Post # 1
I was wondering how all of you are splitting your guest list (and the bill). I have a large extended family who will likely comprise at least half of our guest list. FI on the other hand has about 20 family members who will come to our wedding.
Fiance and I are older (early 30s), but my parents generously offered to pay for all of their guests. They told us that they would pay for all of our family and their friends. So, as horrible as it may sound, they’re following my option #2. Apparently when they got married, that’s how they split the bill, so they think this is fair.
Well, Future Father-In-Law thinks differently. He doesn’t think it’s fair that my parents get to invite whoever they want and he can only invite 40 friends. Uhh.. 40 friends is more friends than I’m inviting. Since, Fiance is paying for his guests (about 130) I don’t think we should increase the number his dad can invite just to make our sides “equal”..
Right now it’s..
My family/friends – 270
His family/friends – 130
Bees, what do you think??
Post # 3
We just invited who we wanted. We actually ended up getting a lot of flak from some of my husband’s family because we didn’t invite some people they wanted (far extended family, business partners we don’t know). We were determined to have a small wedding, and it still ended up being 100 guests with us keeping it limited. We did take into consideration many people that our families would want invited though (close friends of our parents, family members etc).
As for paying, my parents gave us a lump sum that covered about 1/3 of the wedding cost. My husband’s family gave us nothing. We paid the rest! Despite getting flak I would still go back and make the same choice again. It was our wedding and we wanted people close to us there, not business partners who haven’t met either of us.
ETA: His family also outnumbered mine by a huge amount, but we agreed on all the ‘friends’ we invited, which were from both sides.
Post # 4
We are inviting people based on our relationship and how much we want them there. That said, my family is much larger than my Fiance and I have a bit more friends than he does. So in the end there will be many more guests at the wedding because of their relationship with me than with him. That’s just how it is and there’s no sense in having him invite people he doesnt really like just to have it even.
My parents are paying for most of the wedding (FYI).
Post # 5
I don’t really understand “fair” either. You have a large family. He doesn’t. This isn’t about it being “equal”–my family consists of a lot of out-of-towners. My FI’s family doesn’t. So even if I had invited twice the number he had, there still would be an imbalance because most of my guests would still not show up. In other words, trying to create a balance is kind of a useless enterprise anyway.
If there are people on your parents’ list that they must have at the wedding AND they’re willing to pay for the extra expense, then I don’t see the problem–with exception to the fact that it would change the size and tone of your wedding and that’s important. If you and Fiance don’t want a large wedding then he has a point. But if you don’t care, then I don’t see a problem.
Post # 6
We invited who we wanted, and we paid for the wedding. If either one of our parents had offered to pay for the guests they wanted to invite,we would have declined their offer.
We did keep the sides equitable in terms of who was invited. For example, we both invited aunts and uncles, but no cousins from either side. Is it possible to turn down your parents’ money to keep the guest list equitable? I would also not be happy if I were in your FFIL’s position, but it can be hard to reign someone in if they are paying.
Post # 7
@Brianalaura: Thanks for responding! I’m already starting to get some of that flack.. FFIL wants to invite everyone he knows, but at $100+ a head we just can’t afford it.
That’s awesome that your family gave you a lump sum. My parents would never give money “no strings attached”. I think if they gave us $30K and their friends and (extended) family weren’t invited there would be some major issues.. Urgh.
@PinkBubbleGum: That’s how I feel. My Fiance has met 90% of the people from my side who would be invited to our wedding. I have met 2 of his dad’s 40 guests.. and still only 2 if he got his way and increased that number to 150.
Post # 8
The vast majority of our guests are mine and FI’s, but we chose to invite both of our whole families and several family friends.
My parents informed me that they wanted to invite some of their friends, too – people neither I nor my Fiance have ever met. Just as I was about to tell them no (FI and I are paying for the wedding ourselves, mostly), they said they would pay for those people. Not thrilled about it, but okay.
FI’s parents at first said they didn’t want to invite anyone who wasn’t already on FI’s list, but after they thought about it for a bit, they changed their minds and asked us to add less than ten people. They’re all people Fiance knows, so it’s fair. We’re not going to ask his parents to pay for them because they have very generously offered to pay for the rehearsal dinner and the rental of the church for our ceremony.
…When it comes to wedding planning, I like FI’s parents a lot more than my own.
Post # 9
What a situation! This is not my case, as 80% of our guests have been agreed between my Fiance and I. We let our parents know that they could invite a small amount of close friends, but that was it as it’s important for us to have at our wedding only people that we know and care about.
Having said that, I would do the following in your case:
Option 1: Determine the requirements of the guests. E.g. from each side of the family you can invite only uncles, first cousins and their kids. Plus 20 family friends from each site.
As your Fiance has a much smaller family than yours, perhaps this would ensure that you still have all the guests you need from your side.
Option 2: Explain that you had agreed on a set number of invites with your parents, but that when they discovered they needed to invite more, they offered to pay for them. Tell your Future Mother-In-Law and Future Father-In-Law that the number you gave them was truly the max you could afford, and that if they want to invite more sthey will have to pay for them.
I hope you can find a good solution for this sticky situation!
Post # 10
@JennyW1: Thank you for your reply! We had planned on a wedding of 250, but my list was grossly underestimated. This lead to the increase of.. yes.. 150. My “dream” wedding venue holds 300, so I already feel a little bit gypped. That being said.. my extended family is very large, but very close. We see each other on all holidays and they were all invited to my graduation party. I was also invited to most of their weddings.
The part where you said “If there are people on your parents’ list that they must have at the wedding AND they’re willing to pay for the extra expense, then I don’t see the problem” – well, I completely agree with this, but it’s become a very touchy issue because my family is more well off than my Fiance. My grandfather has offered to pay for all of his friends (who I have grown up with), and my parents have offered to pay for their friends. FFIL does not have the money to pay for all of his friends, so Fiance is going to cover Future Father-In-Law 40 friends.
@doingathing: I really appreciate your perspective, so thank you! If Fiance and I had enough in savings I would 100% decline their offer. I just finished grad school and have nothing saved up, and Fiance had to help his family out last year so we’re not really in a position to pay for the wedding 100% on our own. We could definitely pay for a nice wedding for our immediate family and friends, but I would be upset if my entire family wasn’t there. On the same note, I guess we could also look into cheaper options, but I really don’t want to settle just so we can invite 100 more people that Fiance and I barely know.
Post # 11
My parents paid for the wedding, and we split the guests equally between us, his parents, and my parents. I just felt like it was just as important to have his parents close friends there too to celebrate with us as it was for our friends and my parents.
Post # 12
@GreenEyedMoon: “…When it comes to wedding planning, I like FI’s parents a lot more than my own.” Hahaha! Thanks for making me laugh when I’ve been feeling so blah! Your story really helped me and I feel as though we’re trying to do the same thing.. We’re not charging Future Father-In-Law for his 40 guests, but 100 more?? Eeks!
@Lexsy: Thank you for your helpful plan! This is sort of what we had already planned on doing.. The problem lies in that my family can afford to pay for whoever they want to invite and Father-In-Law cannot. I really don’t think my parents will invite more than 40 friends.. so, the “parent’s friends” list will be even, but it still wont be balanced when it comes to guests. Blah..
Post # 13
Equalizing the number of people on your side and his side makes no sense to me. You want to invite people that are special to you and Fiance.
My parents contributed financially and his didn’t. We wanted our family, close friends, and close family friends to be there. His family (thankfully) didn’t go to overboard on the guest list (although his Mom invited all these second and third cousins Darling Husband hasn’t seen in 20 years – thankfully they did not come). The only hard and fast rule we had was no one under 18. We really stressed to our families to cut down their guest lists because this is our wedding and we don’t want 50 people there we have never met. They were respectful of this for the most part.
We figured out the rough cost per head (food, drinks, invitations, linens, centerpieces, cake) – basically anything that varries by the number of guests and used that as a guide. And as horrible as that sounds, we thought about weather or not people were worth $X per person. In most cases they were not.
I hope this helps!