(Closed) How to narrow down huge family?

posted 9 years ago in Family
Post # 3
7039 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2010

I would exclude children under a certain age, and then start by cutting cousins you aren’t very close with (or second counsins and beyond, if you’ve included those). 100 people may not be doable if you want to have friends and not just family at a wedding when your family is that large.

Post # 4
547 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

I have many first cousins also and a very small budget with only 80-90 people for our entire wedding. I hand selected only my closest first cousins to invite. I did however, invite all my parents’ siblings. Also, no children are invited other than my own or my siblings’ kids (who are mostly all over 13 anyway).


Good luck.

Post # 5
397 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

I am like you with the big family.. unfortunately, Fiance had a fairly large family to.. The differene was that I was SUPER close with all my aunts/uncles and cousins.. He sees his once every 3-4 years (keep in mind, mine live within an hour or two drive of us.. his live on the west coast, we are on the east coast). I had no doubt that I wanted all my aunts/uncles and cousins there but I just felt like it was wrong to invite all my family and not his… We have budget/venue restrictions that made up keep our guests under 150). We ended up inviting EVERYONE which came to right around 200 invites.. We had a feeling a lot would not be able to come because of prices to fly out and we were right.. Not one of his aunts/uncles from the west coast is coming and our total head count actually came to 120.. Remember you will always have people that say no (especially when traveling is involved). So I invited them all, looked polite and like I wanted them to come, but luckily they cant (and my aunts/uncles/cousins can without it looking rude).

If you feel like you can’t invite them all (because they will likely all show up) then you have to make SOME kind of rule.. I feel like its kinda wrong to invite SOME aunts/uncles/cousins and not all….If you have a lot of kids/babies you could made an age rule (we did not allow children under 12 EXCEPT my niece/nephew who are in the wedding). Maybe limit it to ALL first cousins, and aunts/uncles but not great aunts/uncles. Most people will understand if you can’t have everyone but they are not going to understand if you invite Cousin X but not Cousin Y (especially if this is the same side of the family.. you may get away with it if you invite your cousin but not his because they won’t know).

Post # 6
5360 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2015

Ugh. I’m in the same boat. SO has 30 people max he needs to/wants to invite. Meanwhile, my family is 150+… like, I’m talking 150 people I see on more than just holidays. 150 people I love and am very close to. Yeah. Sucks. Of course, it could have been worse. I’m not inviting any of my maternal grandfather’s family because I’m not close to most of them, even though I see them about once a year. From my dad’s side I’m only inviting his siblings, their kids & grandkids. None of dad’s cousins will be invited. Honestly, the only reason I’m able to get away with these cuts is because mom died 3 years ago (she would have make me invite grandpa’s siblings) and none of dad’s cousins came to the funeral (so he doesn’t feel obligated to invite them to anything). 

I guess that’s all to say… good luck. I hope you fare better than I did.

Post # 7
600 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

I have a gigantic family! My sister’s wedding was 400+ people. We narrowed the guest list down by only inviting a small handful of my friends, no friends on my parents’ side, no children of friends or distant relatives for boths sides, and only first cousins. Good luck! It was a very stressful part of wedding planning trying to keep the guest list count in check!

I do think if you’re inviting Aunts and Uncles, you need to invite them all. If he/she is not close to you, they may decline. Better that than to not be invited at all, as that shows you are being selective with your guest list and may result in some unhappy relatives.

Post # 8
59 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

I know how you feel!! Although it is my Fiance family who is HUGE! His family alone is about 150+ guests, and the worst part is that he knows they all and probably talks to most of them on a regular basis AND they I would say MOST live within a few hours of our area :/ So we really do not see how we could not invite everyone without causing issues (and I’m already not liked so much and I could see it coming back on me…sigh…).  So basically our guest list is about 250 people (mostly his), maybe about 50 of friends, and about 50 of my family….  Sorry I couldn’t help you, but I understand the frustration. I’m just hoping some won’t come (all my family is out of state), or there will not be as many kids…

Post # 9
875 posts
Busy bee

I won’t have this problem when the time comes, but I think it really depends. If you want to be on the safe side, I’d invite all of your aunts and uncles, as well as first cousins above a certain age. If your cousins have kids, they should definitely be left off if you’re trying to limit your guest list.

Honestly, even inviting all of my aunts and uncles seems odd to me. Out of my parents’ combined total of six siblings, my family only speaks to one, my aunt. But that’s an unusual situation; my mom is estranged from her brothers, and my dad has nothing in common with any of his siblings barring my aunt (his brothers weren’t raised in the same household because they were 18+ years older, and one didn’t even live in the same country). Add in the fact that my aunt never had children, and you have family gatherings over the holidays with under a dozen people.

Post # 10
90 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

I am one of 8 children, of those only 1 does not have a SO and I have 18 cousins (all of which are married/engaged.  I also am trying to keep down the number of guests (100 or less).  We decided to invite only the local cousins (the ones I really grew up with) and their siblings if they are no longer local.  Unfortunatly, that did mean that I had to do some picking and choosing.  While I feel horible about it, my Fiance and I could not afford to have a wedding large enough to have my family, his family and a few friends. 


As for the bridal party (2 sisters, 1 SIL, 1 DD, and 2 BFF’s)  I just couldn’t choose, I love them all!

Post # 11
1966 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

I would incliude only the ones you’re close to. Do you know by heart all of their names and who are they married to an children’s names? that should be a good indicator

Post # 12
6593 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL

@bride2be831:  Do immediate family only (i.e. parents, grandparents, and your siblings only.)  You can see everyone else at the family reunion.  Let grandma know in a polite manner that while you understand her desire to share your special day with everyone she loves, it’s just not financially or logistically feasible.  Then DO NOT BUDGE!!!

As for your bridal party you can always save yourself the trouble and not have a bridal party at all.  If that is not an option then sit down and write down all of the ladies you want to include.  Bear in mind that the less BMs you have, the less stress you will have from them (look up the massive number of Bees that complain about their BMs’ bad behavior.)  I would cut the list at 3 or 4 based on the size of your wedding and make the necessary cuts.  Just because somebody expects to be a Bridesmaid or Best Man doesn’t me she automatically gets it.  Choose the people you will want to look at in 20 years.  Choose the people that you know you get along with the best and that will provide the support you need during the stress of planning a wedding.  They are not your accessories and they are not to be treated as workhorses either.  I would say to pick the best friends for BMs and find something else for your sisters to do because you definitely cannot divide your sisters up without hurting some feelings.

Post # 14
34 posts
  • Wedding: May 2013 - Hotel Nelligan in Montreal, CA

@bride2be831:  Congrats on your engagement and first post on a wedding site!  I too am simialr to you–planning a destination wedding, only wanting 100 or soe guests and having a ginormous family on my side (while Mr. Mongoose’s family is tiny).  We decided 1) no guests under 18 2) no +1 unless the person coming doesn’t know a single other person 3) I only invited the cousins I was super close to and gave my parents a set number of family members they could invite.

All in all, the invite list ended up being 145 and we have 120 people who are actually coming (I’m still two months out til the wedding so I heard people tend to drop out as you get closer to the date, whether or not it’s a destination).

What I will say though is that the invite list definitely caused drama with some family members–actually mainly just one very distant cousin who I only see once a year (figures the people who never call/text/facebook message you are the ones who get the most upset over not getting invited).  So my advice–stick to your guns but be prepared for some people to potentially get very offended over not getting invite.  But since me and my fiance are mostly paying for the wedding ourselves, I could care less.  We only want to celebrate our big day with people that we are close to.  Period!  Don’t stress about it too much, it’ll all work out 🙂

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