 11
My parents had an invite list that included a lot of friends who we hadn’t met. We were paying and didn’t want to have a bunch of people we didn’t know at our 100 person reception. So my mom threw a brunch the next day and invited everyone she wanted. She set it up, she paid, she made the invite list. It turned out much better than if they had come to our party. I think everyone was happier.
If Future Mother-In-Law can’t cut down her invite list, perhaps you could get her to throw her own party sometime?
Post # 12
I am currently in this same situation. Our venue only holds 300 people max. My Fiance and I only really want to mail out approx. 250 invitations. My Future Mother-In-Law sent me a list of approx. 40 people the other day to be added the our guest list. More than half of these people I don’t even know and they are her friends from high school and whatnot. I refuse to have all of her friends who I don’t know at my wedding. My Fiance and I sat down with her and told her that she can invite 4 or 5 couples. This is not a high school reunion or social event — it is YOUR wedding. Let her know that. Make your Fiance sit down with her if you aren’t comfortable. She shouldn’t be making this day about her, it’s about you and your Fiance. That’s what we told my Future Mother-In-Law and she was not happy at first but understands and has come around.
Post # 13
Fiance and I are in a similar spot, but I think our parents will be easier to work with. We have room for 200, technically, but since the beginning we’ve only wanted 150. We split it up and gave each parent 50, and ourselves 50 and made that clear in the beginning. However, Fiance and I don’t have that many friends, we’re at about 30 now, so we’re willing to add a few (10) for each parent to our list. There’s still the negotiating phase to do, but I think it’ll work.
Post # 14
Guest list was also a huge concern for us. We wanted small, but were not as upfront about that as we should have been. FI’s family was great, only invited their immediate family. My parents wanted to invite the whole world, or so it seemed to me at the time. We were lucky because there was no limit to our venue (ourdoor courtyard) and my parents were gracious to be paying for the wedding. We ultimately invited about 160, but it was an out of state wedding for 90% of the people who we invited. We ended up with exactly 100 people there on the wedding day. I was thrilled it ended up being relatively small, but in retrospect, fighting with my parents over 10-15 people was NOT worth the hassel. Also, there were a handful of our friends who we didn’t invite because we aren’t as close as we used to be, and I sort of regret not inviting them. I think it’s important to maintain perspective (which is impossible to have in the moment of the argument, of course! I was a total hot head at times), and remember that FI’s parents want those people there because they want to share their joy and celebration with people who mean a lot. Depending on if it’s a destination wedding, you might find you have more regrets that you were anticipating. Hang in there- it’s not fun right now, but you have a wonderful wedding (and life!) to look forward to.