Etiquette

Uneven Guest List Dilemma

Hey everyone! 
My FI and I are trying to plan a fairly small and casual wedding/reception. Originally, we were only inviting immediate family (parents, grandparents, siblings) and close friends. This totaled about 45 people. However, FI later admitted that he would regret if we did not invite his aunts, uncles, and cousins. This added another 10 adults and 2 infants, and I completely stand behind this decision. His family is rather close-knit, and we see all these people every holiday. FI and I have been together almost 10 years, and I know all of these family members pretty well. I agree that it would have been weird to have our wedding without them.

The problem comes when we get to my side of the family. As of now, only my parents, siblings, and grandmother are on the list, despite inviting FI's extended family. My family is not very close, and has a tendency to feud with each other and hold major grudges. Many of my aunts, uncles, and cousins have never even met my FI, despite us being together for so long. My family is also larger, as my mother has 5 siblings. Here is what my family looks like:
  • Uncle #1: lives nearby, see on holidays, knows FI. My mom is feuding with his GF over doggie daycare related issues
  • Uncle #2: pretty much a hermit. Only see him at funerals. Never met FI
  • Aunt: Feuding with my mom for around 15 years, stemming from unadopting a cousin and something to do with a stove. It's complicated, and I don't know the whole story. Has never met FI. Has a wife who can be pretty judgemental, but I always kind of liked anyway. Was a role-model to me as a child, and I would love to have a better relationship with her, but she recently blocked me on facebook (idk why, we weren't fighting or anything).
  • Uncle #3: lives nearby, see on holidays, knows FI. Offered to make or alter my dress for me. Has BF who is also pretty awesome
  • Uncle #4: lives on the opposite coast, see on holidays occasionally.
I guess my question is, would it be weird to only invite some of my aunts/uncles? Or would it be better to either invite them all, or invite none of them? What would you do?

As far as cousins, I have way too many for us to afford to invite them all. And I don't really feel obligated, since many of them did not invite me to their weddings either (I'm not upset by this, I understand the desire to keep it small and affordable!). I think they will understand not getting an invite, even if their parents do.

Also, it should be noted that FI and I are paying for everything ourselves, aside from my dress (my mom is paying) and the open bar (FIL is paying).

Re: Uneven Guest List Dilemma

  • thisismynickname2thisismynickname2 City By The Lake
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    member
    Hey everyone! 
    My FI and I are trying to plan a fairly small and casual wedding/reception. Originally, we were only inviting immediate family (parents, grandparents, siblings) and close friends. This totaled about 45 people. However, FI later admitted that he would regret if we did not invite his aunts, uncles, and cousins. This added another 10 adults and 2 infants, and I completely stand behind this decision. His family is rather close-knit, and we see all these people every holiday. FI and I have been together almost 10 years, and I know all of these family members pretty well. I agree that it would have been weird to have our wedding without them.

    The problem comes when we get to my side of the family. As of now, only my parents, siblings, and grandmother are on the list, despite inviting FI's extended family. My family is not very close, and has a tendency to feud with each other and hold major grudges. Many of my aunts, uncles, and cousins have never even met my FI, despite us being together for so long. My family is also larger, as my mother has 5 siblings. Here is what my family looks like:
    • Uncle #1: lives nearby, see on holidays, knows FI. My mom is feuding with his GF over doggie daycare related issues
    • Uncle #2: pretty much a hermit. Only see him at funerals. Never met FI
    • Aunt: Feuding with my mom for around 15 years, stemming from unadopting a cousin and something to do with a stove. It's complicated, and I don't know the whole story. Has never met FI. Has a wife who can be pretty judgemental, but I always kind of liked anyway. Was a role-model to me as a child, and I would love to have a better relationship with her, but she recently blocked me on facebook (idk why, we weren't fighting or anything).
    • Uncle #3: lives nearby, see on holidays, knows FI. Offered to make or alter my dress for me. Has BF who is also pretty awesome
    • Uncle #4: lives on the opposite coast, see on holidays occasionally.
    I guess my question is, would it be weird to only invite some of my aunts/uncles? Or would it be better to either invite them all, or invite none of them? What would you do?

    As far as cousins, I have way too many for us to afford to invite them all. And I don't really feel obligated, since many of them did not invite me to their weddings either (I'm not upset by this, I understand the desire to keep it small and affordable!). I think they will understand not getting an invite, even if their parents do.

    Also, it should be noted that FI and I are paying for everything ourselves, aside from my dress (my mom is paying) and the open bar (FIL is paying).

    So, guest lists don't have to have even sides. Mine definitely did not, but because my family lives overseas and wouldn't make the trip. From your list, I'd invite Uncle #3 for sure, but only you know your dynamics well enough to know if the other aunt and uncles are worth inviting even with the ongoing feuds. Don't invite them just to feel like you're evening out sides, invite them if you really want them there. 
    Generally advice is to invite in circles, but feuding families can make the circle concept difficult. It doesn't sound worth inviting your cousins, that's an easy decision. 
    ________________________________


    short+sassyInLoveInQueensSP29
  • Invite who you want to be there. If you don't bring it up as an issue people generally won't notice. If I were you, I would invite your FI close family and leave your side small. Maybe invite some more of your friends if you want to even it up but I don't think inviting some Aunts and not others is a good idea. 
    InLoveInQueensSP29
  • I think you need to look at this from the perspective of who you want, how it can be fair and what makes sense for your budget.   

    -By who you want, go through who you want to attend plus their SOs.
    -How to be fair: it often makes sense to invite in circles.   Don't invite your brother's kids if your sister's children aren't welcome.
    -Look at the budget.   If you can't afford to host 25 people then don't invite 25.

    But please don't think sides need to be even.  My husband has 23 first cousins and I have 6.    We didn't look at the guest list as a number for the bride and a number for the groom.   It was about who we wanted to attend. 
    redoryxSP29
  • banana468 said:
    I think you need to look at this from the perspective of who you want, how it can be fair and what makes sense for your budget.   

    -By who you want, go through who you want to attend plus their SOs.
    -How to be fair: it often makes sense to invite in circles.   Don't invite your brother's kids if your sister's children aren't welcome.
    -Look at the budget.   If you can't afford to host 25 people then don't invite 25.

    But please don't think sides need to be even.  My husband has 23 first cousins and I have 6.    We didn't look at the guest list as a number for the bride and a number for the groom.   It was about who we wanted to attend. 
    I guess I should clarify something: when I say "uneven" I don't mean uneven numbers. I know it's fine if a groom has more cousins than a bride, for example. It's not like you can create more cousins, or something, to round it out. What I meant is uneven in terms of circles, like inviting one person's aunts/uncles without inviting the other's.
  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    member
    We only invited people who were in our lives on a regular basis, regardless of where they fell on our respective family trees. 
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
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    InLoveInQueensSP29sparklepants41
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    member
    I think you can invite Uncles #3 and 4 without inviting the other relatives you listed.

    I don't think you're required to invite every single aunt, uncle, and cousin. Also, I don't think that his inviting his aunts, uncles, and cousins means that you have to. As long as you don't split up social units or minor siblings by inviting some but not all, you can limit your guest list as you see fit. There may be repercussions in terms of your relationships with those who are not invited, but you won't have violated etiquette.
  • I think you can talk to your parents to see how they'd feel about those relatives being invited.

    My dad has a sibling that he doesn't speak to and hasn't for nearly 20 years.   My grandmother died and to my father, his middle brother was occupying space in the room.   I'm sorry that they weren't speaking and I care about my uncle but he wasn't invited to the wedding.   It wasn't even a discussion.  


  • I would consider Uncle #1 since you see him on holidays and knows your fiance, and Uncle #3 since he offered to make you a wedding dress (being a sewer I can say this is not a small gesture). And they both live nearby. However, I would go more by who YOU are close to and who YOU want there. Don't think about the family feuds or who your mom gets along with... if you are close to them, the others will just have to get over it.

    By the way, I have a similar situation. My fiance's family is close knit. They spend every Christmas together and have a family get together every summer even though they all live in different states. My family is not close - at all - by any definition. The last holiday that I spent with any member of my family was about 15 years ago (not even parents or siblings). We don't talk or visit. As AddieCake said, I am only inviting those who are actually a part of my life on a regular basis and I want there, regardless of where they are on the family tree. 
    short+sassySP29Knottie48804623
  • short+sassyshort+sassy
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    member
    edited July 2017

    I'm normally a fan of "inviting in circles", when it makes sense.  In your case, OP, I don't think it does.  You're definitely closer to some aunts/uncles than you are to others.  Overall, your family is not close knit.

    TBH, if you were having a much larger wedding, like 150-200 guests.  I'd be more inclined to encourage you to invite them all with their SO's.  Though, still perfectly fine if you didn't want to/have room.

    Edited to add:  I also think it might be a problem if you were inviting all your aunts/uncles...except one.  Or something like that.  But it doesn't sound like you're planning to do that either.

    However, since you and your FI are having a smaller and more intimate gathering, it's understandable you all want your guests to be the people who are the closest to you.

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  • Cookie PusherCookie Pusher Looking over your shoulder
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    member
    We only invited my immediate family since I'm not close with the rest of my family, but invited my husband's immediate family, aunt and uncle, cousins and their kids since we see them all the time. Invite the people that you want to share the day with. Sure, take into account if you know for sure that someone would cause a big stink about not being invited if you invite other people in the same "circle" but I think most people are grown-up enough to not make a huge deal over it. 
    ~*~*~*~*~

    short+sassy
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