Etiquette

Groom's guest list is huge, bride's parents footing the bill though

Hey there...

So I'm under a bit of stress about the budget and guest list... My parents are helping with a lot of the high-cost items for our wedding... Venue, food and alcohol namely. The source of stress is that my fiancé has a massive family (tons of aunts, uncles, and cousins) that he thinks should all be invited and it's really not in the budget. We had in mind not to invite more than 150, thinking probably 130 would come... And right now our list is at 180.  His guest list is significantly longer than mine (his is 100+ and mine is less than 70) and he doesn't seem to think anyone can be cut. I don't want him to feel like he has to cut any friends, because he didn't put that many friends on the guest list... Mostly just family. But a lot of the family members on the list I've never even heard him mention, but they are first cousins, etc. so he feels they need to be invited. Plus, his parents haven't even seen the list yet, so I'm guessing his parents will probably have more additions of family members or friends he's forgotten or people who were invited to his two brothers weddings. Oh, not to mention, most of his family lives within an hour, so I'm guessing basically all the family he invites will come. I've trimmed my side as much as possible, but he really hasn't touched his at all because he truly think all the family members he wrote down need to be invited.... But I disagree. Mostly about the people I've never even heard him mention or met. I wouldn't have any problem with inviting all of those people if his parents were helping to foot the bill, but right now all they are helping with is the rehearsal dinner, which we already doing for a very inexpensive amount. I don't want him to feel like he can't invite who he wants, but the expensive items like food, alcohol, tables, chairs, etc. are the things that truly depend on the number of guests, and his side is really taking a major toll on the budget. I just feel kind of stressed because my parents want to help, but his side of the guest list could make this really expensive--more than they are willing to pay and then that cost would probably fall and he and I. How do I approach him or his family about cutting the guest list and/or contributing to the wedding to help off set some of the costs? He and I have already paid for the photographer, rings, honeymoon... Not sure what to ask his family to contribute to if they should. Any ideas or advice on dealing with this would be great!
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Re: Groom's guest list is huge, bride's parents footing the bill though

  • I think you, your FI, and your parents have to have a clear conversation about the budget. Have they offered to pay a certain amount of money, or have they offered to cover certain expenses? What is the budget? If they have promised $x and the wedding costs more than that, it is on you and your FI to make up the difference. 

    After that look at the guest list; if these people are important to your FI, then you have to consider that. Of course you don't have to invite them all, but if this is something that matters to him, I think you definitely have to hear him out. I disagree with the PP who said you have to split the numbers down the middle; equal doesn't always mean fair. If he has more family, then maybe he has a bigger share of the quest list. And it's not on his parents to pay for them. Just because his side didn't offer to pay, doesn't mean he doesn't get to invite who he wants, YKWIM?

    So if you have a guest list of roughly 180, you need to find a venue that can accommodate those people within your budget; maybe it means cutting other things like centerpieces/favors/flowers/etc if it is important to have those people there. Or look into a brunch/afternoon option. Or look in to cutting the guest list. Think about what is most important to you two and go from there. 
    SP29Knottie58db04277ec3fdbfInLoveInQueens
  • I'm curious why his family needs to see the list when they aren't helping?
    Don't approach them though, that's poor etiquette!

    Redo the list. Start with immediate family {siblings, parents, grandparents} then close friends.
    Keep an eye on the amount {use a numbered list if that's easier}
    Add aunts and uncles that you are close to before adding those you aren't close to.

    Do all of this together, so you can clarify you've never met them. My husband has a stepdad and knew the extended family, so his 'side' was larger than mine. When adding them to the list, I double and triple checked he had met them and was friendly with them. Majority was a yes, but a few we opted to not invite because he wasn't close with them or familiar/friendly.


    If the list goes longer than you'd hoped, see what you can cut back on for other things.
    <iframe width="350" height="240" src="https://w2.countingdownto.com/1982415" frameborder="0"></iframe>
  • Thanks for the opinions... I guess it's frustrating because I feel we have been major bargainers on every single aspect of the wedding thus far. The venue, dress, photographer, cake... We've all been able to get for a really, really good price. We're doing a brunch wedding, so we trimmed costs there, we aren't doing many flowers... We've done everything as budget-friendly as possible to match our budget and vision so far. We know exactly what my parents are contributing and we talked about our own budget, but he just doesn't seem to see that there is a cost for every single person we invite and that will end up falling on us. We probably will need to start from scratch on the guest list and go from there, because there's really not any other areas we can cut back on. We really aren't having an elaborate wedding by any means. Even though we are doing a simple brunch, the food will probably be the most expensive part and that's really because you have to factor in every person on the guest list... So I guess we will start from scratch there. 
  • Thanks for the opinions... I guess it's frustrating because I feel we have been major bargainers on every single aspect of the wedding thus far. The venue, dress, photographer, cake... We've all been able to get for a really, really good price. We're doing a brunch wedding, so we trimmed costs there, we aren't doing many flowers... We've done everything as budget-friendly as possible to match our budget and vision so far. We know exactly what my parents are contributing and we talked about our own budget, but he just doesn't seem to see that there is a cost for every single person we invite and that will end up falling on us. We probably will need to start from scratch on the guest list and go from there, because there's really not any other areas we can cut back on. We really aren't having an elaborate wedding by any means. Even though we are doing a simple brunch, the food will probably be the most expensive part and that's really because you have to factor in every person on the guest list... So I guess we will start from scratch there. 
    If you know the type of event you're hosting then you need to work with the caterers to get an actual cost / head.

    Is your venue all inclusive or are you bringing in /renting?   Is it a buffet or do you have a per head price? 

    I think until you have a concrete figure from your venue  and / or caterer you can't really crunch the figures. 
  • ILoveBeachMusicILoveBeachMusic Indiana
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary 5 Answers
    member
    I'm curious why his family needs to see the list when they aren't helping?
    Don't approach them though, that's poor etiquette!

    Redo the list. Start with immediate family {siblings, parents, grandparents} then close friends.
    Keep an eye on the amount {use a numbered list if that's easier}
    Add aunts and uncles that you are close to before adding those you aren't close to.

    Do all of this together, so you can clarify you've never met them. My husband has a stepdad and knew the extended family, so his 'side' was larger than mine. When adding them to the list, I double and triple checked he had met them and was friendly with them. Majority was a yes, but a few we opted to not invite because he wasn't close with them or familiar/friendly.


    If the list goes longer than you'd hoped, see what you can cut back on for other things.
     To the bolded I think a lot of times this is a courtesy so that no one is inadvertently excluded who should be invited. SIL's parents didn't contribute but we certainly encouraged them to invite friends and family. Having just gone through a wedding where as the parents of the groom we had no idea who was invited, it left us with a feeling of being excluded. 
    Knottie58db04277ec3fdbfcharlotte989875STARMOON44ahoywedding
  • I'm curious why his family needs to see the list when they aren't helping?
    Don't approach them though, that's poor etiquette!

    Redo the list. Start with immediate family {siblings, parents, grandparents} then close friends.
    Keep an eye on the amount {use a numbered list if that's easier}
    Add aunts and uncles that you are close to before adding those you aren't close to.

    Do all of this together, so you can clarify you've never met them. My husband has a stepdad and knew the extended family, so his 'side' was larger than mine. When adding them to the list, I double and triple checked he had met them and was friendly with them. Majority was a yes, but a few we opted to not invite because he wasn't close with them or familiar/friendly.


    If the list goes longer than you'd hoped, see what you can cut back on for other things.
     To the bolded I think a lot of times this is a courtesy so that no one is inadvertently excluded who should be invited. SIL's parents didn't contribute but we certainly encouraged them to invite friends and family. Having just gone through a wedding where as the parents of the groom we had no idea who was invited, it left us with a feeling of being excluded. 
    Ah okay.
    We never asked my mum if anyone was missing, maybe because I knew already who I was inviting?
    MIL and sFIL paid for venue/food since their side was bigger.
    <iframe width="350" height="240" src="https://w2.countingdownto.com/1982415" frameborder="0"></iframe>
  • I'm curious why his family needs to see the list when they aren't helping?
    Don't approach them though, that's poor etiquette!

    Redo the list. Start with immediate family {siblings, parents, grandparents} then close friends.
    Keep an eye on the amount {use a numbered list if that's easier}
    Add aunts and uncles that you are close to before adding those you aren't close to.

    Do all of this together, so you can clarify you've never met them. My husband has a stepdad and knew the extended family, so his 'side' was larger than mine. When adding them to the list, I double and triple checked he had met them and was friendly with them. Majority was a yes, but a few we opted to not invite because he wasn't close with them or familiar/friendly.


    If the list goes longer than you'd hoped, see what you can cut back on for other things.
     To the bolded I think a lot of times this is a courtesy so that no one is inadvertently excluded who should be invited. SIL's parents didn't contribute but we certainly encouraged them to invite friends and family. Having just gone through a wedding where as the parents of the groom we had no idea who was invited, it left us with a feeling of being excluded. 
    Agreed.   Plus, it helps to figure out where cuts can be made so there isn't a last minute, "What do you mean they're not invited!?!?
     
    ILoveBeachMusiccharlotte989875
  • banana468 said:
    Thanks for the opinions... I guess it's frustrating because I feel we have been major bargainers on every single aspect of the wedding thus far. The venue, dress, photographer, cake... We've all been able to get for a really, really good price. We're doing a brunch wedding, so we trimmed costs there, we aren't doing many flowers... We've done everything as budget-friendly as possible to match our budget and vision so far. We know exactly what my parents are contributing and we talked about our own budget, but he just doesn't seem to see that there is a cost for every single person we invite and that will end up falling on us. We probably will need to start from scratch on the guest list and go from there, because there's really not any other areas we can cut back on. We really aren't having an elaborate wedding by any means. Even though we are doing a simple brunch, the food will probably be the most expensive part and that's really because you have to factor in every person on the guest list... So I guess we will start from scratch there. 
    If you know the type of event you're hosting then you need to work with the caterers to get an actual cost / head.

    Is your venue all inclusive or are you bringing in /renting?   Is it a buffet or do you have a per head price? 

    I think until you have a concrete figure from your venue  and / or caterer you can't really crunch the figures. 
    Depending on the place, they may want head count even if buffet. Our venue did to ensure how much of things to bring out {including apps}
    <iframe width="350" height="240" src="https://w2.countingdownto.com/1982415" frameborder="0"></iframe>
  • edited October 25
    I think by the very nature that he is a male and doesn't really have a great concept of the expenses of a wedding, he's not totally wrapping his head around the total cost of all of these things. We are still waiting on a final price from the caterers. We are doing a buffet, but all three of the caterers we asked for a price quote wanted a head count as well and were going to price it per person. We have only heard back from one caterer so far and his rate was almost double what we initially budgeted for... Hence my immediate stress... If the other two come in at just as high of a rate, we would need to do more than cut a few from the guest list... We would need to cut it in half basically. He doesn't want to hurt any feelings by inviting 4 of the 5 uncles... or only cousins on his dad's side, but I don't think he understands it's not really about hurt feelings... It's about A) the budget and B ) who we truly want there. He's also a little hung up on having to invite all the same people his brothers did to their weddings. And to someone's point, it was just an act of courtesy to share the guest list with his parents. 
  • Thanks for the opinions... I guess it's frustrating because I feel we have been major bargainers on every single aspect of the wedding thus far. The venue, dress, photographer, cake... We've all been able to get for a really, really good price. We're doing a brunch wedding, so we trimmed costs there, we aren't doing many flowers... We've done everything as budget-friendly as possible to match our budget and vision so far. We know exactly what my parents are contributing and we talked about our own budget, but he just doesn't seem to see that there is a cost for every single person we invite and that will end up falling on us. We probably will need to start from scratch on the guest list and go from there, because there's really not any other areas we can cut back on. We really aren't having an elaborate wedding by any means. Even though we are doing a simple brunch, the food will probably be the most expensive part and that's really because you have to factor in every person on the guest list... So I guess we will start from scratch there. 
    It definitely sounds like you're being thoughtful about costs, and finding ways to budget. That's great. Has your FI been in on all these conversations? If not maybe fill him in on all of this. If so.... man, that's super frustrating.

    To the bolded; this is part of wedding planning. Not to be too blunt here, but who else would pay for expenses beyond what someone else is (generously) offering to contribute? It's your wedding, so of course it falls to you. Maybe share with him that no one else is obligated to pay for your event, and that if these are people he wants to invite you either need to start saving and budgeting your own cash for it, cut yet another thing from your plans, or revise the guest list. 
    short+sassyInLoveInQueens
  • edited October 25
    Does he math? 

    Scrap the list and start over. You've already booked a venue so you know your cost per head and how many guests you can afford. And you can't plan on declines - it's a recipe for going over budget. Plan on 100% and be happy if you save any money (you probably won't because of gratuity and other budget surprises). 

    So because of simple math, you either need to increase your budget or decrease your list. If you can't increase the budget (and no, it's not appropriate to ask his family for money), you need to decrease the list. You can choose to invite in circles (e.g. all aunts/uncles, but no cousins) or just invite who you're close to ("I haven't seen or talked to Uncle Bill in 3 years, but I talk to cousin Amy regularly"). 

    But either way, he needs to cut his list. It's that simple. He can choose how to do it, but it needs to be cut.
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    mollybarker11InLoveInQueensMairePoppy
  • Does he math? 

    Scrap the list and start over. You've already booked a venue so you know your cost per head and how many guests you can afford. And you can't plan on declines - it's a recipe for going over budget. Plan on 100% and be happy if you save any money (you probably won't because of gratuity and other budget surprises). 

    So because of simple math, you either need to increase your budget or decrease your list. If you can't increase the budget (and no, it's not appropriate to ask his family for money), you need to decrease the list. You can choose to invite in circles (e.g. all aunts/uncles, but no cousins) or just invite who you're close to ("I haven't seen or talked to Uncle Bill in 3 years, but I talk to cousin Amy regularly"). 

    But either way, he needs to cut his list. It's that simple. He can choose how to do it, but it needs to be cut.
    All of this.

    You can't plan for people to NOT be there.   You need to figure out how much money you can spend on the reception and then figure out what that gets you for guests. 

    Does he budget for other things??  The way you are posting I just hope that he has some experience understanding that to make a purchase happen the finances for the purchase need to happen first.
    STARMOON44ahoywedding
  • Uh, yes. We are both well aware that it takes money to spend money. 
  • Ro041Ro041
    Fifth Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    member
    If his parents are paying for the rehearsal dinner, they are contributing.  And yay!  That is awesome.  We aren't all that lucky.  With that being said, you cannot approach them and ask them for more money (even if they gave you $1,500 or whatever).  

    I would show him the guest list, the quote from the caterer and what the final bill would be.  Subtract the amount your parents are contributing (again Yay! we aren't all that lucky) and give him the amount that you would owe.  You guys should figure out if you can pay that amount or if the guest list needs to be trimmed down.  Go from there.

    charlotte989875ahoyweddingshort+sassyInLoveInQueens
  • @Ro041 I appreciate you phrasing that so kindly! Sometimes some responses from others are a bit hurtful and curt, rather than helpful and constructive--so thank you!
    Ro041
  • Ro041Ro041
    Fifth Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    member
    Hey there...

    So I'm under a bit of stress about the budget and guest list... My parents are helping with a lot of the high-cost items for our wedding... Venue, food and alcohol namely. The source of stress is that my fiancé has a massive family (tons of aunts, uncles, and cousins) that he thinks should all be invited and it's really not in the budget. We had in mind not to invite more than 150, thinking probably 130 would come... And right now our list is at 180.  His guest list is significantly longer than mine (his is 100+ and mine is less than 70) and he doesn't seem to think anyone can be cut. I don't want him to feel like he has to cut any friends, because he didn't put that many friends on the guest list... Mostly just family. But a lot of the family members on the list I've never even heard him mention, but they are first cousins, etc. so he feels they need to be invited. Plus, his parents haven't even seen the list yet, so I'm guessing his parents will probably have more additions of family members or friends he's forgotten or people who were invited to his two brothers weddings. Oh, not to mention, most of his family lives within an hour, so I'm guessing basically all the family he invites will come. I've trimmed my side as much as possible, but he really hasn't touched his at all because he truly think all the family members he wrote down need to be invited.... But I disagree. Mostly about the people I've never even heard him mention or met. I wouldn't have any problem with inviting all of those people if his parents were helping to foot the bill, but right now all they are helping with is the rehearsal dinner, which we already doing for a very inexpensive amount. I don't want him to feel like he can't invite who he wants, but the expensive items like food, alcohol, tables, chairs, etc. are the things that truly depend on the number of guests, and his side is really taking a major toll on the budget. I just feel kind of stressed because my parents want to help, but his side of the guest list could make this really expensive--more than they are willing to pay and then that cost would probably fall and he and I. How do I approach him or his family about cutting the guest list and/or contributing to the wedding to help off set some of the costs? He and I have already paid for the photographer, rings, honeymoon... Not sure what to ask his family to contribute to if they should. Any ideas or advice on dealing with this would be great!
    JIC 

    Also, the guest lists don't have to be exactly even.  

    Regarding looking for caterers, I will tell you think about wedding planning - FI and I had a disagreement about how much to spend on flowers.  I got 3 quotes.  He thought they were all high.  I invited him to make appointments, attend them and collect more quotes.  He declined and we picked one of the quotes I had gotten but scaled it back a bit.  So, I would probably present him with the three options and the cost per head.  If he doesn't agree with it, he can research cheaper caterers or cut the guest list.  Simple enough.

    Knottie58db04277ec3fdbfcharlotte989875SP29
  • Ro041Ro041
    Fifth Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    member
    @Ro041 I appreciate you phrasing that so kindly! Sometimes some responses from others are a bit hurtful and curt, rather than helpful and constructive--so thank you!
    Most commenters don't intend to be curt or rude.  Most of the time, they are attempting to give a poster honest, good advice that they might not get from friends and family - tough love, if you will.  

    Change your screen name and stick around!

    MissKittyDangershort+sassyMairePoppyMyNameIsNot
  • thisismynickname2thisismynickname2 City By The Lake
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary First Answer
    member
    It doesn't help you now but for the benefit of lurkers, finalize your guest list and your budget (what parents offer, if anything, and what the happy couple can afford) BEFORE doing anything else. Do not book a venue until you're happy with the guest list and can find a venue and everything else involved that fits the budget. 

    Look, I sympathize. This reminds me of Father of the Bride and flying in the Danish relatives, etc. And I get the inherent unfairness of someone (your parents) paying to host tons of people they've never met- unless that is they're happy to do it.  
    So what about this... your FI is insisting certain family members need to be invited, but do they really? Is he close to them? Does he seem them all at least once a year? Is it important to celebrate with all these people even if he sees them once only every few years? Why haven't you met a lot of these people? Are there circles that can be cut without splitting families and hurting feelings?
    FWIW, we wanted a small wedding but DH has a big family- we made our list small based on family and friends we see at least once a year (with the exception of people who live far away but are emotionally close). No obligation invites. Our logic was that if we haven't seen or spoken with someone in a year, they're not close enough to care or us to care if they're there for a wedding. 

    Have your parents already put their foot down on a certain dollar amount that will be exceeded if the list is too big, or are they flexible? Hate to say it but it's sounding like you may be digging into your own pockets. Most of us on these boards partially paid for or fully paid for our weddings. 


    ________________________________


    Knottie58db04277ec3fdbfshort+sassyInLoveInQueens
  • Uh, yes. We are both well aware that it takes money to spend money. 
    Great!  Then he fully understands the financial repercussions of a huge guest list.  Seems like the only option is to re-do the guest list.
    Im sorry if you felt hurt by some of the comments.  They struck me as practical and trying to be helpful.  I’d be more hurt by a FI that is unwilling to compromise and lacks regard for his future in-laws budget.  I ditto PP I’d work on scaling back the guest list...good luck!!
    charlotte989875mollybarker11southernbelle0915InLoveInQueens
  • Though I agree that you cannot ask FILs to contribute, I think it would be fair if after you and your FI have sat down and came up with the guest list you both agree on that has all the people important to the two of you to have at your wedding to have your FI show the list to his family and if his family is so upset great uncle billy that you haven't seen in 10 years isn't invited "It just isn't in the budget for us. If it's important for you to have him there, you can contribute his per head cost of $X" or something like that.

    Other PPs have covered the basics.
    Knottie58db04277ec3fdbf
  • That's a really great suggestion. I think with that approach too, we could say, our budget can afford to feed "x" people, so if someone needs to be added, they could see someone would need to be removed to accommodate that. I think that's a good place to go from. Thanks! @KahluaKoala
    mollybarker11MairePoppy
  • SP29SP29
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    member
    That's exactly what you need to do OP.

    If you know your total budget, have subtracted everything else you've booked so far, and you know the price per person, then you know how many guests you are able to invite. Remember, unless your venue is all inclusive, it's not just the meal and alcohol that costs- its additional tables, chairs, place settings, centerpieces and invitations. If you haven't laid the costs out for your FI yet, then you need to. Even if he isn't interested in wedding planning, you two are going to become a team/family and you both need to be aware of the finances.

    I also agree that your guest list does not need to be 50/50. If FI has a larger family, then it makes sense "his" list would be longer. However, already being at 180 guests for a budget that you expect will cover 150 is wayyyyy off, and guests need to be cut.

    Start over with your guest list. Make a list of "Must Haves" and "Would Like to Have", see where that number gets you.

    While FI's parents are not contributing, it would be considerate to ask them about any must have guests. A good way to do this would be to ask if there is anyone in particular they would really like to see invited, and that you will consider their request. It doesn't mean that just because they give you a list that you have to invite every guest, and many of those guests are likely already on your guest list (family), but it does make sure that you haven't forgotten about anyone in particular. Or, if they have a guest on their "must have" list that is on your "Would Like" list, then perhaps that guest goes higher in priority than your other "Would Like" guests.
  • H and I split the guest list 50/50 but in the end he had a few more and I had a few less. I don't think most people have equal splits but I don't think you should be doing all the cutting.

    I like PPs suggestions.

    Change your name and stick around! Lots of great advice.

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