(Closed) Guest List problems with MIL- help!

posted 6 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
12974 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

Tell her “unfortunantely, we can only invite X guests from your side.  We divided the numbers and this is the number we can allot to you.  Please let me know which of the following people you would like invited.  We’re sorry we can’t accomodate everyone, but the venue has a capacity that we can’t exceed.”

Post # 4
1243 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2010

@abbie017:  Agree.

I would also ask your Fiance to do this.  He should handle the issues coming from his side so that you don’t seem like the bad guy.  This is a joint decision.


Post # 5
962 posts
Busy bee

OMG I am going through the same exact thing. Seriously- I could have written your post word for word. Do what they told you to do in DARE- “just say ‘no’!” Of course, this is easier said then done. Also, have your Fiance talk to her. Depending on the relationship, you may not want to be the one to lay down the law. Let that come from her precious baby boy rather than from you.

Post # 6
1747 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

I think the message has to come through that you actually can not afford her 35 additional guests. If she wants those guests, she has to pay for their heads as soon as all the RSVP’s are in.

If you give her that option, she’ll either narrow down the list to keep her costs low, or not give as much for the gift. Although that sucks, it is what it is.

It’s better to have a quiet Mother-In-Law than an additional x amount of dollars in your gift.

But that’s just my opinion.

Post # 7
60 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

I agree. It’s your wedding and you are paying for it, so what you say goes. Does she know that you are paying for it yourself? 

I was lucky. We paid for our wedding and his family kept their list incredibly small. My parents volunteered to pay for their friends and family. Good luck! 

Post # 8
2699 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2012


Totally agree. She can add as many as she likes, but unless they’re willing to sit on top of one another, they all can’t come. Make that clear as day to her. You don’t have to feel bad….she has to be reasonable. Don’t leave your friends/family out to accommodate her….it’s your wedding and you are paying for it.

Post # 9
707 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

Oh man, we are also going through the same thing. We went to dinner with FI’s parents not too long ago and I mentioned something about our guest list and Future Mother-In-Law said she needed to talk to me about it. She had been at some family gathering and mentioned her son getting married (which I know she is excited about, but needs to not talk about it!) and some distant cousin said “oh we’ll be there!” adding about 6 more people to her list of 62. Her list makes up nearly half. We REALLY don’t want to have more than 150 and I can’t get real excited about inviting and paying so much money for people that Fiance and I have never even met, just so she doesn’t hurt anyone’s feelings. The money situation with us is exactly like yours.

I agree with PPs who say have your Fiance explain that each side of the family has an alloted number of guests they can invite. I brought up Future Mother-In-Law wanting to invite more people to Fiance later and he said “that’s not happening,” so I hope he is planning on doing the same with his mother.

Post # 10
4194 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: July 2012 - Baltimore Museum of Industry

@abbie017: perfect!

Each our of family gets 25 people to invite, and Fiance and I are inviting 40. We did save the dates, we have B-lists, and we’re not over-inviting (seen too many rsvp horror stories on here.). I’m only inviting one of my twelve cousins, which I have reminded Future Mother-In-Law a few times (her first invite list had 42 people.)

Since you’re in control of the guest list, you’re sending out the invites. If your in-laws really want to celebrate your marriage with these people, they can host a no-gifts post-wedding reception at their house at a future date.

It may take a while to sink in, but you and Fiance need to be firm, and it works better as a team, vs. “the bride is being unreasonable.”

Post # 11
12 posts
  • Wedding: April 2013

I thought I was reading my own story for a minute….

Our venue only fits 200. My family is 85 alone! That is only aunts, uncles, cousins, grandma and cousins’ children. His family is around 45 total. Past that, I think the list should be our bridal party, OUR friends (mutual and separate), THEN we can talk about more guests! 

The list is already at 218. My parents are not having 1 friend there. His mom has cried and complained to him multiple times. By The Way: When I say “the list”, I should be clear – I played around on a free website to make it, just to get an idea. And she knows this. Did I mention this is his second wedding?

Her ever-so-thoughtful suggestions have included: the “young people” -aka our friends- can sit outside in a tent. That we can fit more people by having them sit in the bar area (in a separate room).

How does she get these ideas you ask? Oh, she went to the venue, on her own, and snuck in. Yep….

We are weeks away from having a stern guest list talk with her (she asked him if I could sit out the first chat, then be in on the second one – normal? lol). Good luck to you! I’ll take some advice if you figure anything out! 🙂

Post # 12
705 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

She’s not paying so she can’t really make demands like that.  Be as kind as you can be and don’t argue.  Just say that there is a limited amount of space available and so you are sorry but you cannot accomodate her guest list.  Send her back the list of people she wants invited and tell her that she may choose a certain number that you and Fiance decide that you can easily accomodate (i.e. not knocking off your friends and family members to make room for her strangers) for the invite list–I’m thinking the same amount as your parents–3-4 couples or 6-8 TOTAL PEOPLE.  If she refuses to choose, then you will assume that she doesn’t care and you will include only the people that you know.  Do it together and don’t back down.  This is your money and your wedding, you don’t want total strangers all over the place while the people you know and love have to miss this.

Post # 13
873 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

I would be very upset by this also. One of the reasons I want to have an intimate wedding is because I want to know everyone at my party. I would hate to see a table(s) full of people I don’t even know. I think it’s just weird.

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