(Closed) How do you limit your wedding guest list without hurting feelings?

posted 6 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 2
Member
5304 posts
Bee Keeper

I would make the guest list before setting the venue/ cost of reception meal etc. This way you’ll find out what’s do-able on your budget without having to make cuts that will cause hard feelings. for example- if you rent a fairly intimate venue with a cap of 80 and choose a menu/ cost per plate based on this-  then go to make your guest list and it’s 120, you’re faced with cutting out a significant number of people and that’s bound to cause some hurt feelings. I’d much prefer to make the guest list first, not exclude people, then choose the venue and plan the reception based on this number and my budget. 

Post # 3
Member
1140 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

My SO and I have actually talked about this in depth. We are not engaged but it is coming very shortly.  His dad’s family is HUGE. Inviting aunts/uncles/first cousins and their married/engaged/cohabitating significant others would add about 55 people to any guest list and they are local to where we live.  His parents did not contribute to his first wedding (did host the rehearsal dinner, though) and my parents did not contribute to my sister’s wedding – so we expect that any wedding costs are entirely on us.  We did the math and realized that even at the LEAST expensive venue around, if we invited our families, closest friends, and the 55 from his dad’s family the venue and catering costs alone would run $16,000 for dinner and open bar.  That is completely ignoring my aunts/uncles/first cousins and their spouses on my dad’s side which would result in another 45-50 people. So, we made the decision that we would do immediate family and close friends – 50-60 people max.  We made a list and 90% of these people have known us for at least 10 years.  We have discussed it with our families and they are both fine with the idea.  It does mean we are not inviting my SO’s godmother as she is also his aunt.  We feel that we can’t pick and choose from relations who are at the same “level” but rather need to either include all or none.  

  • This reply was modified 5 years, 9 months ago by Whirlwind03.
Post # 5
Member
1140 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

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Mlim:  We have made the decision to invite all of a circle or none of a circle for the most part.  The one exception is that he has two people he shares office space with.  Then there are a few other people he knows through one of the people he shares office space with. We are only inviting the peopel he actually shares office space with.  They are all professional acquaintances, though, and do not spend time together outside business events.

Post # 6
Member
246 posts
Helper bee

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Mlim:  My Fiance has this situation. He has a group of like 20 guys from high school that talk every day, all day on an email thread (mostly about sports). Because they all keep in touch but he’s only really close with maybe like 10 of them, and good aquaintances with maybe 5 more, it was weird when we had to make our list. Also, we see all of them at weddings and parties, but some of them we ONLY see at those events of mutual friends and my Fiance doesn’t individually talk to the guys for anything. We didn’t invite them.

My philosphy was “is it weirder/more awkward to invite them, or to not invite them?” Honestly with those people it would be weirder to invite them because we have no association with them outside those few social events, and even then it’s just saying hi. I don’t think they thought they would be invited and would have been pretty surprised if they were. We don’t dislike each other, it just isn’t on that level, for whatever reason.

Post # 7
Member
2343 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: December 2016

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Mlim:  We aren’t inviting our whole wider group of friends – there are literally 6 or 7 people who we decided to leave off our guest list, versus the 20+ friends that we have decided to invite (this number includes SOs). The 6 or 7 who aren’t invited are people we never see – we know that they hang out with others in the group who are invited on a regular basis, but a few of them we haven’t seen in close to 2 years, so we felt it just wasn’t necessary to invite them. We’ve seen 2 of these people since getting engaged and holding our engagement party – they both said congratulations, asked how planning was going and wished us all the best. They seemed to get that they weren’t invited and didn’t seem all that hurt about it (at least, if they are, it hasn’t gotten back to us).

This last weekend, I attended a friend’s wedding that neither of my best friends were invited to – even though we’re all in the same social circle. My besties never hang out with this girl outside of wider group events, and they never expected to be invited.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with only inviting those friends you are close with. At the end of the day, people realise that you can’t invite absolutely everyone.

Post # 8
Member
3170 posts
Sugar bee

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Mlim:  We are struggling with this ourselves. We were at a party Saturday night where a person we were not planning to invite straight up asked my Fiance if he was invited. My Fiance said he gave a non-commital answer and that it was a horribly awkward conversation in general. We didn’t want to invite him because there is an open bar and he has issues controlling his alcohol intake and his behavior when drunk, but now we feel guilty because he apparently asked mutual friends about it as well and wanted to put it on his calendar and stuff. Ugh we will probably just invite him.

There are a couple other people who I know are going to feel slighted that they are not invited, even though we they are just acquaintances and not friends – more so because other people from the same general social circle, who are our actual friends, will be invited and they don’t want to miss out on the fun. Oh well, I feel like those people can deal.

Post # 9
Member
3791 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

You have to tell yourself that ultimately you will probably have to make tough choices.  Don’t feel like you have to invite everyone…and honestly people get it and they understand when they don’t get an invite to your wedding.  I cut a good number of friends off of my guest list.  Obviously my close friends were invited but those who I see once every blue moon?  Nope.  You can’t please everyone, you really can’t.  If you’re close with your whole family you can’t just invite certain people and not others, you would have to invite them all.  It’s a balance and ultimately you just have to keep on reminding yourself that you are the one who makes the final decision.  If you can’t afford to feed and entertain 275 people, don’t invite 275 people.  It can be a tough choice but at the end of the day it’s YOUR choice.

Post # 10
Member
2722 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2017

I’m not engaged yet but my boyfriend and I recently had this conversation as he already has a venue in mind.

Depending on how close you are to family and friends, I think sometimes you cannot avoid hurt feelings.  What most of my friends did is start with the guest list and they had the “must haves” and the “would like to have if budget allows” lists.  It sounds kind of mean, but unless you have unlimited funds, you have to make cuts somewhere.  Then they decided with their budget what portion they wanted to spend on the reception, which for my friends was the majority of the budget.  Open bar receptions are the norm around here to that was taken into account as well.  Then they started searching venues and compared prices.  The deciding factor is usually a combination of all the above plus what dates the venue had available.

I think most people understand you cannot invite everyone.

Post # 11
Member
427 posts
Helper bee

If I was in your shoes I would have the wedding I could afford with the family, maybe a brunch wedding, then have a huge house party celebration type thing with all the friends… we could only afford 50 people lol so we definitly had to make cuts

Post # 12
Member
1156 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

For us it wasn’t that hard and I’m not sure why it wasn’t. We invited 50 – immediate family, close friends, aunt/uncles. No children and no cousins. We had our ceremony in a historic chapel and our reception in the private room of an upscale restaurant. We still had live music, open bar, delicious food, etc. It was amazing and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. DH and I also paid for the wedding ourselves – if we hadn’t it would have been a 200+ wedding b/c of DH’s culture. Intimate doesn’t always mean inexpensive. We spent 15k for 45 guests. 

It just depends on what you want and how you envision the day. When people asked about the wedding my parents or I would say that we were keeping it very small and intimate – most people understood. 

Post # 14
Member
539 posts
Busy bee

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Mlim:  i try to limit the wedding talk with people who aren’t invited, which gets tricky because the people who ask the most tend to be coworkers i love but don’t have room for.  i’ve had 2 people straight out ask me if they were invited. one was, but i still thought it was pretty damn rude. the other is in the coworker category. i told him we were having a small wedding and made a joke about him crashing it. i tell people we’re trying to “keep it small” but frankly it’s all relative. our “small” guest list ballooned into 200 people.

 

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