Post # 1
I want a small wedding. I haven’t always felt this way – but at this point in my life (30 yrs old) I don’t feel the need to have a huge party with lots of guests and lots of expenses. It’s just not my thing. My fiance is good with whatever I decide (so he says) but I am having trouble with the guest list. #1. We haven’t even picked a date yet. #2. I have no ideas for venues, most places are for larger groups. #3. I don’t want to invite all of my family.
I think #’s 1 and 2 are pretty common, but #3….not so much. I have a large family, at least way larger than his, (120ish compared to his 50ish). I am not close to my dad’s side whatsoever. I am the youngest of my cousins – all of whom have been married for quite some time and have children, some are even in college already! Unfortunately I keep getting stuck in the wedding guest “heirarchies.” For example, if I invite a few of my cousins on my mom’s side that I feel close to, then I feel obligated to invite the rest, with their children, and their parents – not to mention how do I invite my mom’s family but not my dad’s? Then, how do I invite my extended family but not his? Agh!
More and more I am coming to realize that while everyone says, “It’s your wedding, do what you want” what they really mean is, “It’s your wedding, do what you want….as long as it’s traditional and you invite everyone.” It’s frustrating.
I consolidated my list to about 30 people. Our immediate families (parents, siblings, nieces/nephews, grandparents) and our close friends. Unfortunately this leaves out a handful of cousins that I feel pretty close to. Help!!
Post # 2
Wow I could have posted this myself, my situation is so similar. I am close to giving in to my grandparents’ wishes to have a huge wedding and invite all their extended family… They would pay for this too. However I have always wanted a small intimate wedding. I also do not want to invite my dads side as I am not close with him, but would feel obligated to if I have the bigger wedding…. Sorry I have no useful advice but following in the hopes someone else does!
Post # 3
Thanks for replying at least! It’s nice to know I’m not the only one in the situation! One thing I have considered is making a point to talk to those extended family members that I am closer to and explain the situation. I think that way they would understand that while I would love for them to be there I can’t in good conscience invite them without inviting every family member, which is not what I want.
It’s just so hard though because while I can’t in good conscience invite a few cousins and not all, I also can in good conscience leave the ones I’m close to out. Dah!
Post # 4
If you are closer to some cousins then invite those you are closer to.
I sent invites to two of my dad’s cousins, but not their brother. They had always sent birthday/christmas cards and gifts, see me during holidays, etc so they were invited. They sent back a postive rsvp that included their brother’s new address, just in case I’d missed it, however we just left it not giving him an invite. Now P is a perfectly nice man but I hadn’t spoken to him in over 15 years, he didn’t send christmas cards or anything like that, I don’t know his children.
The rest of my dad’s cousins were also not invited, because I’d never met them or not seen them enough on a regular basis to form a relationship.
But then I think I was quite harsh. Invited both of my godmothers, but not my godfather, again because I hadn’t seen him in 15 years.
Post # 5
I am exhausted by guest list dilemas and family politics! Fiance has a really big family.
Unfortunately what we came to the conclusion with family was that you either have to invite everyone or no one. If you pick and choose favourite family/cousins it would create drama, which we couldn’t handle the stress of, so just ended up inviting everyone. But we decided to exclude children (We know 30 babies under 3, which would be so noisy having them as 1/5 of the guest list in the ceremony!)
I admire anyone brave enough to just invite exactly who that want though!
Post # 6
There’s a few caveats to this scenario that I would feel would pose a problem for me. He isn’t really close to any of his extended family. I am close to three cousins on my mom’s side – from different Aunts/Uncles. One of my mom’s cousins REALLY wants to be invited. She’s a lovely woman, but she calls my finace by the wrong name most of the time – which tells me she really doesn’t know us well enough to be invited. I still don’t want to hurt her feelings though. I also think that if I invited the cousins I feel close to, but none of his extended family (even though they are not close), my future Mother-In-Law would be upset.
I was going to limit it to parents, siblings, nieces/nephews, godparents, and close friends. No one beyond that. We’ll see. I appreciate your advice. I just really want to avoid conflict. This is supposed to be a happy time – I don’t want to hurt anyone, but I still don’t want to change what I want for my wedding. Tough.
Post # 7
Destination wedding would solve a lot of these issues!
Post # 8
I can definitely relate, although Fiance is the one with the big family. For my side, I’m just inviting my dad’s side. I have never met most of my mom’s side, and if I have I was a toddler. My mom is totally cool with it since she isn’t close to them either. Unfortunately, both of her parents have already passed, so it will literally just be my dad’s side.
FI’s Family is notorious for wedding drama. The last person that had a wedding excluded people under 21, so none of the cousins could come. People got disowned, apparently. Fiance hates one of his cousins on his mom’s side with good reason, so we’re making up arbitrary reasons why we can’t invite them. Right now we’re saying only unmarried cousins on his mom’s side in order to keep costs down, which only excludes that cousin and his sister. We’re hoping it’ll work out drama-wise, but I bet it will still be an issue.
I know it’s not reassuring, but at the end of the day, it’s your wedding. If you’re paying, you have the ultimate say.
Post # 9
For our wedding we came to a similar conclusion – invite everyone in the family, or only immediate family members.
I wanted a small wedding, but my FI’s mom wants a big wedding… so we invited everyone after all our parents agreed to chip in for that extra cost. So our wedding guest list is now up to over 400 people (we both have huge extended families!).
I feel for you! It’s a tough dilemma. But since you say you don’t want conflict and you want to avoid hurting people, the best way is to invite everyone or invite only immediate family members.
It’s very hard to cherry-pick relatives and avoid conflict. By cherry picking, you are telling other relatives that they are not as close/worthy/[insert negative adjective] to you and your Fiance. However, if you only invite immediate family, all the extended relatives are less likely to be hurt because they are all lumped together as “not immediate family”, which is a more understandable category to be in. Good luck!
Post # 10
Thanks for replying! I like your way of putting it. “Not immediate family” is a more understandable way to put it. I was thinking of making a point to talk to those closer relatives and explain the situation to hopefully explain why they wouldn’t be included. Do you think that’s a good idea? I don’t know if I could handle anyone saying to my face that I hurt their feelings. I know I would end up caving and inviting everyone. Although my big list would still be less than 200 – I feel for you having 400+ guests. Did you hire a wedding planner or are you doing it all yourself?
Post # 11
Set a budget (one you can finance yourselves). Find a venue; see what the charge per person will be (don’t forgrt to allow for flowers, bar, music, dress, photography, etc.) Divide the number of guests you can afford to invite in half. You invite your half; your future spouse invites the other half.
Post # 12
I thought the same thing BUT, my sister is married with two kids and a tight budget. She HAS to be there. Also – my Fiance’s godfather is undergoing cancer treatment right now – I don’t think he’s in good enough shape to travel.
Post # 13
- Wedding: June 2018 - The Garrison, NY
I can sort of understand where you’re coming from because my family is similar. We are very close with my dad’s side, my mom’s side doesn’t care much for my family unless they’re benefitting from it somehow. So only my mom’s 1 cousin and her family is invited, and that’s where my line is drawn.
The way I think about it is, it’s my wedding. I’m going to plan it in a way that makes me and Fiance happy, because it’s OUR day. It’s not their day. So don’t feel bad about what you feel is the right thing to do!
Post # 14
You’re welcome! I feel for you 🙂
If you are only inviting immediate family members, I think explaining to close relatives why they aren’t invited is helpful. It depends what your reason is though.
If we had gone with a wedding with only immediate family members, I would have explained to some close relatives that we can only afford a small wedding with our immediate family members (because that is the truth). If any of them said that I hurt their feelings, I would have told them that I would love to invite them as well as the rest of my relatives but I simply can’t afford it.
But if your reason to some of the close relatives is hey, we love you and want to invite you but inviting you means inviting this other relative I don’t like, so we’re not going to invite anyone…that might not go over so well. Just as an FYI. You know your close relatives and how they would react to that, I take it?
And yeah, my Fiance and I have hired a wedding planner, which has saved us countless hours of work. I have never planned a party for over 400 people, let alone a wedding, so he has saved our bacon 😀 I would highly recommend a good wedding planner if you want help planning a big wedding!
Post # 15
I am not close to my dad. Like at all. I’m only inviting my half brother and his wife, and leaving out ~20 family members and their SOs from his side. He has lots of siblings, they all have kids (my cousins), but we are barely FB friends. So I’m not inviting them lol.
My FIs mom feels the same as you. We were going to invite one of FIs cousins and their kids (our age). But FIs mom insisted that we cant invite 1 cousin AND her kids without inviting the other cousins AND their kids. But a) we’re having a 19+ wedding, and their kids are underage, and b) we dont even know these other cousins. But she is very much of the heirarchy. Eventually we decided to just invite the cousins, but still not their kids lol.
Also, make sure you have your budget and guestlist first before looking at venues!