(Closed) What To Do About Lopsided Guest List

posted 5 years ago in Guests
Post # 2
3706 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2014

Do you have a specific number of guests you need to stay under? If not, invite whoever he wants there. You’re becoming one big family now. You can arrange the ceremoney seating so that’s it’s open seating rather than “his or hers”.

Post # 4
778 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2013

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jaqattack:  I also have a huge family. We cut the line at second cousins (my cousins children). That seems to be the precedent in my family. 

Post # 5
116 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

You don’t have to invite everyone, but invite in circles and be consistent-  if you invite some first cousins, all should be invited (don’t invite cousins only from one side)  

We’re dealing with much the same thing, only I’m the one with the large family- we invited out to first cousins and great-aunts (but not their adult children, my second cousins) and my family makes up 47 people of our 107 person guest list. As a PP suggested, we’re not seating by side, just one big group. 

Post # 6
4835 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

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jaqattack:  I don’t think you should worry about who’s family dominates the list or about the sides being “fair.”  It’s a wedding, your are joining together two families it doesn’t matter if one is larger than the other.

The practical consideratoin is that you are trying to have a smaller wedding and you want 100 people max.  Here’s what I would do in your situation, step by step:

1) Write out a list of all of the guests you might invite.  Include everyone at this stage.  I suggest doing this in excel so that you can easily do addition.  Personally, I’d use three columns – 1 for the party name (“John & Sherry”), the next for the number of adults in the party (“2”) and the next for the number of children (“1”)

2) Now in a 4th column, go through and categorize each party.  I’d use labels such as “Must invite” “Want to invite” and “Low Priority”.  For me, that first category would include parents, siblings, and best friends.  The second would be good friends and family members we see often.  The third would be people we don’t see as often, peple we don’t have a personal relationship with, or people we are just inviting out of a sense of obligation.

3) Add it up and see where you landed.  if you use a pivot table you can easily play around with the numbers and see what it would look like if you excluded kids or whatever.

This doesn’t have to be your final list, but at least it gives you a place to start.  I think it’s difficult to make any decisions about wedding size until you’ve pulled together your total possible list of guests.

Post # 9
900 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

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jaqattack:  I don’t want to be negative but for your parents to say that is kind of, well, a bad perspective and kind of put me off – I can’t imagine how your fiancé would feel if that were said to him.  A wedding is supposed to also celebrate two families becoming tied together and accepting each other’s families for who they are. They should be looking at it as paying for a party to celebrate your marriage and letting you choose the people to invite. Not as “throwing a party for his family”.  

on the practical side-it was really hard but we decided to not invite any of my cousins. we invited aunts and uncles but no cousins Because I’m the one with the large family. So we invited his cousins. None of whom came by the way. And now I have cousins who are still mad at me and would have loved to have been there. But I tried so hard to make it 50/50. And while I wish we could have done it differently, it was important to me to make sure husband didn’t feel his family and friends were minimized at all. So I guess I made the right choice Because it is about both of us. 

Post # 11
3791 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

Our reception guest list was very DH-sided, as he comes from a bigger extended family and they have a lot of good family friends (small town). My family and friends aren’t that big, so it was like 85% him and the other 15% me. Maybe closer to 90% for him.

We just had a small family only ceremony where it was parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles. We did invite one couple of close family friends that he’s known well most of his life, as well as a couple of great aunt/uncles from my side that I know well. Only one of his cousins attended that, as he was our videographer, and DH and him are close.

In all, it was about 40 people. Each family stood on one side of the sidewalk, we got married outside in a park in a gazebo, and it was perfect for us. This still wasn’t 50/50, but it worked for us.

Post # 12
496 posts
Helper bee

Guest list is definitely the most stressful part of wedding planning, at least in my experience! Just want to say I understand the struggle.  For us, I’m the one with the huge family – my parents are one of 12 and 13, and I have 96 first cousins (not counting their kids and spouses, etc.).  And I’m actually close to most of my extended family, wanted to invite my parent’s friends and cousins I grew up around, etc.  The guest list was definitely skewed my way, and that was mostly for family (total guest list was about 615 – that’s just the way weddings are around this area/in our family).

While I know this was a little hard for my in-laws, as they had plenty of people they would have liked to invite (many of them being their own cousins who my Fiance didn’t even know, but that’s another story…) eventually they had to realize that my family would come before that group.  If we kept it even on both sides, and invited the same “level” of family (i.e. all first cousins and their kids) that would be fair to both of us.  It wouldn’t have been fair to punish me for having a bigger family, by not allowing me to invite the same level of family members.  Especially because I’m close to most all of them.

Good luck bee!

Post # 13
471 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2016 - Cambridge Mill

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jaqattack:  I can relate Bee. We are trying to stay around 95. FI’s mom is 1 of 5 and they all have children so my Fiance has A LOT of cousins. We bascially stuck to aunts and uncles only for his family with one exception of his local aunt and uncle that he’s the most close with and their 2 kids. We want to make sure his younger sister (there are 11 years between Fiance and his sister) has someone her own age to hang out with.

My family is small and I only invited the family I am closest with. 

Some will say you have to invite all or none when it comes to cousins but I have an aunt I’m not inviting because I never see her. My father has no relationship with her and I honestly just do not want to put anyone through any awkwardness/drama.

My fathers side of the family is odd when it comes to who I grew up around and was close too. My dads cousin and wife were like my aunt and uncle so I invited them, my dad’s great aunt and uncle were like my Grandparents since his mom died when I was 4 and he didn’t have a great realationship with his father. 

All I am basically trying to say is don’t get too caught up in “labels” in terms of closeness in blood (1st cousin, 2nd cousin etc). Go with your heart.


Post # 14
1290 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

I can understand how you mom feels, but it may be irrelevant.  With 100 invites (presumably including all spouses and fiances of guests), it means there will have to be cuts.  I agree with go with  your heart. 

I would start with “musts” being parents, grandparents, siblings and all spouses.  CBCG had a great suggestion. 

Post # 15
297 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2016

I have a huge family and my fiance has a super small one. We invited equally on both sides — meaning if my mom’s cousins were invited on my side, his mom’s cousins were invited on his side. There were some we cut from my side, e.g. children of parents’ cousins, but overall we did it based on relationships/how we are related. It was fine that his family had fewer people. When everyone’s on the dance floor, you aren’t counting who is from what side. 

My mom also would have had this perspective if things were reversed. She is all about what’s “fair” and making sure everything is “tit for tat.” I used to be that way too but I realized that people come from different families with different traditions and it’s okay if things aren’t completely fair. Especially at a wedding!

I’m trying to get a better sense of the problem so I can better address your question. How many guests do you have if you invited all family? Are they all local/would they all come? Do you feel limited on how many friends you can invite?

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