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Guest List Size Opinions?

lvcushion

Rough_Rock
Joined
Sep 25, 2011
Messages
31
Please share your ideas on creating a guest list when only the bride's side is paying for the wedding. What would you do if the groom's family was significantly larger and they were all non-negotiable invites? It would either be just parents and grandparents or about 75 people on groom's side compared to 15 or 20 on bride's side (before friends and family friends). Having a destination wedding is out of the option and while having an extremely small wedding might work, there would have to be some kind of celebration for all and I would love to have an in-between size (or at least for the percentage paid by each side to be proportional).

Any advice from personal experience or otherwise would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance!
 

JulieN

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jul 25, 2005
Messages
13,329
First, you figure out how much money there is to spend.

Then you figure out how who you'd like to have at the wedding.

Then you plan what kind of party to throw.

What does "non-negotiable" mean?
 

iheartscience

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 1, 2007
Messages
12,111
Can the groom's family contribute? My friends had a similar situation (but even more lopsided) and the groom's father gladly covered the cost of his side's additional guests. If the groom's family can't contribute I would give each side fairly equal amounts and let the groom's family decide who to invite. And I'd let the groom's parents pay for an additional celebration or do it potluck style.
 

lvcushion

Rough_Rock
Joined
Sep 25, 2011
Messages
31
Non-negotiable means that beyond the groom's immediate family, all relatives are equally close... so if some get invited, all must be invited.

It's not necessarily the budget that is the problem. It is the fact that the guest list is so lopsided, and the groom's family cannot contribute enough to compensate for this, that I don't want the side paying for it to be resentful.

Just wondering how people get around lopsided guest lists, I suppose. Beyond asking for contribution, how can you really pare it down?
 

lvcushion

Rough_Rock
Joined
Sep 25, 2011
Messages
31
thing2of2, I like your suggestion of having a celebration at a later date. I just wish we could have a smaller wedding that could include all important immediate family, but his important immediate family is so large. We would only be able to invite grandparents and parents for it to be fair (and I'm sure my one aunt wouldn't really like that, but he has ten aunts and uncles with many children).
 

iheartscience

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 1, 2007
Messages
12,111
lvcushion|1317510995|3030825 said:
Non-negotiable means that beyond the groom's immediate family, all relatives are equally close... so if some get invited, all must be invited.

It's not necessarily the budget that is the problem. It is the fact that the guest list is so lopsided, and the groom's family cannot contribute enough to compensate for this, that I don't want the side paying for it to be resentful.

Just wondering how people get around lopsided guest lists, I suppose. Beyond asking for contribution, how can you really pare it down?
Have your parents said they'll be resentful if they have to pay for a lopsided guest list? If budget isn't a problem and your fiance's parents can cover some of the extra cost, I guess I don't see the problem. If it's just you worrying about it, you and your fiance could contribute and cover the rest. It doesn't have to be tit for tat, really.

As for the guest list, you're just going to have to draw the line somewhere. You don't actually *have* to invite everyone, and both sides don't have to invite the exact same amount of people. You could just invite aunts and uncles and no cousins, or only adults, no kids under 16 or 18 or whatever makes sense for your guest list.
 

lvcushion

Rough_Rock
Joined
Sep 25, 2011
Messages
31
My parents have always expressed concern in it, even before it was relevant. I will just have to see if his side will contribute anything significant, but I think this is just a headache we'll have to work through. Thanks for the advice.
 

swimmer

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 9, 2007
Messages
2,516
Good luck! The conversation is hard, but know if you don't have it, then it is your own fault if things don't happen the way you really want. Take it from someone who grits her teeth everytime FIL mentions our wedding... I was too chicken to have the sit down convo about numbers when we had space limitation, so my list was wiped out. It is my fault and I should have put on my big girl panties and given the ILs a max number then let them sort it out; it is not fair to them that I'm still annoyed with them over my own foolishness. Yes, a wedding is the blending of families, but you only really get to do it once... though if I do it again, he will be an orphan :saint:
 

wwmd8118

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Feb 24, 2011
Messages
146
I am in a very similar position - we have a total guest list of 200 people with 75 people of FI's family and about 20 of mine. My family is paying for the wedding and has never brought it up as being a problem, so I've never really thought of it as a problem. My sister's wedding was about the same proportion of his family to hers, so it doesn't seem that odd to me. My suggestion is if your family is footing the bill and hasn't capped the number of people or mentioned that they think it's a problem, then I wouldn't worry too much about it. If they have brought it up as being a problem, then other options probably do need to be explored. And I agree completely with Julie: I think you usually create a budget and a guest list and then from there figure out what kind of party you're having. At least that's what we did. Good luck. :)
 

lvcushion

Rough_Rock
Joined
Sep 25, 2011
Messages
31
Thank you so much for all the advice! I'm sure we can figure out some kind of compromise.
 

OUpearlgirl

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 26, 2007
Messages
3,081
I guess, to me, if they aren't paying then they don't get any "non-negotiables." Who are they to say how much money your parents should pay?

For our wedding, we're hoping for 200 guests.. FI and I get to invite 90-100. His parents get 50 invitations, and my parents get 60. Not only are my parents paying, so they have every right to invite a few more people, they also are counting in their numbers the photographer, the minister, etc.

I'm sorry, but I get kind of taken aback when I hear about people having expectations about how money that doesn't belong to them should be spent. Your parents need to figure out the total number of people they are willing to pay for. Then you can figure out how many invitations they can have. Making the guest list is BRUTAL for everyone.
 

yssie

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Aug 14, 2009
Messages
21,130
OUpeargirl|1317606570|3031705 said:
I guess, to me, if they aren't paying then they don't get any "non-negotiables." Who are they to say how much money your parents should pay?

For our wedding, we're hoping for 200 guests.. FI and I get to invite 90-100. His parents get 50 invitations, and my parents get 60. Not only are my parents paying, so they have every right to invite a few more people, they also are counting in their numbers the photographer, the minister, etc.

I'm sorry, but I get kind of taken aback when I hear about people having expectations about how money that doesn't belong to them should be spent. Your parents need to figure out the total number of people they are willing to pay for. Then you can figure out how many invitations they can have. Making the guest list is BRUTAL for everyone.

I feel exactly the same way. At the end of the day the person footing the bill gets the final say - in *whatever* it is, in *every part of whatever it is*.

Talk to your parents, clearly they have concerns. Figure out what they're comfortable with and go from there - you might even find the new tighter (or looser!) parameters save you some agonizing 8)
 

lvcushion

Rough_Rock
Joined
Sep 25, 2011
Messages
31
I really appreciate all these opinions! It is nice to hear other people's experiences and you're right.
 

amc80

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 18, 2010
Messages
5,765
I sort of agree with what everyone else said. You guys should figure out how many are on your personal list and divide what's left between the sides equally. So if you can have 100 people total, and your personal friends are 30 people, then your family gets 35 and his gets 35. You aren't required to invite his entire family just because his family doesn't want to make the tough decisions.
 

OUpearlgirl

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 26, 2007
Messages
3,081
amc80|1317677963|3032341 said:
I sort of agree with what everyone else said. You guys should figure out how many are on your personal list and divide what's left between the sides equally. So if you can have 100 people total, and your personal friends are 30 people, then your family gets 35 and his gets 35. You aren't required to invite his entire family just because his family doesn't want to make the tough decisions.
Exactly! I'm having to make tough decisions and not invite all of my cousins. It sucks, but my parents also can't pay for a 300 person wedding. Or, change your priorities. Have a barbecue in the backyard and invite everybody!
 

KatyWI

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Nov 20, 2008
Messages
755
Really? Sorry if this comes off as harsh, but it is what it is! If your parents want to pay for the wedding, they have to assume they will pay for everyone that really should be invited.

I had 3 immediate family members and 6 non-immediate family members at my wedding. My husband had somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 family members, immediate and extended. But they are a very close family, and as in your situation, to invite one is to invite all.

My parents were reasonably generous, but we did have a limit. We were free to spend less and keep the cash, or more and cover it ourselves. My husband's family doesn't have two spare pennies to rub together, so we didn't get one cent from them. So what my parents didn't cover, we paid for out of our savings. And neither I nor my parents resent my DH's family at all.

I love my husband, and I very much like his family. Because of the wedding, they are MY family now, and I would never for a second have considered not inviting them because my family happens to be so small!!

Ask your parents what they are comfortable spending, and have the wedding you can afford based on what they can give you and what you can save yourselves. If your fiance's family has money they can contribute as well, even better!
 

vc10um

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 22, 2009
Messages
6,006
KatyWI|1317691059|3032547 said:
Really? Sorry if this comes off as harsh, but it is what it is! If your parents want to pay for the wedding, they have to assume they will pay for everyone that really should be invited.

I had 3 immediate family members and 6 non-immediate family members at my wedding. My husband had somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 family members, immediate and extended. But they are a very close family, and as in your situation, to invite one is to invite all.

My parents were reasonably generous, but we did have a limit. We were free to spend less and keep the cash, or more and cover it ourselves. My husband's family doesn't have two spare pennies to rub together, so we didn't get one cent from them. So what my parents didn't cover, we paid for out of our savings. And neither I nor my parents resent my DH's family at all.

I love my husband, and I very much like his family. Because of the wedding, they are MY family now, and I would never for a second have considered not inviting them because my family happens to be so small!!

Ask your parents what they are comfortable spending, and have the wedding you can afford based on what they can give you and what you can save yourselves. If your fiance's family has money they can contribute as well, even better!
Ditto every.last.word. My wedding was 85 people. In DH's hometown. We DID have a bit more wiggle room to invite a few more of my friends than KatyWI, but in the end, it was roughly 60 (all DH's family):25 (my family and friends). My mother paid for every last expense, but only because she gave us a number, and I managed to plan the wedding within that number. DH's family contributed ~$500 to pay for the rehearsal dinner for 19, which was slightly skewed in number to favor my family (since I had an extra bridal party member). Had we gone over the money my mother was generously gifting us, we would have paid the expenses out of pocket and done so gladly.
 

violette

Rough_Rock
Joined
Sep 11, 2011
Messages
5
I completely agree with the last two posters. You and your FI should create the guest list that you want, and if your mom wants to pay fine, but if not then the two of you should figure out a way to make it work. If you truly want a small wedding that's one thing, but if you both want your FI's family there then make that work.

I'm in a similar situation -- my family is small *and* out of town, and FI's family is larger and local. My FI's family already treats me like family, I love them, and can't imagine not inviting his aunts, uncles, and cousins. That said, inviting all the people we truly care about and want to share in our day (roughly 120-150 people) is one of our top priorities. Sure, with our budget that means no fancy $60+/head catered meal or 3k dress for me, but we don't want to compromise on our guest list. Now I'm not at all saying that's what everyone should do, just that there are different ways to compromise when staying w/in budget, and all couples need to figure out their own priorities.
 

mogster

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jul 7, 2011
Messages
364
I'm kind of in a similar situation. FI has ten family members whereas I have forty who will be attending the wedding. On top of that, my grandmother wants to invite her entire extended family (thirty additional people) whom I've only met a handful of times in my life. FI and I will be paying for our own wedding which means that we'll be paying for the folks we envisioned at our wedding however lopsided it is. I don't like the idea of the ability to buy into our wedding (meaning someone could invite whomever as long as they paid for it), but I understand that my grandmother is excited and I can't really turn her down, and since I hadn't orignally budgeted for the additional folks, I expect her to help out.
 

nkarma

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jul 13, 2009
Messages
636
KatyWI|1317691059|3032547 said:
Really? Sorry if this comes off as harsh, but it is what it is! If your parents want to pay for the wedding, they have to assume they will pay for everyone that really should be invited.

I had 3 immediate family members and 6 non-immediate family members at my wedding. My husband had somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 family members, immediate and extended. But they are a very close family, and as in your situation, to invite one is to invite all.

My parents were reasonably generous, but we did have a limit. We were free to spend less and keep the cash, or more and cover it ourselves. My husband's family doesn't have two spare pennies to rub together, so we didn't get one cent from them. So what my parents didn't cover, we paid for out of our savings. And neither I nor my parents resent my DH's family at all.

I love my husband, and I very much like his family. Because of the wedding, they are MY family now, and I would never for a second have considered not inviting them because my family happens to be so small!!

Ask your parents what they are comfortable spending, and have the wedding you can afford based on what they can give you and what you can save yourselves. If your fiance's family has money they can contribute as well, even better!
Double ditto. Do you split your friends in half too. What if your FI has 5 more friends than you do? Does he pay for them separately. Isn't the whole point of having a wedding celebrating with the ones you love??? If you or your parents can't afford to have a large guest list, then do something more lowkey or invite a lot less people but be fair about it. Are you guys going to do tit for tat with money in your marriage?
 

slg47

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 4, 2010
Messages
9,667
nkarma|1317957762|3035088 said:
KatyWI|1317691059|3032547 said:
Really? Sorry if this comes off as harsh, but it is what it is! If your parents want to pay for the wedding, they have to assume they will pay for everyone that really should be invited.

I had 3 immediate family members and 6 non-immediate family members at my wedding. My husband had somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 family members, immediate and extended. But they are a very close family, and as in your situation, to invite one is to invite all.

My parents were reasonably generous, but we did have a limit. We were free to spend less and keep the cash, or more and cover it ourselves. My husband's family doesn't have two spare pennies to rub together, so we didn't get one cent from them. So what my parents didn't cover, we paid for out of our savings. And neither I nor my parents resent my DH's family at all.

I love my husband, and I very much like his family. Because of the wedding, they are MY family now, and I would never for a second have considered not inviting them because my family happens to be so small!!

Ask your parents what they are comfortable spending, and have the wedding you can afford based on what they can give you and what you can save yourselves. If your fiance's family has money they can contribute as well, even better!
Double ditto. Do you split your friends in half too. What if your FI has 5 more friends than you do? Does he pay for them separately. Isn't the whole point of having a wedding celebrating with the ones you love??? If you or your parents can't afford to have a large guest list, then do something more lowkey or invite a lot less people but be fair about it. Are you guys going to do tit for tat with money in your marriage?
yes the point is celebrating with the ones you love BUT weddings are expensive. If the bride's parents can only afford to pay for 50 guests and there are 150...the money has to come from somewhere.

if the guest list remains...either someone else needs to chip in or the wedding needs to be scaled down to accommodate all of the guests.

or the guest list can be trimmed to fit the budget.
 

swingirl

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 6, 2006
Messages
5,660
Families are usually not even in size. Accept the money your family is offering and cover the rest yourself. If your fiance's family is well off they may offer to chip in if they asked.

My DH and I planned a wedding we could afford. The first thing we did was count up all the non-negotiable guests and go from there. I couldn't imagine leaving out important family members from either side.
 
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