(Closed) Guest List Drama – Super Long, Sorry

posted 8 years ago in Emotional
Post # 3
Member
2015 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2009

Is anyone else helping to pay for the wedding? If they are, especially your Future Mother-In-Law, well, sadly you might have to conceed on a few people.

However, if no one else is paying, you guys call ALL the shots.

We had 75 people total at our wedding, but we invited 100. Keep in mind that not everyone who is invited will attend.

But I really think you could stick to your guns on this one. Explain to her that while you  thought you could do it, with the size of your venue and budget, it’s just not feasible, and you can’t make exceptions for her because then you have to for everyone else. Ask her to cute her list down to a number you and your husband agree on, and if she doesn’t like it, too bad.

We had some family members who wanted to invite more people, and we just told them no. Honestly, our venue couldn’t fit that many, and we told them if they came, they’d have to sit outside in the lobby. There were hurt feelings, come small compromises, and in the end, everything worked out just fine.

Chin up! These things always work out!

Post # 4
Member
1566 posts
Bumble bee

Often, parents who are completely flexible and understanding in 90% of your decisions get really passionate about some issue that happens to matter a lot to them. We had  big conflicts over what time to start the wedding and the menu, which I thought was sort of random. The guest list is actually a pretty common issue for parents to care strongly about.

If Future Mother-In-Law is paying, she should be able to have some say in the guest list. If not, are you willing to have the extra people if she does pay for them? (You’re not obligated to, but this might be a solution).

I think that to figure this out, all three of you need to discuss together once you and Fiance have made a decision. If he talks to her separately, she might press him into agreeing with her again, leading to more disagreements between you and him. Or maybe he can write her an email with your decision? That sometimes helps us solve issues with Future Mother-In-Law.

Post # 6
Member
14186 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2009

I’m sorry, but you’re right, your FH needs to be a man, sit down his mom, and lay down the law! Well in a nice way. If everybody is contributing, be prepared for that argument.

And, yes, that is ridiculous about THAT many more cousins. That’s just an obscene number of “extra’ guests just so his mom doesn’t feel bad. It’s not HER job to feel bad—she can always blame it on you guys, right? “oh, my son and FDIL wanted a small wedding, I’m sorry, I don’t have a say in it!”

Post # 7
Member
545 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

Wow, are you me?  We are having the exact same problem! We thought we had it all figured out with the kids issue (FMIL actually suggested no kids), and 6 months later, she turns around and says she thinks all cousins should be invited. That would add 20 people to our 100 maximum guest list.  I was annoyed because in the very beginning of the planning, we told them we can only afford and expect a maximum of  100 guests. No solid conclusion has been drawn, but the latest I heard was that Future Mother-In-Law said in passing that she would foot the extra money; so we are going to hold her to that if we go over 100 people.  If she had not offered, that, I’d be setting my foot down saying no way.  70% of the people on the guest list are from his side, adding 20 more to the mix is just.. not right. lol

Post # 9
Member
5977 posts
Bee Keeper

I definitely had this issue, only it was MY mom who kept adding people to the guest list! At some point, you just need to put your foot down and say, “this is how many people we’re having, and that’s that.” Much easier said than done, but I like the email suggestion. You have to email her about the save the dates anyway, so that would be the perfect time to just slip in there that you can’t accommodate the extra guests. Especially if your Fiance isn’t stepping up to the plate. I would let him know you’re doing it though…just b/c if he finds out by a nasty phone call from his mom, he might be more angry at you!

Post # 10
Member
49 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: September 2010

@goldilocks

You should read my thread in the etiquette board (“their guest list is huge and they aren’t paying for the wedding”)

We want our wedding to be 130 people max, we allotted Future Mother-In-Law 20 guests, she came back with 75 (and we are paying for the reception, they are just paying for their 20 guests).

Now, we were about to sign a catering contract for a buffet on Saturday, and Future Mother-In-Law let us know on Tuesday that is not acceptable (I’m going with Fiance on the weekend to meet with them, but it is more a courtesy thing, because unless they are planning to go 50/50 on everything, then they are SOL with what they want to see).

I anticipate the cousins being the next drama, I also want an adult only reception … and only 2 of FIs cousins are adults, and you can’t invite too and not all. Future Father-In-Law is in agreeance, and what now Future Mother-In-Law is too … but they were also in agreeance with Fiance and I doing the wedding the way we want, and what we can afford, because we are paying for everything (even though Future Father-In-Law is very well off) … but now thats not the case. So I see them coming back and saying “cousins need to be invited” to which I will retort “fine, but you still only have 20 guests … so you choose with 20 of your 75 you want there, and so be it”.

Post # 11
Member
4 posts
Wannabee

oh I feel your pain. I didn’t want to invite any of my cousins who are 18 and under, but that’s 15 out of 19!  Since I’m the oldest cousin, I figured I should set an example and make sure they’re married before kids!!!  (Not that it’s a totally bad thing, my fiance was born out of wed lock 😉 But it was tough on his mom.)

Post # 12
Member
5921 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: December 2010

That’s frustrating! I feel your pain.  Fiance and I are paying for the whole shindig ourselves  – – we were budgeting for about 150 people.

Our initital guest list had around 215.  Not bad – a lot of those are out of town guests, and we could afford a few more.

FI’s mom gave us her list around Thanksgiving, and it had 160 people. 

Yep, this is my life right now!

Post # 13
Member
4 posts
Wannabee

Ahhh, gotta love Future Mother-In-Law and family. 🙂 We’ll get through it!!

Post # 14
Member
6572 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: February 2010

we were having guest list issues too, only it was my mom who wanted to invite everybody. we had all sorts of fights about it, she even called me a bridezilla, all because we had already signed a contract at a venue that only seats so many, and she was there when we signed and agreed to keep it small, but when i asked her to cut the list she was not happy. either way i dealt with her because she’s my mom, as your fi should be dealing with his mom.

Post # 15
Member
59 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

I’m in the opposite situation, as it’s my large extended family who is increasing the guest list.  My dad has 8 brothers and sisters, and I’ve got cousins, cousins’ spouses, and their kids!  I told my parents we wanted to keep it at 100 guests (we were okay with 150 but wanted to give some room there)–their REDUCED guest list was 122!! 

After completely panicking, I talked about it with my fiance and we made some decisions.  First of all, we realized that our concerns with a larger guest list were two-fold: money and our ability to speak with all of our guests.  Then we figured out solutions for both.  We  switched from a sit-down dinner to buffet, which I initially was not thrilled about, but in the process we found the best caterer ever at a fraction of the prices we were originally looking at.  In fact, we will save so much money by switching caterers that we have extra money for other areas.  My parents are also contributing half of our preliminary budget, too.  They also cut their guest list down significantly and agreed that they will host all of the people they know.  We also are working on changing our timeline to allow for more time for us to mingle with our guests.  Logistics-wise, we changed reception venues to accommodate a larger guest list.  Any extras of my parents who can’t fit at the ceremony venue will be reception-only guests. We’re also not sending out save-the-dates to the entire guest list and have made A and B lists–my parents’ non-family guests will be on the B list.   

It’s been a lot of compromise on our part, and my fiance has been really good about this.  I’d just as soon not invite some of my cousins, but at the end of the day, they’re family.  But for me personally, it was about perspective.  My parents’ list was a reflection of how they feel about my upcoming wedding–they’re actually excited and happy and proud.  They wouldn’t want so many of our friends and family to be there to witness our wedding if they didn’t care.  So while yes, it is my and my fiance’s day, we are both really happy that our parents are so happy about the wedding–it’s a good start to our marriage and will make both of our lives much easier in the long run.

All in all though, I think it’s really funny how important the weirdest things are to parents.  Like my mom insists that I have to wear a veil.  Whatever.  It’s for an hour–I can live with that.  His mom is pushing for MY brother to be a groomsman (mind you, she’s never met him) but doesn’t care if fiance’s brother, her other son, is one.   My dad says that we have to hire a professional organist and if that we don’t, he will, because the ceremony music HAS to be great.  And his dad is perfectly happy so long as there is beer at the reception.  But I can deal with all of these weird requests as long as they have minimal to no impact on our budget!!

Bottom line for me was very neutral communication and then instead of taking an our way/their way approach, to come up with something that everyone was happy with.   I told my parents that the guest list number far exceeded the venue’s capacity, told them the potential solutions fiance and I came up with, and then asked them to give me their solutions to the very obvious problem.  They were actually very reasonable about it, and I think part of that was because I didn’t just outright refuse and offered to compromise.  That, and I also gave them very realistic numbers about how much it cost per person and my mom just about had a heart attack–and then she went and talked to her friends’ kids and found out I wasn’t exaggerating.  🙂

Post # 16
Member
6661 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: May 2010

Is there any way you can compromise with her? Maybe give her more information about the figures you are working with and hammer in again the fact that you wanted a small wedding but then meet her somewhere and maybe extend a few more invites?

I am slowly learning that weddings for people with large families are usually more like ‘family’ events than a party for the bride and groom. I can’t tell you how badly I wanted an ‘adults only’ wedding, but after I realized how hurt my siblings would be that their kids couldn’t enjoy the day, I slowly stepped onto the bandwagon. Most people with kids won’t stay that late or let thier kids stay that late anyway.

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