(Closed) Parents' friends attending?

posted 6 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
354 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

There’s no rule (that I know of) saying that it should be 50-50.  In general, I think it’s appropriate and pretty normal for the parents of the bride to invite some of their close friends, and I’m assuming the parents of the groom were asked to do the same (regardless of who is paying for the wedding).  

I would suggest that you avoid justifying it with the “we’re paying for the wedding” line, and instead focus on the role these people played in your daughter’s life.  That way your future son in law will see them not as strangers, but as family friends he just hasn’t met yet, and won’t feel bulldozed by the person holding the purse strings.  

Post # 4
1573 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2009

I personally think parents inviting their own friends as if it’s a big party instead of a special wedding is highly inappropriate. This is the one day that is special to the bride and groom and you should respect the groom’s feelings. Put yourself in his shoes wouldn’t you want people who are special in your guestlist-ths is merely to satisfy your own whim, are these close friends of the bride? are they family? are these people the bride would have included if not then NO; the space you are using are taking up slots for their own close personal  friends who are truly close to the bride or the groom; if the bride loved them I say yes, if they are just your riends and the bride prefers friends closer to them I say no, it not fair to the couple using the I’m-paying-for-this-card you’re setting yourself up for resentment; if I were the son in law I would be resentful


I remember my brother had a similar problem, his future adoptive step-dad wanted to invite all these people they didn’t know well, he was very upset, the step-dad got his wish and paid for the extra guests but it did not honor the couples wishes–so they had about 3o people who they weren’t close to either of them

I think you need to respect the couple; look at the wedding bee boards, half of the guestlist worries and annoyances is  about brides (and groom) in your case with guests they would prefer not to have but are forced because of parents-especially when the parents contribute


I don’t think it is very considerate of the groom’s feelings, your future son-in-law

Post # 6
333 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

I think it’s appropriate for close friends of parents to be invited especially when it’s people who were involved with them their whole lives – like you said attending birthdays and graduation parties.  All of my parents’ friends were at mine.  They are not strangers if they are family friends. 

Post # 7
4803 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

@babu22:  I would suggest that you avoid justifying it with the “we’re paying for the wedding” line, and instead focus on the role these people played in your daughter’s life.  That way your future son in law will see them not as strangers, but as family friends he just hasn’t met yet, and won’t feel bulldozed by the person holding the purse strings.  

This great advice, I highly recommend you listen to it, OP! And try to be somewhat sensitive to the groom here, I’m sure he feels awkward about how so many more people will be there for your daughter than for him. I had to compromise with my parents on inviting their friends – yes, they hosted, but they also understood that it was important to me to have people I felt close to there, I didn’t want people i barely knew and felt no connection to at my wedding. And I know it was hard for my parents that there are some relatives and friends who they were very close to at one point, and still feel a strong connection to, that I just didn’t feel at all close to and had no real desire to have that person at my wedding. We had to compromise on that one. But I suggest you have that conversation with your daughter rather than placing the blame on your soon to be son-in-law, because that’s no way to start a good relationship with him.

Post # 8
3078 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

My Fiance and I have a rule that if one of us can’t look at a person and identify them by name, they’re not invited.

Post # 9
879 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

We are in a similar situation where I have a large family and Fiance has a small one. We’re allowing FI’s parents to invite a few of their friends because our guest list was lopsided and I thought it was only polite to split it more evenly. These friends have watched Fiance grow up too and I don’t mind. I also think his parents will enjoy the wedding more with some friends around. If I did mind, I’m 100% sure his parents would have respected my wishes to not invite them.

In contrast, my parents probably will not invite their friends because we do have too many relatives and already cut many of them as we’re trying to keep our guest list down. Right now it’s looking like 80 for Fiance and 125 for me. Both sides seem happy, although I know my parents ideally would like to invite all our relatives (my sis’s wedding was almost 400 people, mostly our relatives too). We’re paying for 80% of our wedding, with both Future In-Laws and my parents contributing 10% each. Even though you’re paying it is your daughter and your FSIL’s wedding and I think it’d be nice to consider his feelings a bit more too.

Post # 10
3569 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

It really depends. While you are paying it would be nice for you to take both the bride and the grooms thoughts into this. I am still battling out the guest list with my parents. They also have some longtime friends who they like to invite to my wedding while my parents are telling me these people “watched me grow up” I haven’t seen some of them in over ten years.My thinking is the wedding isn’t a reunion of some sorts, and why should they come over someone who actually means something to me? I am probably going to give each set of parents a 3 invites with no question asked to keep the peace.

I do think when accepting money that sometimes the couple has to comprimise more with the person paying but I also would advice causing bad feelings by throwing it in their faces that you are paying.

Post # 11
4192 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: July 2012 - Baltimore Museum of Industry

I’m 40, and both Fiance and my parents contributed to our wedding. However, this is a celebration of OUR marriage, and we are going to be surrounded by people who have supported our relationship, and will continue to.

We originally were aiming for 100 guests, and gave 25 guests to FI’s family, my family, FI’s friends, my friends (FI and I went over.) My Mom ended up inviting more of her friends than family- you know the expression it takes a village to raise a child? My village is coming to the wedding- next door neighbor, friend from church, etc. My “villagers” are strangers to my Fiance, but they are important people to me.

There’s no 50-50 rule, but the guest list does seem to be really off-balance. I think I’d be uncomfortable if my side was only 25% of the wedding. Does you daughter want these guests at the wedding? You didn’t mention in the post what she wants or feels-are you taking that into account?

Post # 12
3625 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

We let our parents invite a few of their friends, but they ran the list of potential invites past us before officially asking these people for their addresses. Similar to your situation, they have watched us grow up and we have frequently interacted with them in the past few years. I think it is acceptable for parents to have a few of their friends attend, especially if there aren’t a lot of family members attending as this gives them people to hang out with and talk to. However, I think the important thing here is that we, the couple, know these people well and can actually recognize them and address them by name. Neither sets of parents are inviting people that may have been at parties but we barely know. There is no rule persay that the guest list has to be 50-50, especially since one side is footing the whole bill, but it’s important to consider that this is the couple’s day more than anything else.

Post # 13
637 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

@Brideonabudgetlauren:  we tried that too.

We still wind up with 12 guests at the wedding that neither of us have met. 

I think if the family friends is close with your daughter then if space allows, I think it’s okay.  However, perhaps groom side has a couple family friends they would like to invite too. I think it would be very nice to offer the same to groom’s side (on family friends) but of course since you are hosting, you get to decide how many seats they can have. 

I think it’s all compromise here.  There is no set 50/50.  initially we gave one table each to both side parents for their friends. 

But I gotta say, my sister’s wedding last year has a majority of groom’s family/relatives/coworkers…it’s been a little bit awkward for me.  I feel like the minority there. 

Post # 14
4755 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

No it doesn’t have to be 50-50 but I do think the considerate thing to do is to consider his feelings. Sure, I do think you should be able to invite a few friends (that said what’s your version of a “few” my MIL’s version of a “few” was over 30 people. I was sooo completely pissed off at her for imposing 30 freaking strangers on me…

I think you should approach delicately… and consider his wishes… he is the groom it’s their wedding- not yours. Yes, paying for it certainly has its advantages but there’s also being reasonable.

Post # 15
3580 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

@MOB1time:  I am not really of the mindset that since you’re paying you get the guest list because ultimately you’re gifting your child a wedding so it should be their guest list.  But I am in the minority here on the ‘bee. I think the comprimise a PP said was fair – as long as the groom’s parents get a couple of friends too.  And no, it doesn’t have to be 50/50.  My wedding is going to be about 2/3 his and 1/3 mine.  I am totally okay with this because it’s quality over quantity to me.  He chose to invite people he hasn’t talked to in 5 years.  That is so not my style.

Post # 16
3885 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

When you’re paying, you’re effectively the host and, as such, have ultimate control over the guest list in my opinion. That said, only you can decide if these folks would be appropriate guests, given their relationship to the bride. As an example, I’d find it inappropriate to invite my co-workers if I were hosting a surprise party for a friend that didn’t work with us. But I can’t say if it’s “right” to invite long-term friends of the parents— that’s up to you.

Ideally/hopefully you’ll be able to agree on the guest list with a minimum of conflict. Too many people get too wrapped up in this topic.

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