Etiquette

Approaching a guest list disagreement w/ groom?

First of all, I wasn't sure where to put this, so if this is the wrong place I'll move it.

Anyways, I've started planning with my fiance and our guest list is the first thing I'm trying to get worked out as we're having a small wedding that we are most likely paying for entirely by ourselves. We sat down over it a few nights ago and ever since then I feel a little uncomfortable with some of the names we added.

Essentially, what's going on is that of the 57 guests we've invited, only 17 of the guests are specifically my family and friends. The rest are his friends and family, and a few of those are shared friends. It's not really the discrepancy in number I'm worried about. I don't have many friends and I'm estranged from my father's side of the family so I expected that to happen. 

I guess in short what I'm more concerned about is the number. A chunk of the guest list, the people from his side, are people I don't really know or haven't even heard of (I've met almost all of his friends). And most of them are married with children. Since almost everyone is coming from out of state, we are reluctant to have an adult-only wedding, but this means that with each friend he added we were putting 2-4 more names to the guest list.

I attempted to express to him that I wanted the wedding kept to only our closest friends and family, the people we couldn't see the day without, but he insists that all of the friends he's added are very important to him. I don't want to deprive him of his friends on our wedding day but it's already become clear to me that we need to cut some people. But I have no idea how to approach this with him. 

How have you worked with your spouses (to be) to trim down your guest lists? I'm really nervous about bringing the topic up. I don't want to feel like I'm being unreasonable. Am I being? I just feel that we can't afford the current number of people and I'm also anxious at the prospect of spending my wedding day surrounded by people I hardly know.
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Re: Approaching a guest list disagreement w/ groom?

  • First lines of communication - planning the marriage not just the wedding.  So, a wedding of 57 with most of the guest list spread over the country, as long as you can afford that number of guests if they all decided to show up (happens yet very rare), this isn't a "Hill to die on"..  Ask yourself what the real issue is and if it is a "Hill to die on" issue for you, or is it simply a this is what is important to your groom in the planning process more than any other detail henceforth.  It's about compromise and give/take.  It's also not about how many come from "your side" and "his side" being even.  Now, if you had posted that "He doesn't want anyone significant to me to attend" and they were purposely left off the guest list, or you decided you didn't want to invite people because you want it smaller those are quite different discussions.  But, for him to want those people and you to want those people even if it's slightly larger, and you can afford to host everyone properly if they attend, then it's not worth your energy.  

    The thing about "I hardly know these people!", is that they are significant to FI, and you'll get to know them better as time goes on.  That doesn't mean if you want it smaller you don't have places to trim once you get further along in the budgeting process, but for now, these are discussions to have with your FI on "are these people you feel obliged to invite, or would you be sad to not invite them?"  Obviously, this is the preliminary list and both of you will probably remember a couple more you want in attendance..  

    Your vision may be different than his of the "same" detail.  Think black, white, and grey and all are good!
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    ahoyweddingshort+sassyInLoveInQueenssparklepants41
  • flantasticflantastic The Midwest
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    member
    edited October 7
    elamys said:
    First of all, I wasn't sure where to put this, so if this is the wrong place I'll move it.

    Anyways, I've started planning with my fiance and our guest list is the first thing I'm trying to get worked out as we're having a small wedding that we are most likely paying for entirely by ourselves. We sat down over it a few nights ago and ever since then I feel a little uncomfortable with some of the names we added.

    Essentially, what's going on is that of the 57 guests we've invited, only 17 of the guests are specifically my family and friends. The rest are his friends and family, and a few of those are shared friends. It's not really the discrepancy in number I'm worried about. I don't have many friends and I'm estranged from my father's side of the family so I expected that to happen. 

    I guess in short what I'm more concerned about is the number. A chunk of the guest list, the people from his side, are people I don't really know or haven't even heard of (I've met almost all of his friends). And most of them are married with children. Since almost everyone is coming from out of state, we are reluctant to have an adult-only wedding, but this means that with each friend he added we were putting 2-4 more names to the guest list.

    I attempted to express to him that I wanted the wedding kept to only our closest friends and family, the people we couldn't see the day without, but he insists that all of the friends he's added are very important to him. I don't want to deprive him of his friends on our wedding day but it's already become clear to me that we need to cut some people. But I have no idea how to approach this with him. 

    How have you worked with your spouses (to be) to trim down your guest lists? I'm really nervous about bringing the topic up. I don't want to feel like I'm being unreasonable. Am I being? I just feel that we can't afford the current number of people and I'm also anxious at the prospect of spending my wedding day surrounded by people I hardly know.
    It's possible that you guys have different concepts of what "close" means.

    How long have you two been together? I can see where if I'd never met a "close" friend or family member of DH's (we were together 7 years when we got married, and had been through a couple different life stages/cities), I'd be skeptical that they were really that close. However, I have one good friend from graduate school that I haven't seen in 3 years, for various reasons. I'd want to invite her. Some people can just pick up right where they left off. DH has a couple guys from childhood like this, and one lives in Austria. He made the trip to the wedding.

    If you truly can't afford this many people for your wedding as planned, you need to come up with hard numbers, or tell him what parts of your wedding you'll have to change in order to accommodate bigger numbers. That's part of why we recommend doing budget and guest list first, then looking for a venue that fits those two. BIL and SIL decided their priority was to celebrate with all the people they wanted, even if that meant the venue they could afford for those people was the church basement.

    If you two have different priorities (for example: he wants people, you want pretty venue) you'll have to figure out a way to compromise. That's just a necessary marriage skill. But figure out what each of you want most, even if it means letting go of other aspects of the wedding, and talk about it.

    "Circles" may also be your friend. As a person with a small child, I appreciate your perspective that it's hard to invite people to travel without their kids - but you can still ask that. It's not an all or nothing thing; you don't have to make the wedding "adults only" or invite ALL the kids. We invited nieces and nephews (i.e. our siblings' kids) but not our cousins' kids. People generally understand that, unless you start making exceptions. If you invite one cousin's kid but not another cousin's kids, that's within your rights - you're the hosts and can invite whomever - but that's where people start to get upset over fairness.

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    ahoyweddingshort+sassy
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    member
    edited October 7
    If the issue here is that you really can't afford to invite everyone your FI wants to invite, then yes, you need to tell him that he needs to remove some of these people from the guest list before invitations go out, regardless of how important it is to him that they be invited. It's not reasonable for him to expect you both to go into debt so he can invite more people than you can afford to host properly, including their SOs and vendor meals. And yes, you can remove children, as long as you don't split families by inviting some kids but not others.

    But if it's just that you don't know them, that's not a hill I would die on. 


    MesmrEweahoyweddingshort+sassy
  • I'll echo the others. 

    You two need to TALK to each other.

    Make the list into a spreadsheet and on that spreadsheet make sure that each guest is listed as part of a couple and if you think their children will be invited add them.  Even if the guest is single, add a plus one for now.   The person may not be in a relationship when you send invitations but it's best to stay on the side of larger vs. running out of space/budget.

    Then start to really assess who is on that list.   Talk to your FI and he can decide if these are people that he truly wants by his side.   He can have a bit of time to figure this out.

    Do what you can to start off as big as you think it will be.   Then start to look into how to budget for a list that size.   What are your venue options, food options, etc?   Start to figure out how much it will cost for the food and beverages for all of these people so you can then come up with a realistic budget and dollar value / head. 

    Rather than make this ambiguous make it a clear number situation.   52 people at X per person plus gratuity will mean a bare minimum of Y. 

    Consider buying Bridal Bargains and continuing to document your total costs.  It doesn't need to be an argument but you two should enter into this with a clear understanding of what you're about to do. 
    ahoyweddingMyNameIsNotJen4948
  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut
    Moderator Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    mod
    I do think you're being unreasonable. I very rarely see my two cousins and brother. But I love them and consider them to be my closest family members.  

    Even if you and fi have different concepts of what close means, it's still his perception that all those people are very important to him. My DD and SIL invited their closest family members to their wedding. Our family is small and was vastly outnumbered by the groom's family members. We had my 2 first cousins, their partners and children, my brother and his partner, my aunt, uncle and my parents and 2 cousins on my husbands side. That is our entire family. The groom's closest family on the father's side consisted of first, second and third cousins as well as some not actually blood related 'cousins' who are at all the family milestones. His mother has 1 brother and 4 sisters, their spouses, kids and grandkids. They are all close. Since they live on the other side of the country, cutting the children from the list would have meant that some of the cousins wouldn't be able to attend. My daughter met some of those ILs and a few of his friends for the first time at their wedding. 

    You should talk to your fi about the budget for the wedding. To accommodate your guest list, you may have to dial down your plans a bit or figure out a way to add more money to your budget. 


                
    ShesSoColdeileenrobshort+sassy
  • It’s not uncommon for the number of people you’re close with to be different than someone else’s number.  It’s also not uncommon for one or usually both members of the couple to not know every guest- some of my guests were special to me but I hadn’t seen them in years, so H hadn’t met them, and vice versa.  

    Although all of this ^ is true, even more tangible is budget.  You said you “can’t afford the current number of people”, so remind your FI of that.  I especially love the PP point that maybe 25-30 guests can be a sit down meal with drinks, and 60 guests will have to be cake and punch.  Remind your FI of that and talk about the kind of wedding you’d like.  
    MairePoppyShesSoColdshort+sassy
  • The other thing is - you don't need to book out a super fancy venue either, many hotels have rooms that will easily accommodate 60 guests without breaking the bank and you'll have a beautiful event.  Of course, that banks on everyone attending, not a number who won't be able to.  It's all in what you bring to the day, not having an overpriced venue and budget an online site tells you how much to expect to spend instead of the variance in price depending on the market you're in plus even in those areas there are still ways to make tight budgets happen.  

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  • elamyselamys
    First Comment
    member
    edited October 10
    Thank you very much for all the replies and advice. We've been together 4 years now, so hearing names I'd never heard before come up in the guest list was a surprise to me. I'm not going to, like, demand proof of their friendship or anything, if he says he is close to them then that's obviously fine. I just wanted to be sure on how to approach it with him.

    It probably is best that I go over the cost per person with him that we're looking at. My MoH was also leaning towards inviting only certain children (my nieces and nephews) as opposed to everyone and then handling anything else on a case by case basis. So I think with a combination like that, we should be able to narrow things down so that we're both happy :) Especially since we're trying to keep things low-key. This is a day I want to spend with us both surrounded by our favorite people. It's entirely possible I just haven't had a chance to meet those people with how far removed we are from everyone else! So, thank you all again. I have no idea what I'm doing and don't want to come off as being mean :(
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  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut
    Moderator Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    mod
    I think the guest list is the hardest aspect of wedding planning. Well, that and paying for it. I didn't think you were being mean.
                
    STARMOON44MesmrEwe
  • elamys said:
    Thank you very much for all the replies and advice. We've been together 4 years now, so hearing names I'd never heard before come up in the guest list was a surprise to me. I'm not going to, like, demand proof of their friendship or anything, if he says he is close to them then that's obviously fine. I just wanted to be sure on how to approach it with him.

    It probably is best that I go over the cost per person with him that we're looking at. My MoH was also leaning towards inviting only certain children (my nieces and nephews) as opposed to everyone and then handling anything else on a case by case basis. So I think with a combination like that, we should be able to narrow things down so that we're both happy :) Especially since we're trying to keep things low-key. This is a day I want to spend with us both surrounded by our favorite people. It's entirely possible I just haven't had a chance to meet those people with how far removed we are from everyone else! So, thank you all again. I have no idea what I'm doing and don't want to come off as being mean :(
    In a box for some reason:


    don’t feel bad about inviting some kids and not others. Everyone understands that you might want your nieces and nephews and not your coworker’s kids. Also, Pro tip, if you add a +1 for all single guests now you won’t be stressed about in the future if someone starts dating someone between now and when invitations go out.

    InLoveInQueensshort+sassyelamys
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