Post # 1
Hi bees! I wasn’t sure where to put this but I suppose etiquette is my best guess. Here’s the dilemma:
Fiance and I are super broke, and parents are not paying for the wedding. We had always planned to have the wedding in my grandparents’ beautiful backyard still hope to (for aesthetic and money reasons), the problem is that my grandparents have said they are comfortable with around 50 people and we are both from huge families! I added up just my immediate family and aunts and uncles and some cousins (no friends or anything!) and it’s 68 people for just my side…his side is a similar number.
So here’s my question: How devastatingly rude and hurtful would it be to invite some family and not others (for example only the 3/5 of my dad’s siblings that I’m closer to) so that we can have a reasonably sized and priced wedding and still get to invite some friends who are really important to me? Do I send out announcements to those I don’t invite? Make excuses? Or is this just not done and I should go all or nothing with the family?
ANY advice would be so appreciated!!!
Post # 3
As far as I can tell, the general rule is you draw the line evenly. i.e. If invite one cousin, invite them all. If you invite one aunt or uncle, invite them all. Otherwise you risk hurt feelings, especially if you invite one aunt/uncle but not another, from the same family.
Even in my own family I’ve seen different weddings draw the line at different places: We invited all aunts, uncles and cousins (100 person wedding). DH’s older brother invited all aunts and uncles, but no cousins, due to cost (I think he had about 40-50 guests). DH’s younger brother invited no aunts and uncles either. But we all were consistent, so I don’t think there were any hard feelings.
It sounds to me that the best for you is to invite no aunts, uncles and cousins. Would that work? Or are there some who you are particularly close to?
Post # 4
Generally the rule is to invite all or noneofcertain groups. However, I think every situation is different and if you don’t even speak to some of the group, I don’t think you really need to invite them if you’re tight on space. So I’d judge it by your relationships with these people. If you think they’d be offended, you probably should include them.
Post # 5
Oooooooh tough situation. I agree with Paula about how to narrow the guest list. It needs to be evenly divided, to avoid upsetting people. Firstly, you need to write the list of your ‘top 50.’ If there are a few more than 50 in your ‘top 50’ maybe you can negotiate with your Gran. Keep in mind that usually 70% of people come (although that is only an average).
Getting your number below 50 sounds terribly difficult though with large families. Have you looked at alternatives such as having it in a park or somewhere else?
Post # 6
There is no etiquette “rule” that says you have to invite based on level. The only thing etiquette says about who must be invited, is that social units must be invited together.
Level of closeness is just as valid as where people fall on the family tree.
That said, though you can invite whomever you like and be completely polite, it doesn’t mean that no ones feelings will be hurt.
Personally, I invited 1 of 2 of each of my parent’s siblings. And only 1 set of 4 cousins. The others I hadn’t seen in 7 years, and honestly I don’t really know.
Post # 7
I think that inviting some aunts/uncles/cousins and not others will be hurtful to those who are not invited. I get that this is really hard, but could you imagine your sibling being invited to a family wedding and you aren’t?
Could you talk to your grandparents about their space concerns? If it’s outdoors, is there space enough to get portapotties (as long as you get enough and the nice ones, it wouldn’t be terrible) and keep everything outside so no one goes in the house?
Post # 8
If you aren’t particularly close to certain people, you are not obligated to invte them to your wedding simply because they are relatives.
I invited all of my aunts and uncles, but only about 1/2 of my cousins – I barely know several of them! Did I hurt feelings? I don’t think so… nobody has said anything to either of my parents or my grandmother. But I knew there was a risk that people would feel left out and I was prepared to tell anyone who asked “Thank you so much for your support, it means an awful lot to know that you are so excited for us. Unfortunately our wedding will be small, and we haven’t been able to invite everyone.” – I only had to tell this to coworkers though; my family seemed to have “got it.”
Be polite and kind (and don’t talk about your wedding with/in-front-of people who aren’t invited) and most people should be fine with your choices.
You certainly may send out wedding announcements, they’re often appreciated and seen as a sign that you didn’t “forget” the people who weren’t invited. But these are sent AFTER your wedding. (The day after, if possible. Have your Maid/Matron of Honor drop them in the mailbox if you’re going to be traveling.) Anything sent before the wedding can be misconstrued as an invitation. It’s also kind of bragging about a party that you’re going to be throwing, but not inviting everyone to attend.
Post # 9
thanks for all of your replies! There are definitely some aunts and uncles who I am closer to, and others I haven’t spoken to in upwards of 10 years! I don’t think that changing the venue is an option, and inviting more people on the assumption that people could be kept 100% outside leaves us with no rain plan (for summer in the south, not a good idea!) and the added expense of bathrooms.
My gut feeling is to just rip the bandaid, so to speak, and be as kind as possible about only inviting the people who I feel really strongly about having at my wedding and deal with the hurt feelings that will inevitably come from that 🙁
Post # 10
I don’t think you can invite some guests from certain groups (aunts, uncles, and cousins, for example), while not also inviting others of the same relationship to you from that same side of the family, regardless of how close you may or may not be to some of those individuals.
I invited all of my aunts, uncles and first cousins and their spouses and any minor children still living at home with them. However, DH only chose to invite his aunts and uncles and no cousins, because his immediate family (his four siblings and their children) is so huge.
Post # 11
Don’t beat yourself up about it! Invite the people who are closest to you and be unapologetic about it. If asked just tell people that you’re having a small wedding and that you had to make some hard choices. If all the people you feel strongly about having are there, it will be an amazing day!
Post # 12
I say if you haven’t spoken to someone in 10 years, regardless of where they lie in your family, you don’t need to invite them.
Post # 13
Are you having your reception there too? I’m having my wedding ceremony outdoors in my parents’ backyard but having the reception at a nearby hotel. Maybe you can have yours at a nearby hotel/banquet hall. Because we are having our wedding on a holiday weekend, we anitipate approx. 60 guests to show. We are inviting approx. 90 guests. I agree with Neetch embrace the small guest list. Also don’t expect everyone you invite to show…. But that doesn’t mean go crazy with inviting everyone. I would say expect 20% (at the most) to decline.