(Closed) How many guests should each side “get”?

posted 10 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
938 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

I think it really depends.  How many guests do you want to invite total? how many family members does the bride have? how many does the groom have?  there are so many factors to be considered.  like if you have a huge family and he has a tiny family or vice versa, then no, they shouldn’t be split 50/50.  People can’t help how big their families are.  Personally, I think what seems the most fair is to figure out all the family you want there, subtract that number from the total number of guests.  Then split that number up between you and your groom and thats how many “extra” invites for friends/coworkers and such.  

For example, if you’re guest list max is 150.  And all your family and his family comes out to 100 people, then you have 50 spots left, so 25 for each side.  I don’t know if that will work out for you, but it’s a suggestion.


Post # 4
1006 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

We gave automatic invites to our family and then split the rest up about evenly between my fiance and I. He has more family than I do so he technically got more invites but I think it worked out well.

Post # 5
1941 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I don’t think we’re following that rule at all! We’re inviting a lot of his 120 immediate family members (yeah…. aunts uncles cousins and their kids, sheesh!) and only about 10 out of my side will even be able to make it (long distance, etc). The rest are friends.

Post # 6
701 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2004

we went with who we really wanted to be present at our day! and just invite from there. i have invited mum and dad, my brother and sister and their families, my grand parents, all my aunties and uncles, and cousins and my friends. he only has his parents, sisters and brothers and neices and nefiews, and his close friends and STILL he has more ppl than me lol.he has a massive amount of family, and because he is a little older than me all his friends have kids, who are invited (uncontrolled eye twitch),  and that means he will have more guests then me! so to make it look not so lop sided with the ceremony we are going to have a chalk board that says, Dont choose a side, just a seat.. or somthing like that.. but i dont think it really matters how many ppl you each get just as long as you both get the ppl who you want there, because it is about the celebration of your marriage. good luck with your guest list btw.. it just seams to burst out of control!

Post # 7
1692 posts
Bumble bee

I’ve been wanting to talk about this for some time. I read so many posts from brides who are struggling with their mother, or their mother-in-law (and now fathers and fathers-in-law!) refusing to stick to “their share”, or sending out extra invitations, and so on. And then, there are all the problems of not knowing the names of all the people invited because someone has used “and Family” or “and Guest”, and of not knowing the right addresses and having to send the invitations in care of someone whose address you do know. It all becomes quite  acrimonious and untidy. And like so many issues, you have to compromise or scramble on something that is really insoluable, that would have been much simpler had it been handled properly in advance.

So. Right now (preferably while you are still a waiting bee, or even a day-dreaming-while-waiting-for-Mr-Right bee) start keeping a good visiting-book; listing all the social names complete with title and preferred form, personal phone number, personal email, and home address, of everyone you know socially.

Then, when you announce your engagement and decide on which female member of your family will be the reception hostess, that hostess picks up her visiting book, and begins a series of visits with the female guests of honour. Assuming that you are the hostess, those visits would be with your mother and your future mother-in-law. In complicated families they would also be with the relevant step-mothers, or what-have-you. Plan to spend about an hour with each one, going through your visiting books together. The idea is to add, to YOUR visiting book, the information about everyone who is going to be one of your connections in your new adult married life. Make notes about how everyone is related, even sketch little family-tree pictures if necessary. Don’t forget to ask about titles, spouses’ names, live-in boyfriends and girlfriends, engagement status, and children’s names and custody arrangements.

When you are done, you will have a master-list of everyone that could be invited to a wedding if you had infinite budget and a venue the size of a football stadium. THEN you and your fiance sit down to talk about wedding logistics, the length of your guestlist, and what that means for your choices of venues. You make your initial decisions about the kind of wedding you want, from a well-informed position knowing who you will thereby be including and excluding. YOU compile the guestlist — fairly, including or excluding second-cousins from both sides equally, including parents’ business partners if they are at least as close as the relatives you are including, making similar cuts to your own friends’ list recognizing that your own friends are perhaps a little more likely to make the “as close as family” cut than are your parents’ friends.

And then you, as hostess, send all of the invitations to all of your guests, based on your master-list visiting book and the decisions your fiance and you have made together.

Post # 8
11 posts
  • Wedding: March 2012

WOW! I feel overwhelmed for all of you brides out there with the guest lists…. I thought I was stressing and now I feel pretty silly about it.  

I decided to pay for our wedding so that no one could put any suggestions into our wedding and I’ve limited the guest list to 30 only.  FH has 8 relatives and I’ve cut mine to 5 (I even cut my only Aunt) so we can have majority of friends on our special day.  

In laws asked and asked for over a year if we would let them help out and I repeatedly said no thank you because I said that all the decisions would be ours and ours alone.  They asked again after saying that they helped with my future sister in laws wedding and I said ok (knowing that all the stuff has been paid for already)…. hints were made about family that were invited to the sis in laws wedding but I said that my family had been cut and due to the guest list being already sorted – who they wanted was not going to happen. 

Felt a twinge of being hard but then I thought why…. people say how they wanted more friends instead of family they never see and I’m the type of person to do what I want and rely on no-one so thats what is happening.  FH is happy with our decisions and I’ll take the brunt of the complaints if they want to take it up with me.

Post # 9
5785 posts
Bee Keeper

When my generation was planning their weddings, most of the guests invited seemed to be family and friends of the parents with limited friends of the bride and groom. We had a small wedding of 65, and of that amount we had 6 sets of close friends we invited.

In recent years, tho, that has almost completely changed, and the friends list seems to be taking over the amount of family invited. For each of our daughters’ weddings, we invited just 2 couples who were long time friends. Our financial contributions to both weddings was substantial (covering 95%), but we had no say in how the money was spent, as it was our gift to them to do with as they wished. Anything they wanted above and beyond that amount they paid themselves. In essence, because we provided the funds was irrelevant, as we also placed no ‘strings’ on the planning.

I had each couple sit down and make a guest list seperately, and then we went over the lists together. One of my SIL’s plans was to include some family friends of his Mother’s and to also include all their married children. He hadn’t seen them in several years and it had been longer than that that he’d seen their children, so once that group was added up and they realized it was almost 30 people, they decided not to include them. The point is, that once you make an initial guest list, it will be revised and rewritten many times once you’ve decided on the budget, style and overall type of wedding you both want. Lots of eliminations will happen during the intial planning phase once you think it through.

I do believe, tho, that the people who are paying for it will probably expect to have the larger guest list, but this is something that everyone should decide together.

Post # 10
6065 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: January 2012

This should be decided on a case by case basis.

Which side has a bigger immediate/extended family? Do you share most of the same circle of friends? Does one person have more pressure than the other to invite work associates?

I think it would be unfortunate and ungracious for the bride’s family to dominate the guest list in an extreme way. Whoever offers to pay for the wedding, is offering to pay for the COUPLE’s wedding, not just the bride’s.

Post # 11
5147 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

In my opinion, the guest list isn’t “his side” and “her side”, the “the couple’s guests, TOGETHER”.

My husband has a huge family. My family is small and scattered all over the countries (and even some out of the country). We invited about 100 people. The breakdown was ~15 were my family, ~65 were his family, and ~30 were friends of one or both of us.

Post # 12
1036 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

View original reply
@abbyful: I agree with this completely.  My Fiance and I built the list togheter (well I actually sat down and built it, and then he went through it letting me know if I forgot anyone).  We have been together for over a decade though, so we really don’t have any his or hers anymore; they are our friends, and our family (no matter which side) by this point.

The suggestion of putting all family on the list and then deciding the remaining number in half seems fair.  But I would say if you don’t use your allotment, you can then just work together to figure out the remaining seats, or trim the list altogether those extras.

Post # 13
334 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

We didn’t have too much discussion surrounding our guest list. Inviting our aunts/uncles and first cousins was no question. Inviting our closest friends was no question. Inviting a few of our parents closest friends was no question.

Which landed us at 114 people including a bunch of kids/babies. 

Our venue can hold a max of 140, so it’s ideal. I am debating whether to extend some invites to other family friends, but cost is something I have to keep in mind.

Post # 14
328 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

Agree, you should sit down with your Fiance and discuss. My Fiance and I just made our own lists, combined them, and then looked to see how many people we had invited. We made A-list and B-lists. After looking at our budget, we were able to move some people from the B-list to the A-list. Our families are approx. the same size, but he has a lot more friends than I do, so it’s a bit lopsided….but it’s okay.

My parents told me they went to a wedding where the bride’s side paid for the whole thing. They “gave” the groom’s side 1 table…that’s right, ONE. A total of 10 people, including his parents! I thought that was terrible and really inconsiderate! I also know that the bride’s family was LOADED, so it made it even worse! It seems like it was made out of spite and $$ issues and not about bringing two families together.

Post # 15
968 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

DH’s family did not contribute towards the wedding (due to lack of financial ability, which is perfectly fine).

But whether they contributed or not, there were only SIX family members that were able to come on DH’s side, and one coworker (with his wife).

Most of the guestlist was made up of my family and som friends.

So out of the ~80 people we had at the wedding, 6 of those were from DH’s side.

It’s just the way it worked out given our circumstances. I tried to keep my side down as best I could (I have a lot of family) so as not to overwhelm his side. Everything ended up working out well and we all had a really good time, despite the unevenness of the guestlist.

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