Post # 1
Hi guys! I have an etiquette-related question that I’m asking here because I don’t really know who else to ask :/ I”m sure this has been posted before but I couldn’t find a recent thread. So my question is about how many friends the parents of the bride and groom get to invite? My Fiance and I have no idea where to begin with this haha. We both wanted a medium-sized wedding — basically we want everyone there who’s important to us, but we also want it to still feel as intimate/small as possible. Right now our list consists of our friends and family members, and we have about 120 people. That’s where our parents come in. For some background, I lost my mom two years ago, and FI’s parents are divorced but neither is remarried. So we have 3 parents who are asking to invite friends, rather than 2 sets of parents.
I’m just wondering how people navigate this? I don’t want to be stingy to our parents, and I also don’t want to give them too much of our guest list, because we truly do want it to feel more on the intimate side. As it stands right now, my dad asked for 4 couples and we’ve given him the green light. FI’s dad asked for 4 couples as well, which we are also fine with. FI’s mom only has 2 couples on our list right now (FI’s choice due to some bad behavior on her part) but we are going to offer her two more couples to even things out, I think. This way each parent will have 8 guests on the list — in addition of course to many family friends that Fiance and I invited ourselves.
I guess I’m just wondering … does this sound fair? I really don’t know what I’m doing here, I’m just trying to make everyone happy. For what it’s worth, my dad is paying for the whole wedding, but I want all the parents to feel appreciated. Do parents deserve more/less? Fiance and I have no clue and we’re the first of our friends and siblings to get married so no one can really help haha. Just curious how other people have done this in the past. Any input will be helpful, thanks so much!
Post # 2
You can do it however you want to do it.
My dad/stepmom contributed to our wedding, and I went ahead and included a few people that I knew he’d want to include. Those people I’m not really close to but have known me since I was a kid. I gave them a rundown of the list and then asked them if there was anyone else they wanted to invite. They ended up adding a few people to it.
DH’s parents and my mom all live a few states away and so there wasn’t really anyone friend-wise they’d want to invite that would actually make the trip.
Post # 3
there is no rule. who is paying? what is the budget? are you able to accommodate the extra guests?
my mom invited 5 friends and their spouses if they had them. DH made his own guest list without any input from his mother who had a stroke soon before our wedding. and both our fathers are deceased. so it was only my mom. she did pay for our wedding, but i would have invited these friends of hers if DH and I were paying as well.
Post # 4
When my ex and I got married we invited some of of his parent’s friends, however, only friends that my ex felt they were more like aunts and uncles to him.
My ex in laws wanted us to invite a handful of his grandmother’s “club” friends. People we never met. There was no way we were going to foot the bill (approx $120/person).
Post # 5
It really varies based on personal circumstances, budget, who is paying, size of wedding, etc. There’s no right or wrong answer, it should just be what feels fair to you and Fiance.
Post # 6
We payed for everything and had a guest list of 300.
We gave our parents 50 guests each so they had a total of 100 guests between them.
Post # 7
I think what you are doing is extremely fair, and unless you are set at only a certain number (whether that be personal or a venue restriction) I would be lienant on who they can invite. Just keep in mind you and your FI’s personal preference for a total guest amount.
Personally, my Fiance and I want to stay under 300 people and right now we’re at like 280 I think. What we did was write down literally anyone and their cousin on the list, also including plus one for people who just have their name written down (ex – my cousin is single… only wrote down Jane Doe +1 because I have no clue if she will want to bring a date, same goes for my college girlfriends).
We then went to FI’s parents and asked them for names, and will be of course asking my family, just haven’t had the time, and from there will see where our numbers are. If we go over our 300 people max (I’m giving like 315 max including some kiddos) the first people to be cut from the guest list will most definitely be our parents friends or co-workers.. whoever it may be that we aren’t generally closest to. Then for us, we said we can cut down on some of our own co-workers and like distant highschool/college friends.
Post # 8
I think what you’re doing is totally fair. There are so many variables to it that there isn’t really a single rule. Who is paying? Are YOU close to these people? How big do you want the be? etc.
I wouldn’t tell them “you get X number of people” though. Sometimes even numbers across the board doesn’t even make sense because maybe one parent wants to invite four people that you grew up with and were close to, but another parent wants to invite people that are total strangers to you etc. Just talk with them and ask who they’d like to invite and try to find a balance.
Post # 9
We talked with my Future Mother-In-Law to get a rough estimate of how many people she wanted to invite and I made a list for my side and sent it to my mom for approval/to see if she wanted to add anyone. FI’s family is paying much of the cost and are inviting many family friends. I have more relaives nearby and am mostly focussing on family to invite. Then Fiance and I made a list of our personal friends and colleagues to add. Whatever makes sense to you is fine! My cousin got married a few years ago and his mother commented that she hadn’t expected to be involved in making the guest list but she did notice that a close family friend (friend of parents but not directly close to the bride and groom) seemed quite surprised and hurt afterwards at not being invited.
Post # 10
Thanks so much everyone! This is really helpful. 🙂
Post # 11
Fiance and I are paying for our own wedding and want it to be very intimate, but I’m inviting a few of my mom’s close friends, who I consider lifelong family friends. She asked, but I was considering inviting them anyhow just because they have been friends of hers for my whole life and were part of my childhood, always gave me birthday gifts, were often at family holidays, etc. I wouldn’t extend invites, on the other hand, to randoms my mom happened to be friends with just because she wanted them to be there.
If your parents are paying for your wedding, though, I think that’s pretty different. In that case, they kind of get to invite whomever they like IMO.
Post # 12
As others have said, it’s totally up to you how you want to do this. There is no rule. FWIW, you don’t have to “give” your parents invites at all, if you don’t want to (though it sounds like you do). I understand it more if parents are paying / hosting – then ALL of the guests are your parent’s guests and they would be giving YOU spots. But if YOU’RE the one hosting, then I just don’t get it. I don’t give any of my other guests extra invites so that they can bring their friends. In our case our parents didn’t get any invites. We threw a party, and our parents were invited, just like everyone else we invited.
Post # 13
They don’t get to invite anyone because it’s not their wedding. This is a celebration of your relationship with YOUR friends, not friends of your parents who may or may not be strangers. (Yes, even if they’re paying. That money is a gift.)
Post # 14
Traditionally, weddings are considered as two families coming together. Etiquette comes down on the side of making a budget and a guest list of people who “deserve” to be included first and determining style of affair and venue based off if that rather than the other way around.
Whether parents host, pay or are “just” the parents who have raised you, it’s a special day for them too. It’s gracious IMO if possible to allow them to share the day with their closest friends. That would be more difficult to do if the wedding is small or intimate. Obviously if they are hosting, they have more say.
Post # 15
this is totally up to each bride/groom. I would say for me, I only want to invite people I am actually close to and know. That probably means some “family friends” or close friends of the parents who we know well, but not just anyone our parents are friends with.