(Closed) To invite or not to immediate family members…

posted 9 years ago in Family
  • poll: Do you feel obligated to invite all immediate family members to your wedding?
    I can't believe you're not inviting your half siblings? : (5 votes)
    15 %
    Yes you should invite them because they are family : (16 votes)
    47 %
    With these economic times I don't blame you for not expanding your guestlist. : (1 votes)
    3 %
    Keep your guestlist as is and keep the people that really matter there on your special day. : (12 votes)
    35 %
  • Post # 3
    773 posts
    Busy bee

    Not to get all etiquette-y (I hate when people try to throw etiquette in your face to get you to do something you don’t want to do, whether it makes sense or not), but this did remind me of something that resonated with me when I read Miss Manners Guide to Painfully Proper Weddings.  Miss Manners’ position on the guest list is that before you make any decisions about your wedding, you need to first make a list of all the people who should reasonably expect to be invited.  I think family tops that list.  Sure, if you didn’t want to invite your fifth cousin that you’ve met one time when you were six, that would not be a big deal, but your half-siblings probably have a reasonable expectation that they’ll be invited.


    I really liked her position on this because it put things into perspective for me a lot.  If I wanted a small wedding, I could have a destination wedding, but if I was going to have it in my hometown, there was no way to cut our guest list without hurting a lot of feelings.  I didn’t want to start our marriage on a basis of hurt feelings and cutting people out of our lives.  Obviously, we have a much bigger guest list than I had hoped, but it’s great that we get to be surrounded by people who love us on our big day.

     You said that you are paying for the wedding so you don’t feel pressure to invite everyone your family knows.  Well, your father’s children are more than just some people he knows.  They’re his *children*.  No, you don’t have to invite his coworkers, golf buddies, bridge partners, and his favorite waiter at his favorite restaurant, but I wouldn’t exclude his kids.  Your parents have reestablished a relationship with them and they may hope that you will one day, too.  If you don’t invite them, you’re probably eliminating any possibility of that happening, and damaging your relationship with your father big-time.

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

    just limit to your closest family

    invite the half sibling s but not their kids, just tell you have only so many you can invite; it’ll give more room to invite other guests your closer to and include Future Father-In-Law and father’s family

    just compromise

    Post # 5
    773 posts
    Busy bee

    I should add, I’d probably just tack the extra people on and not cut my friends off the guest list. 

    Post # 6
    665 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: October 2010

    I would normally say keep it as it is, but considering how upset your families are…. I’d invite them and ask for some financial help, if thats the real problem, to support the extra guests they want to be there. Weddings are an important family get together time…. especially for one thats trying to become closer than they had been in the past. Not inviting them would sort of hurt those efforts, you know? Who knows, maybe half of them wouldn’t even show up for the same reasons you listed for not inviting them. It’s the gesture, then that counts.

    I’m pretty sure I’ll be having those issues soon enough w/ my estranged step-family… so I totally know where you’re coming from.

    Post # 7
    193 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: August 2010


    I was in a similar situation as you when I first started my wedding planning. My fiance has a million first cousins (ok, it’s not a million, but he has a lot of relatives) and they’re all very close. I have never been close to these people, in fact I have a cold and sour relationship with them. So, I did not feel the need to invite them to my wedding, especially since my fiance and I didn’t want to go overboard with our budget.

    However, a lot of peers pointed out to me that once the wedding day is done there are going to be hurt feelings lingering, and I will have to face these people on a regular basis because they have dozens of obligatory gatherings per month. I didn’t want to create a perpetual uncomfortable situation for myself. So, I bit the bullet and agreed to invite every single one of them, including the kids whom I’d have to shell out $70 each on, for just a plate of chicken fingers and fries!

    I will no longer have the wedding of my dreams, since my vision was for a small and intimate wedding. However, what’s most important to me is that my fiance love each other, are in good terms and are starting off on a good foot. Also, everyone’s happy and they can all shut up and stop worrying about not being invited.

    Your situation, on the other hand, is quite different in the sense that you don’t have to face your half siblings on a regular basis. You mentioned that you haven’t seen them in 4-5 years and barely even talk to them. You shouldn’t feel obligated, therefore, to invite their entire clan. Out of politeness you can send an invite to each of them and their partners, but you can indicate that the invitation is only for them and their partners and NOT the kids. This way, you get to appease your father and still show your half-siblings that they are important to you. 

    If they choose not to attend because you didn’t include their children (which some people do), then at least you won’t have in your conscience that you excluded them.

    Best of luck!



    Post # 8
    3 posts

    I agree with mandalee0624….tell your father that if you invite them, he has to help pay for them.  We are paying for our entire wedding…not to have control, though.  It’s fairly small, 70 ppl, because that’s all we can afford.  I know there are people, including family, that my parents would love for us to invite.  But I’ve explained to them that we can’t really afford it and since I don’t see these people, I’m not cutting out friends that are important to us just to accommodate them.  Since my parents can’t afford to help out, they’ve been really understanding. 

    If money is the issue, the parents need to help out or stay quiet.  If it’s just that you don’t feel close to all of your half siblings, I’d say invite all or none.  If your parents are starting to get closer to them, they may eventually end up being a real part of your life.  You don’t want to start off with this hanging in the air.  

    Post # 9
    5822 posts
    Bee Keeper

    Did I read it correctly that you aren’t inviting either your father’s SIBLINGS or your FFIL’s SIBLINGS?  I was a little confused, because you said you are excluding family from BOTH sides…

    As far as your half siblings go, tally up how much it will cost to add extra tables, centerpieces, a plate of food, favors, programs, escort cards, etc. for just the half-sibs, then tally it up for adding their kids as well.  Give that number to your dad: "Dad, it will cost $xyz to add them to the list but we cannot afford it.  If you can pay this, then I will invite them."  Maybe he doesn’t realize how much it costs to add so many people!  And these are people you don’t know!  I think that’s the best route to go, and have your Fiance do the same thing with whatever family your Future Father-In-Law wants to invite.  You really don’t want to estrange both people on one day.  Just put those tables in the back of the room, and keep your good friends up front with you!

    And no, I don’t think you can invite just one sibling and not the others.  With weddings, it’s all or nothing!

    Post # 10
    2640 posts
    Sugar bee

    Kind of complex.  Firs,t I consider immediate family to be parents children and siblings.  So  I would think that includes your half siblings, but not necessarily their children.  If their children are adults too, then they shouldn’t have a problem journeying to your wedding without them, as well.

    On the other hand if you’venever met them…(My husband didn’t invite some of his half siblings he never met before either.  Although I think it was a bit of a stickier wicket.)  And I think if you ar footing the bill, and your dads want some of these folks invited they do need to put some money in.  They can’t just make you pay for extra people if you don’t ahve the money!

    Family is important for people.  In some families it is their tradition to have everyone invited to the weddings.  I think that might be the case here.  I really would invite them.  But if money is an issue, the your parents need to help out.

    Post # 11
    5271 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: October 2009

    Its unfortunate when family members demand that others attend, when they arn’t helping to pay, so I feel you on that 🙂 I agree with what a few others stated, you could just invite your half siblings, but JUST them, no spouses or kids.

    I’m actually doing something similar, we are only inviting first cousins that are under the age of 18 (basically if one of our first cousins lives at home, they are invited) but no adult cousins. So basically, we are inviting all our aunts & uncles, just not their children if they are over 18. We had to do this or the list would of gotten out of control, all my cousins over 18 have kids and significant others, so we had to come up with a creative way not to exclude anyone and make a "blanket" statement as to who we we are inviting and not inviting. So plainly put, no adult cousins (that way nobody’s feelings in particular wouldget hurt.)

    Post # 12
    773 posts
    Busy bee

    Just a note- if you invite your half siblings, please invite their spouses.  It is extremely rude to invite someone to your wedding but not invite their spouse.  Also, if you’re inviting other peoples’ kids, I think it would be rude not to invite theirs.  If you’re not inviting any kids, it’s a different story, but you can’t treat one guest differently from another.

    Post # 13
    2324 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: September 2018

    I think you’re making a huge mistake not inviting your half siblings. It’s not like they are step-siblings. They’re your father’s other children…he is half of them, just like he is half of you. IMo, you have to invite them, no matter what the cost would be. Now, why aren’t you inviting your FIL’s family? 

    Post # 16
    374 posts
    Helper bee

    I agree with KateMW.  Invite your father’s other children.  It’s only about 30 more people.  Cut out an appetizer.  DIY flowers.  Cut and snip somewhere here and there to make it happen budget wise.

    Trust me, they won’t all be able to come.  And, if they do attend, they will help out because the culture there is different, not like in US where everything is isolated.  I bet they’ll be so tickeled to be invited, that they will  help out where they can if you are doing more DIY’s.

    So, put a smile on your face…and invite them.  Never burn your bridges.

    Keep us posted and let us know your final decision!  Best of Luck and Happy Day!


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