Etiquette

Parents Treating Invitations Like Oprah Treats Gifts -- Everybody Gets One!

I know there are lots of posts about uninvited guests and guests invited by parents, but I'm so frustrated by this that I really just need to vent.

My parents are paying for the reception venue + catering, FI and I are covering the rest. We agreed on a number of guests based on what my parents could afford. Guest list has been set, save the dates have been mailed, invitation proofs get approved tomorrow. All good so far.

Last night I got a message from a couple who are friends with my brother. My bro lives out of state and these are people he met in his current location. I've met them twice; perfectly decent humans, but 100% his friends. My parents went to visit my bro last month and were at a dinner this couple also attended. My mom, being excited MOB, started talking about the wedding. Couple says, "that sounds like so much fun. Wish we could go." My dad says he's paying, so they can. I found all of this out last night when I got a FB message from this woman saying they had invited themselves to the wedding and she hoped it was okay. I called my parents to discuss and was told it's their money and the decision has been made that they get added.

I have agreed to every person they have requested up until now. We are at max capacity per budget. If my dad wants to go over, that's on him, but it breaks my heart that there are people I have on my "wish I could if money allowed" list who won't get to attend, but this couple can because, as my parents admitted, "we were caught up in the moment, but what's done is done."

Just had to get that off my chest. Back to the crying now.
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Re: Parents Treating Invitations Like Oprah Treats Gifts -- Everybody Gets One!

  • Stand up for yourself. Reply to that couple and say “actually you aren’t invited, my parents shouldn’t have made that offer, you can’t come.”  You don’t know them and will never meet them. 

    And tell your parents that that if they want to discuss the guest list again, that’s fine, but everyone has to stick to it, and that you set the number for a reason.
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs
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    Kelli_W14 said:
    I know there are lots of posts about uninvited guests and guests invited by parents, but I'm so frustrated by this that I really just need to vent.

    My parents are paying for the reception venue + catering, FI and I are covering the rest. We agreed on a number of guests based on what my parents could afford. Guest list has been set, save the dates have been mailed, invitation proofs get approved tomorrow. All good so far.

    Last night I got a message from a couple who are friends with my brother. My bro lives out of state and these are people he met in his current location. I've met them twice; perfectly decent humans, but 100% his friends. My parents went to visit my bro last month and were at a dinner this couple also attended. My mom, being excited MOB, started talking about the wedding. Couple says, "that sounds like so much fun. Wish we could go." My dad says he's paying, so they can. I found all of this out last night when I got a FB message from this woman saying they had invited themselves to the wedding and she hoped it was okay. I called my parents to discuss and was told it's their money and the decision has been made that they get added.

    I have agreed to every person they have requested up until now. We are at max capacity per budget. If my dad wants to go over, that's on him, but it breaks my heart that there are people I have on my "wish I could if money allowed" list who won't get to attend, but this couple can because, as my parents admitted, "we were caught up in the moment, but what's done is done."

    Just had to get that off my chest. Back to the crying now.
    Unfortunately, you are a victim of the Wedding 101 rule that says,  "he who pays, has a say" . 

    If your parents added guests, it must mean that you are NOT at capacity in terms of how many guests your venue can hold.  There is YOUR loophole.  If you really want some "wish" list guests to attend, find a way to cut some of your personal costs, or a way to save some additional money to include them.

    Obviously your nearest and dearest are on the "first cut" list.  This is nothing to cry over. 

    We paid for both my DD and DS's weddings.  We gifted it, so there were NO strings attached.  I was more than a little surprised when my son added a distant uncle and his family to the VERY small list over a set of friends who had supported him his entire life.  It upset me more than even I realized it would, but this is a relative I have disliked for a long time.  I voiced my shock, but then let it go.  My son had his reasons.  I disagreed with them but it was not my guest list.  I do understand your frustration, but it is not worth crying over.
    ahoyweddingInLoveInQueens
  • ahoyweddingahoywedding
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    edited November 2017
    So, if your parents are paying, they get a say in the guest list, and it's kind of up to them if they want to increase the budget for someone they want to invite. Have you talked to your parents about this? You could mention why the people on your "nice to have list" are important to you. If your parents really got "caught up in the moment" and maybe didn't mean to invite that couple, would they be willing to call them and clear things up that they're not invited? Also, maybe that other couple got caught up in the moment and really won't attend, seeing as it's out of state. "Oh sounds nice, wish we could attend" sounds like one of those polite things you say just to say SOMETHING (like asking "how are you?" and not waiting for a response).

    You could also look for other ways to either trim costs or increase the amount you & your FI can contribute to the budget, so you can invite those additional guests you'd like to include. I can't remember if I read it here or on another board, but one of the posters figured out the TOTAL cost per guest (including food, bar, seating if you're paying to rent tables, etc) and every time she & her FI wanted to spend money, they put it in terms of how many wedding guests that would cover. Once you break that down, you might find you're able to accommodate more people than you think (following your venue's occupancy limits of course!).
    short+sassycharlotte989875InLoveInQueens
  • PPs have good suggestions.

    But I have to admit, if it were me and my parents were paying for reception/catering anyway...which I realize aren't all the costs for extra guests...I'd just let it go.  Yes, they shouldn't have been invited, but it is only one couple and the damage is done.  As long as it doesn't put the venue over capacity, ie fire code.

    However, I would make another point to and make sure my parents understand that the guest list is FINALIZED.  No more "off the cuff" invites.  They need to be more careful.  They set their own budget for a reason and also explain that more guests also cut into the budget for what you and your FI are paying for.

    Quite frankly, my own FI (now H) made the same mistake.  Major eyeroll.  We were having a VERY intimate wedding, with only 35 guests.  He ran into a casual friend and former coworker, just by happenstance, while we were planning our wedding.  As they were chit-chatting, he mentioned that we had gotten engaged and threw out a, "Hey, you and your g/f should come to our wedding!"  They're perfectly nice people, but we hadn't done anything with this couple in 2-3 years.  I was a bit annoyed he'd invited them, because all our other guests were very close family and friends.  Luckily, we could have fit them in...barely...and we certainly sent an invite.  The only saving grace was we all live in NOLA, but the wedding was in CA.  So they ended up declining anyway, because of the g/f's work schedule.

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    Jen4948SP29
  • I think what you need to do is advise if these two people are making additional changes to YOUR agreed-upon budget and if that's the case then ask for the additional funds.   All of this could be an increased cost for you depending on pricing brackets but it may not be a huge one.  

    I would be clear though that this isn't simply an increase cost that your parents have incurred.   They spent your money without your consent.   You can push back and say no or you can have a good, long discussion about why you should have a discussion and agreement before increasing the guest list of an event with multiple financiers. 
    southernbelle0915charlotte989875SP29
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
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    edited November 2017
    I would sit down with your parents and FI and say, "I understand that you issued these invitations on the spur of the moment because you were excited. However, we now have to come up with the additional funds and space to accommodate them. We are no longer in a position to accommodate any extra guests.

    If you run into old friends or acquaintances who are not invited but indicate that they want to come, we need you, regardless of how excited you are, not to issue any verbal invitations to them. That means that we need you to respond to anyone who does this, "We're so sorry, but unfortunately we aren't able to extend invitations to everyone we would have liked to invite."
    short+sassy
  • You are all beautiful, wonderful, helpful people! In reality, though, the damage really is done and I need to just let it go now. To clarify a couple of things -- my parents offered to assist with the wedding to the tune of 5 jelly beans. We realized that "dream wedding" would be more like 7 jelly beans, so FI and I decided to cover the difference. We also determined that my parents' contribution would be best towards venue, which provides catering, bar, linens, tables, chairs, and the band. We also figured out that their jelly beans equate to 200 people. Before this mishap, we were at 199. We're only at about 60% of the venue's capacity, so no biggie there. This is about money capacity, but it's their money, so what are a couple of extra people, I guess. As for tge details of our expenses, the bulk order of favors had a few too many pieces, and I ordered a few extra invitations. The wedding is in one of those charming Southern cities that does it cocktail style, so the tables and chairs are a set amount that will already be too few, and food is buffet style. She said they always wanted to attend a "magical southern wedding" -- I guess having nowhere to sit and standing in line for food is some unicorn and wizard shit to some folks.

    I did call my parents after getting this woman's message to ask what on earth she was talking about and to let them know that I was shocked at her rudeness. My mother has decided, for reasons that elude me, that this couple will be her cross to die on. I finally responded to the woman and said, "we'd be delighted to have you -- please send me your address." End scene.

    The really fun thing I will leave all of you with is this -- FI and I were talking about it all last night and he suggested that since there is a big event in town the day after our wedding, the couple may not be able to find a reasonably priced hotel and might back out. I looked at our room block report to see how many spots were left on it, and, lo and behold, there was rude woman's name on the top of the list. Why even bother asking my permission when you've already booked a room? Ah, the joys of planning a wedding!
    charlotte989875
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
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    Don't expect a nice gift from Ms. Intrusive Guest...just a lot of grief.

    Oh, and don't expect her to issue you any invitations. As far as she's concerned, you weren't any more necessary to your wedding than your astral body.
  • @Jen4948 That's pretty much all I expect. It doesn't matter how many times my relatives try to claim she misspoke; she made it explicitly clear it wasn't about me, my fiance, or the celebration of our marriage through her focus on "sounds like so much fun" and "we want to experience AN (our town) wedding." It chaps me that I have to deal with them being in our adorable boutique hotel with the nearest and dearest. I might need to plant some folks to repeatedly ask how they know us and make her feel uncomfortable, though FI probably wouldn't go for that since he keeps telling me to take the high road. What a guy!
  • Lots of people have people they don't want at their wedding. My parents paid for most of ours. And they said we should invite this couple who have been long time family friends. I've never liked them due to some not so nice things she'd said in the past. (We were homeschooled, she was a teacher and didn't approve of or like homeschooling. That's the way to immediately get on my crap list.) It wasn't a small wedding and they even lived nearby so no possibility they wouldn't come if invited. I hemmed and hawed, but I knew I should and I wasn't going to die on that hill, so I was like whatever. 

    They came, I said hi in the receiving line and didn't see them again. And I got the most hilarious photo from the receiving line. The photog got a photo while the woman is talking to my mom next to me and I have the most prim, polite, pleasant expression on my face. It is totally not the joyous smiles in all the other receiving line photos. I know what was going through my head and it's so funny to look at the photo now!

    short+sassyOliveOilsMom
  • I'm confused, I thought you said the couple were perfectly decent people whom you had met but weren't friends with - they were your brother's friends. I understand you not wanting them at your wedding - justifiably so- but don't understand the snark toward them. 
    InLoveInQueensMyNameIsNot
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs
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    Kelli_W14 said:
    You are all beautiful, wonderful, helpful people! In reality, though, the damage really is done and I need to just let it go now. To clarify a couple of things -- my parents offered to assist with the wedding to the tune of 5 jelly beans. We realized that "dream wedding" would be more like 7 jelly beans, so FI and I decided to cover the difference. We also determined that my parents' contribution would be best towards venue, which provides catering, bar, linens, tables, chairs, and the band. We also figured out that their jelly beans equate to 200 people. Before this mishap, we were at 199. We're only at about 60% of the venue's capacity, so no biggie there. This is about money capacity, but it's their money, so what are a couple of extra people, I guess. As for tge details of our expenses, the bulk order of favors had a few too many pieces, and I ordered a few extra invitations. The wedding is in one of those charming Southern cities that does it cocktail style, so the tables and chairs are a set amount that will already be too few, and food is buffet style. She said they always wanted to attend a "magical southern wedding" -- I guess having nowhere to sit and standing in line for food is some unicorn and wizard shit to some folks.

    I did call my parents after getting this woman's message to ask what on earth she was talking about and to let them know that I was shocked at her rudeness. My mother has decided, for reasons that elude me, that this couple will be her cross to die on. I finally responded to the woman and said, "we'd be delighted to have you -- please send me your address." End scene.

    The really fun thing I will leave all of you with is this -- FI and I were talking about it all last night and he suggested that since there is a big event in town the day after our wedding, the couple may not be able to find a reasonably priced hotel and might back out. I looked at our room block report to see how many spots were left on it, and, lo and behold, there was rude woman's name on the top of the list. Why even bother asking my permission when you've already booked a room? Ah, the joys of planning a wedding!
    Your only contribution is for the favors and invitations?  You could easily skip the favors. 

    You have a much bigger issue than two "unwanted" guests, or any perceived rudeness on their part.  Pass the word that guests will have to duke it out for a place to sit and that should reduce your RSVP's.  This lack of chairs should be your cross.  If it isn't, you really have no place calling anyone out on their rudeness.
    InLoveInQueens
  • Let's focus on a real problem here - you have to have a seat for every person. Period. Buffet or cocktail style doesn't matter. Everyone deserves to be able to sit and have a place to put their purse, camera etc. 
    STARMOON44ahoyweddingInLoveInQueens
  • Let me go ahead and clarify a few things.

    Our contribution - I mentioned favors and invitations because a couple other folks had talked about them as potentially being increased costs on our end when extra guests are added. The actual costs for me and FI are all the things that aren't reception hall, food, drinks, and reception music - officiant, dress, photographer, baker, hair & makeup, florist, ceremony & reception decor, event permits, etc.

    Seating - I was extra dramatic on the seating. It's not as bad as it sounds. The venue will have seating in the main room for 75% of the guests. There will be seating on the 2 covered balconies (floor-to-ceiling windows and open doors, right off the dance floor - still part of the action) for another 10%. We have cocktail tables at each food station and surrounding the dance floor for the remaining 15%. I fully understand that budgeting means not inviting over your limits on the assumption that people won't show up, so we didn't do that, but on the off chance that people don't attend we may actually end up with chairs for everyone. It's cocktail party-style seating and food stations (not one long buffet line). We also don't have the meal formally served at a set moment, so there isn't any time where everyone needs to be seated. In all my life as a wedding guest or bridal party member, I'd only ever been to weddings like this and it has always been fine, then I met my fiance. About 3 years ago he brought me to a wedding that had a formal meal and seating assignments and my mind was blown. My first order of business at our venue was asking how I could make that happen. They said we could rent additional tables and chairs, but to accommodate them we would have to lose the food stations and go to a plated meal... at a cost of DOUBLE per person. It wasn't in the cards for us without slashing the guest list. We all have different priorities for our weddings, and that's a wonderful thing. Ours was to maintain our list and make it work. We've put information on our website for our out of town guests and are spreading the word on what to expect to those used to something different. Trust me, I get the struggles of balancing plates, drinks, and purses. Every single time I've tried that I've ended up either wearing my food or wearing my drink. We've worked very hard to make sure that isn't an issue for our guests and I'm confident it will all be fine.

    Why the snark - yes, I said they seemed to be decent people the 2 times I've met them. Neither of those interactions were in settings where we could really get to know each other, they were at a couple of tailgate parties for football games. Everyone is polite and happy there. My snark is because inserting yourself into someone's wedding is not cool. They happened to be at the same dinner as my parents last month (which would mark their 3rd time meeting this couple) and put my folks in an awkward position by talking about how much they wanted to attend. I have no idea what is motivating them to want to come so badly. Should my parents have played it differently with a "we'll talk to the bride" instead of awkwardly blurting "oh, that shouldn't be a problem"? Absolutely, but what's done is done. To have then sent me a message saying "I'm sure you heard I butted in and invited us to your wedding" followed by "hope it's OK" when they had, in fact, already booked hotel rooms and made travel plans has me so thrown for a loop that I now don't actually know what to make of these folks. Who does that? Maybe they really love weddings, maybe they were planning on coming to this town for something else, maybe my brother has played a larger role in egging all of this on and hasn't owned up to it, but I truly don't know anything beyond the message she sent me and the conversation I had with my parents. (My brother only says that they said they wanted to come and parents said it was OK - end of story.)

    The bottom line is that they're in. We can rework and re-prioritize to help get in some more people, and we may very well do that. The whole point of the post was to vent, which I have done and have now made peace with it. Thanks for being an ear to a fellow bride having a brief meltdown. I hope you all enjoy perfectly executed, awesome weddings and loads of happiness!
  • Kelli_W14 said:
    Let me go ahead and clarify a few things.

    Our contribution - I mentioned favors and invitations because a couple other folks had talked about them as potentially being increased costs on our end when extra guests are added. The actual costs for me and FI are all the things that aren't reception hall, food, drinks, and reception music - officiant, dress, photographer, baker, hair & makeup, florist, ceremony & reception decor, event permits, etc.

    Seating - I was extra dramatic on the seating. It's not as bad as it sounds. The venue will have seating in the main room for 75% of the guests. There will be seating on the 2 covered balconies (floor-to-ceiling windows and open doors, right off the dance floor - still part of the action) for another 10%. We have cocktail tables at each food station and surrounding the dance floor for the remaining 15%. I fully understand that budgeting means not inviting over your limits on the assumption that people won't show up, so we didn't do that, but on the off chance that people don't attend we may actually end up with chairs for everyone. It's cocktail party-style seating and food stations (not one long buffet line). We also don't have the meal formally served at a set moment, so there isn't any time where everyone needs to be seated. In all my life as a wedding guest or bridal party member, I'd only ever been to weddings like this and it has always been fine, then I met my fiance. About 3 years ago he brought me to a wedding that had a formal meal and seating assignments and my mind was blown. My first order of business at our venue was asking how I could make that happen. They said we could rent additional tables and chairs, but to accommodate them we would have to lose the food stations and go to a plated meal... at a cost of DOUBLE per person. It wasn't in the cards for us without slashing the guest list. We all have different priorities for our weddings, and that's a wonderful thing. Ours was to maintain our list and make it work. We've put information on our website for our out of town guests and are spreading the word on what to expect to those used to something different. Trust me, I get the struggles of balancing plates, drinks, and purses. Every single time I've tried that I've ended up either wearing my food or wearing my drink. We've worked very hard to make sure that isn't an issue for our guests and I'm confident it will all be fine.

    -SNIP-
    But you kind of ARE planning that people won't show, if that's the only time you'll have enough seating for everyone. 

    I'm not sure what you mean by the meal won't "formally" be served at a certain time, but usually there is some defined order of events for the evening. How long is your reception? Will the food be sitting out all night for people to graze? I only ask because most of the time at weddings, guests expect a kind of certain order of events, and usually plan on some kind of defined dinner time. So you might have more people trying to sit and eat at once than you expect.
    InLoveInQueens
  • You could line some extra chairs along outside walls to make sure there is enough seating. That still means people balancing plates and drinks while eating but it's better than nothing. 
  • Chairgate 2017! Take a deep breath and repeat after me: "Not my monkeys, not my circus."
  • Thank you @southernbelle0915, I hate it when people claim a whole region is rude to justify their own rudeness.
    MobKazjustsieredoryxInLoveInQueens
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs
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    edited November 2017
    @Kelli_W14said, "It wasn't in the cards for us without slashing the guest list. We all have different priorities for our weddings, and that's a wonderful thing. Ours was to maintain our list and make it work. We've put information on our website for our out of town guests and are spreading the word on what to expect to those used to something different."

    We should all have the SAME priority for a wedding, and that is to host it properly.  No one on an etiquette board would prioritize anything over poor hospitality.  You may have "kept your guest list" but you absolutely did NOT "make it work".

    I am curious as to the "information" you are sharing on your website insofar as what to expect.

    Dear Guests,

    Please wear comfortable shoes because we chose not to keep your comfort in mind.   Exchange your purse for a backpack to free up your hands in order to better balance your plate and beverage as you attempt to stand and eat.

    Regards,
    Rude Host and Hostess

    You are right about one thing.....with the balancing act you expect your guests to make, your wedding will resemble a circus.
    ahoyweddingInLoveInQueens
  • So even if people eat at different times, it's not going to work out like you think.

    The people who get there first will put their purses/coats/cameras etc at the table. They will keep the table the whole night whether they're eating or not.
    Also, since seats aren't assigned, the tables won't be full. A group of 5 might take a table for 6 and this will happen all over.

    The people will do the same in the balcony area. But they have the added bonus of being exiled in a separate room and having to carry plates and drinks up stairs in high heels.

    And the rest will be left with no seating... the entire night.

    Also... people like to eat. I have never once gone to a wedding and thought, "Well, the buffet line is open now... but I think I'll wait to eat for a while." I'm pretty sure no one has. With a few rare exceptions, everyone is going to want to eat as soon as they are allowed to eat.

    Also, I think very few people would prefer a food station and no chair to a seated meal and a chair. It's hard to appreciate slightly yummier food when you don't have a place to eat it.


    You should switch to the seated meal and/or cut your guest list.
    At the very least you need to bring in extra chairs along the wall or something and even then it's still really bad.


    ahoyweddingILoveBeachMusicInLoveInQueens
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
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    I was with you up until you said there wouldn't be enough chairs for everyone to have a seat.

    Then you lost me. Sorry, but politeness requires that there has to be a seat for everyone at the ceremony and the reception. No exceptions. This is one of the few things that are required.
    ahoywedding
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs
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    Jen4948 said:
    I was with you up until you said there wouldn't be enough chairs for everyone to have a seat.

    Then you lost me. Sorry, but politeness requires that there has to be a seat for everyone at the ceremony and the reception. No exceptions. This is one of the few things that are required.
    OP would disagree with you, as she has explained that "they have a different priority".  They clearly are the exception because they  "are spreading the word on what to expect to those used to something different"   polite and appropriate hospitality.
    Jen4948InLoveInQueens
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
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    MobKaz said:
    Jen4948 said:
    I was with you up until you said there wouldn't be enough chairs for everyone to have a seat.

    Then you lost me. Sorry, but politeness requires that there has to be a seat for everyone at the ceremony and the reception. No exceptions. This is one of the few things that are required.
    OP would disagree with you, as she has explained that "they have a different priority".  They clearly are the exception because they  "are spreading the word on what to expect to those used to something different"   polite and appropriate hospitality.
    Oh, I know she would disagree with me. But since she asked our advice, that's what it is.
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