Post # 1
Basically my parents are incredibly generous and have offerred to foot the bill for the wedding. The problem is that they are very social people and are active in church, their club, their condo community, and just generally have a lot of friends and extended family that they consider close or see regularly.
I feel like my mother is treating my wedding like its her Christmas party. She is pushing hard for us to get married literally in our town in case people she wants to invite are unwilling to make a 30-45 minute drive. IMO, any of her friends unwilling to do that are probably not good enough friends to invite to our wedding. I made a list of friends and family that I know personally or that I know are very close long-time friends and it is already about a third of our target numbers for our wedding… and I get the sense that she wants to invite more than that (and yet agrees that our target numbers are already “large”).
We’ve only been engaged about two weeks and this was our first wedding planning related dicussion, so perhaps she just hasn’t realized yet how quickly numbers add up.
Anyone with experience about how to moderate parent’s expectations while being sensititive to their financial support? I know and love a good number of their friends and our extended family but I feel like anyone I can’t name really shouldn’t be invited to my wedding…
Post # 2
They probably do see this as a very important social event that they are hosting. It’s your wedding, but if they’re paying for it, they can invite who they want. If they’re inviting people you hate, I could see trying to veto that. But if it’s just that you don’t know them that well, to me that’s not a good enough reason to try to argue. If you want control of the guest list, the way to do that is to gracefully decline their generous offer to host.
Post # 3
Reality may set in when you start to speak to venues and caterers and get some firm pricing on how much it will cost to accommodate a large number of guest. If, after seeing numbers, your mother still wants to invite a large amount of her friends, you should probaly let her. Traditionally, it’s not uncommon to have large numbers of your parents friends that you barely know at your wedding. It’s increasingly uncommon now, but it’s still not unheard of. My best friend’s dad is inviting a bunch of his work friends to her wedding.
Post # 4
So in that case what percentage of the guest list would you say is appropriate for them to dictate? What about friends and family of my fiance? Do we not split the guest list 50-50? I feel like there should be a balance, no?
To be clear, I am not against them inviting a significant number of friends and family, just trying to get an idea of what portion of the guest list is “standard” under these circumstances. I just don’t really think that my parent’s yacht club friends who she predicts would find it a burden to travel more than 15 minutes to attend my wedding should displace my close friends or guests of my fiance, no?
Post # 5
To be clear, I’m not trying to say my parents can’t invite friends. I made a preliminary list. If my fiance and I each invite 100 guests we think we will end up with about 175 people at our wedding.
I listed 34 guests for must have close friends/bridesmaids and their partners (I would like to invite a few more if possible but the tradeoff will have to come from family and my parent’s friends)
I listed 30 family members
and listed 36 friends of my parents that I could name and figured they might want to invite
Most of these people are out of town already. So I am concerned that my parents want to invite significantly more than this and yet do not want a larger wedding!
Post # 6
Ouch, that is a pickle… But technically, it’s their money so it’s essentially their wedding. They can dictate who is invited as they wish, because they’re paying for everything. If they want to invite their friends and uninvite some of yours, they can do that. That’s the price of depending financially on others.
There isn’t really a certain percentage that is standard as far as the guest list goes, so unfortunately you don’t have etiquette to back you up here. Just gotta suck it up and let them do what they want, or find another way to pay for the event.
Post # 7
I think you need to have a discussion with them. Tell them their support is so appreciated and you understand that they’re hosting the event, but you’d like to get clarification on how involved they want to be and how the guest list will be decided. It sounds like your mum hasn’t really thought it through if she keep on adding people but doesn’t want it to get any larger. Yes they are paying for it but if that means your friends can’t be there then it is a very double-edged gift. If it can’t work maybe you could each pay half and split it 50/50…
Post # 8
Yikes bee. I’d be backing out right now if I were you. If they are paying you’re kind of at their mercy. It’s their party. You can ask them to invite less people, but then it is up to them. OR you guys can save up and pay yourselves, so you can make all the decisions.
Post # 9
I think this wedding planning process is going to be really painful 🙁 I feel like I am between a rock and a hard place. Unfortunately my fiance and I are both graduate students with student loan debt and can’t afford a wedding on our own without irresponsibly taking on more debt. It’s either accept my parent’s help or elope. I would be fine with eloping but my fiance really wants a wedding and has strong opinions about everything (often at odds with my parents), including the balance of the guest list. He wants to me to establish better boundaries with my parents who has historically been very intrusive and demanding. Tt is the expectation in our socio-economic circle to have a traditional wedding and it would probably be an embarassment to my parents if we were to do anything different.
The engagement glow is wearing off fast 🙁
Post # 10
I agree with PP that a further discussion with your parents is definitely in order to discuss their expectations regarding their control and say in the guest list. It is important to find out just how many people they are wanting to invite, particularly how many you don’t know. They may change their minds once they realise how the costs add up. Yes they technically have control when they’re paying in full, technically and according to PPs.
However, I firmly believe it isn’t their wedding, even if they are paying for it, unless they’re renewing their own vows, which I’m guessing is not the case. You and your Fiance are the ones getting married, it is your wedding. You shouldn’t have to cut close friends for people you can’t even name! That is up to your parents and you however, I know in some families and cultures it is about the parents of the bride and them inviting their friends. I am lucky that my parents, despite saying they would pay for our wedding (FI’s parents have said they’d pay half and Fiance & I will pay what we can) like my grandmother paid for their wedding, it is very much our (mine & FI’s) wedding and about what we want.
Good luck bee!
Post # 11
We invited 102 people to our wedding, zero of them friends of my parents, zero of them friends of his parents. Worked out very well.
Post # 12
well your partner can’t have really strong opinions about a big wedding, be at odds with your parents, accept their money AND tell you to establish boundaries with them. You can eatablish boundaries with your parents and pay for your own wedding or you can accept their money and their wants for a wedding and not establish boundaries with them. I’d make the decision based on the long term, not the short term, so if longer term it’s more important to have the boundaries with your parents established, don’t accept their money to start laying down a new dynamic after you’re married.
So together you need to decide if you want a large wedding with financial support from your parents. That means allowing them some say on how things go. If you both choose this, then I would advise working out your priorities, what is important to you and your partner. I would then sit down with your parents and explain which bits are important and that you’d like to do those bits your way, the rest they can have free reign over. They may disagree, as one of those priorities may be the same as yours and so there will need to be some compromise. By priorities, I mean like three things each, not everything. What are the three things you both care strongly about in this wedding.
If together you decide that you don’t want the input of your parents at all, then you need to scale back. Have a smaller, cheaper wedding. You don’t need to spend a fortune to have a wedding nor do you need to elope just because you can’t have a formal wedding. There are a number of alternatives that can keep costs down. Google is a great help at helping plan an affordable wedding. If you both want a celebration with people you know then I would recommend identifying a savings plan, setting yourselves a budget that wouldn’t drive you into debt and possibly pushing your engagement back to meet the savings budget. A wedding, like everything, its about choosing your priorities based on the situation in front of you.
Post # 13
All good points bees, thank you. Very helpful in general to manage my anxiety over this issue.
I am a little surprised that the consensus seems to be that if my parents are footing the majority of the bill that they have 100% control over the guest list and I assume other wedding decisions. Seems a little antiquated. I feel like an offer to support a son or daughter’s wedding financially should come from love and support and not control. At the end of the day this is our wedding and the day is partly for them too, not the other way around.
If after a follow-up discussion (or two) with them we do not see eye-to-eye on this general premise then we will have to consider what other wedding options are available to us.
I appreciate the afforadable wedding and saving scenario, but like I said we already have substantial student debt and have other more important savings goals (such as kids, house, etc), so a wedding takes a back seat to all that. We also aren’t looking for a two+ year engagement…
Post # 14
I’m in a very similar situation! I have my list of my friends and family and my fiancé’s friends and family who are definitely invited, and since my parents are paying for a significant part of the wedding, then they can invite whomever else they want to (and want to pay for). I’m lucky because I’m not really at risk of hitting the capacity for my venue, so that isn’t an issue. My fiancé and I have about 175 people on our lists (including family, friends and family friends) and if my parents want to add on 50 extra people from their social circle, then so be it…
Post # 15
My mom did the exact same thing, but in my case my destination wedding venue can literally only hold 85 people so that helped deal with the numbers. I will say that she finally stopped pushing so hard when her friend reminded her that a wedding is not necessarily a family reunion, and if that’s what she’s looking for she should have a separate party for that. I said that a million times though and she didn’t hear it. Does your mom have another friend who could maybe help her see that? She’s actually throwing a bridal shower by her and I gave her free reign with that guest list.