(Closed) Parents inviting guests? Why is this even a thing?

posted 7 years ago in Etiquette
  • poll: Did you/would you allow your parents to invite friends to your wedding?


    Only friends who are close to me and I know, or family friends.

    They can invite whatever friends they want, with a limit on the number.

    The can invite whatever friends they want, unlimited number!

  • Post # 16
    1632 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: September 2010

    I remember my husband and I initially creating a list that included our parent’s friends- we knew them or knew of them.  Those were the first guests to get cut. Family-friends ie play aunts and uncles remained on the guest list. I didn’t mind if my mom wanted to invite never-before-met-or-seen friends because she was paying for a good chunk of the wedding. Once we decided to pay for the wedding and I told her those people could come if she paid for them they were cut.

    I think when parents hosts they get a say in the invite list. The wedding is in honor of the bride and groom, but they are not hosting- paying, deciding on details, or guest list. The boundaries are too blury on the rresponsibility split these days. 

    When brides and grooms ask there parents who they want unvited parents feel entitled to invite important people in their lives. Again, don’t ask them for a list if you don’t have the heart to tell them No. 

    Post # 17
    37 posts
    • Wedding: September 2014

    I get it…but when it’s people that neither of you know well as a couple and you are leaving off others that you simply can’t have due to budget, it just doesn’t seem fair.

    Post # 18
    2942 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: May 2014

    There was a brief mention of my dad possibly inviting some of his work friends that got nixed as I have never met any of them.  He started his job while I was studying abroad in college, and I have never met any of these people.  But there are about 50 of my parents friends (mostly neighbors and people I have known my whole life who will still stop and talk to me if I’m visiting home) and I think about 20 for my FI’s parents.  For me, the venue is big enough, my wedding was never going to be under 300 invites (I have a HUGE family) and the budget isn’t an issue. 

    Post # 19
    2843 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: May 2014

    Who is paying?  If your parents are paying, and you are young, it is pretty tradional to invite friends of the parents.

    Post # 20
    2843 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: May 2014

    I think it is entirely dependent on who is footing the bill.

    Post # 21
    1373 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: August 2015

    I would agree that it does depend on who is footing the bill, but I also understand that it can be very awkward when one set of parents goes a little crazy with invites. Fiance and I are paying a good 2/3 of our bill, and my parents are paying most of the rest. FI’s parents are chill – they requested some distant family members that Fiance and I don’t know, but they kept it under about 10 people. My mother tried to invite her entire church and work friends and random old high school friends, very few of them (read: maybe 2?) do I know personally. That got stopped very, very quickly through a gentle yet pointed discussion though – really, my mom was just so darn excited that she invited everyone she saw. She forgot to do the math and realize that she just added on $3000 to the bill. Once I gently pointed out that I didn’t know nearly any of them, and those I did know I already had on the invite list, and that the added bill would need to then be paid by her because they would be her guests only, she understood what I was trying to do. I think it also helped that Fiance and I built into our guest list that each parent pair got to have a certain number – the parents didn’t feel that they didn’t get to have any of their friends to celebrate with, they just had to limit the number, just like we did. 

    Post # 22
    594 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: October 2014

    Our wedding is being paid for in part by both of our parents, and by ourselves, but my parents and I are footing the majority of the bill. Our guest list has been an… evolving… process. It started with his parents not offering to cover an of it, so we split it right now the middle (to be fair) and each side has 80 invites. So Fiance and I made our individual lists and our parents were allowed to build from their with family and friends. Well my parents ended up needing about 5 more people, but since they were paying for everything (at that point FIs family hadn’t offered anything) and his parents needed a whopping FORTY extra people. I was pissed, and stressed, and felt very underappreciated. I laid my foot down and told them that my parents were paying for no more than 80 people for them. End of question. Fiance and I aren’t crazy about the idea of a bunch of people we don’t know being there… but figured that if it made our parents happy it was ok. Eventually his parents offered to pay for each additional head, so they are inviting everybody and the mailman. Again, we aren’t terribly fond of the idea of strangers watching us get married, but at the end of the day, we probably aren’t going to notice them anyway, so screw it. 

    Long story short, if your parents are paying, they get to invite whoever they want IMO. If you are paying then you can absolutely tell them that they can’t invite a bunch of randos.

    Post # 23
    346 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: November 2013

    It depends on the situation. A lot of people will say that money is a big factor in allowing for parents or family to add to the guest list. There is the saying that those who pay have a say. 

    Beyond that, the guest count is pretty high, so they may feel there is room to extend invites to their friends because they want to share the moment with them. To many, a wedding is a family celebraton, not just a couple celebration. In our case, we invited only 75, so our parents limited their list quite considerably to very close friends (my parents had only two couples) and the rest were family. 

    If there is not a budget or space constrainst but you don’t want more guests, I would just explain to your parents that you want mostly family and closer family friends. If there is a budget or space limit, I would just explain that as well. 

    Post # 24
    1832 posts
    Buzzing bee

    You know, as a MOB, I really don’t understand inviting people your kids don’t know to their wedding either!

    We pay/host the weddings for our girls.  For each of my bioDDs I have asked that my 2 best friend couples be invited.  The only reason I feel this is justified is that they have known my girls since they were little and STILL have a relationship with them now.  When I asked about inviting them, both girls already had them on their guest lists.

    I just feel that consideration needs to go to family members with whom the couple has a relationship and their friends.  I would feel a bit wierd to be invited to a friend’s child’s wedding when I didn’t even know the bride/groom.

    Post # 25
    1667 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: August 2014

    My parents are paying for the entire shebang, so I was willing to let them do whatever they wanted in terms of inviting their friends, but they sat down with me and discussed every guest – they only wanted people that I knew well!

    Post # 26
    5866 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: April 2013

    View original reply
    nawella:  I assume this comes from the tradition of parents paying for the wedding.  My parents paid for my wedding, so they could invite whoever they wanted.  That makes perfect sense to me.

    If the couple is paying for the wedding, it makese sense that they control the guest list.  Of course these days many weddings are paid for by a combo of parents and the couple, which leaves things really murky. 

    My parents invite a few people who I didn’t know well, but who are important to them.  In their circle it’s important to be able to return the invite when they’ve previously been to a friend’s child’s wedding.  Between the fact that their friends are fun, nice people and that they were paying, it’s really no skin off my nose whoever they’d like to invite.  The way I see it, it’s their day too.

    Post # 27
    11161 posts
    Sugar Beekeeper

    Would I want them to? No. However, my Mother-In-Law added about 14 people to our guest list about a week before we were sending out invitations. Most of those people I hadn’t head of before nor did I know them. I was a bit irritated to say the least considering I asked for the guest list for their side months before hand when sending out the STDs. It wasn’t the most considerate thing to do but I choose my battles wisely and we made space.

    Post # 28
    1000 posts
    Bumble bee

    When we told my parents that we were planning a commitment celebration, we asked them, “Do you have any people that you feel might be important to have attend the event, with the understanding that it may not be possible for us to invite them?”

    My dad suggested one friend, my mom suggested some family friends (a couple that I had already thought of) and some family members that were also already on the ‘list of people we’re already thinking about.’  I think they both have a pretty good understanding of how small we want this to be.

    We haven’t told my partner’s family yet (and that promises to be a fun conversation), but he has already made if very clear that they will have no input whatsoever.  They will not be getting to invite or suggest anyone, and he has said that he does not want any of his relatives outside of his immediate family (mother, father, and sisters) coming.  I respect his wishes on this, even though my family is confused by them and his family will doubtless be upset by them.

    Post # 29
    845 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: February 2014

    View original reply
    nawella:  In order to try and play nice with Mother-In-Law I let her invite one of her friends I have never met. Huge mistake. Let me just say I am a fairly easy-going person, I make friends easily and I get on with most people. This guy…at my wedding.

    Oef. He whisked the centrepiece off the table as soon as he sat down, plonked it on the bridal table claiming he wants to see all the guests at the table and proceeded to get drunk and make a ridiculous speech.

    What a downer. I managed to keep it together, but I was glad that he left early.  I guess what I took away fromt he experience is that if you invite people you don’t know, and who don’t know you – they just are not invested in the occasion and may feel no compunction making an idiot of themselves because ‘hey, i’m never seeing these people again’. This is just one case though, I am betting that pther brides have had happier experiences. 

    • This reply was modified 7 years, 4 months ago by .
    Post # 30
    260 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: October 2013

    My oarents paid for the wedding so they had a good say in who came. We came to an agreement of how may we wanted to invite and had people prioritized so that they could avoid inviting people I did not know. 

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