Budget Weddings Forum

Guest list trimming

Hi, 
I am now to that point of wedding planning where we need to finalize our guest list! As it sits right now I have 220 guests on it.  
We are having our wedding in Wisconsin - since my FI and I live there.  However, most of our guest list (with the exception handful of guests) are all out of state.  
The cost of the wedding is being split between my Dad and step mom, my step dad, my mom, my fiance's family, my fiance and me.  
I have a large family and we are a close family so all of my aunts, uncles and first cousins will be invited since I talk to them on a regular basis - there are some long time HS friends on there along with a couple of co workers.  Where I'm running into snags is with the Great aunt's and uncles (parent's aunts and uncles)  They (my parents) say to send them invites because they won't come anyways, but I'm afraid of all 220 showing up because it is not in our budget to feed all 220 of them.  I've looked over the list a few times now and don't know where else to cut.  
I know all the boards say plan for 100%, so I'm assuming there is no magic percentage that I can use to estimate how many will actually come........any advice on what to do or who to cut?

Re: Guest list trimming

  • wandajune6wandajune6 Chicago-ish member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
    You have to plan for 100% attendance-- you'll be screwed otherwise.

    We booked our venue based on the idea that we could afford everyone we invited-- but could make lots of upgrades if people declined or someone offered financial support.

    I'd also note that we've been surprised at the people who are attending- while we've ended up with more declines than expected, many people who my parents said would never come will in fact be attending.

    Sadly, there's no magic formula for who to cut.
    Daisypath Anniversary tickers
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    You have to plan for 100% attendance. Unfortunately there's no way we can tell you what people to cut. 

  • Just cut them out. It's hard, but they'll get over it.

    We decided to cut out all of our aunts, uncles, and cousins. This was especially difficult because my family all lives in town and I am close with them. This reduced our guest list from 110 to 60. With our $2000 budget, 60 people is much more manageable.

  • Your parents are wrong about planning on people not coming. Don't do this. There are tons of threads where people do that and then they have 100% or close to it and they're freaking out 2 weeks before the wedding because they can't afford stuff. Don't set yourself up for that. 

    DH's parents tried to do this too. They were like "Just invite (so and so name). They won't come and they'll send you a nice gift." Um, really? No.
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  • Agree with the other s about planning for 100%. I will offer what I am doing although my wedding is small anyway. Our price changes above 70 so we are trying to keep it below that (over 70 and you have to rent a bigger tent area). Some extended great aunts/uncles are on the cusp since I'm not close to them and originally didn't plan to include. But my mom asked about including them and I realized that my grandma and her siblings (aged 75-87) don't have many more opportunities to get together, especially since they are in different states so even if it drives up my cost I'm willing to include them to make sure my grandma gets to spend more time with them Budget is very important to me but in the end my grandma is worth more than the budget. Even though I'm sure she would understand if they weren't invited and she hasn't mentioned it one way or the other and never would. Just something to think about with these family members if you can make it work. Good luck!
  • I wish I could remember the knottie who got bit in the butt on this but she hasn't been around for quite awhile.  Her MIL SWORE the distant aunts and uncles wouldn't come so she caved and invited them.

    Well, very elderly Great Aunt Bertha decided she would fly cross country to attend the wedding as it would likely be the last time she would see family.  Well.... when all the distant relatives who MIL SWORE would not attend, decided they should go so they could see Great Aunt Bertha too!  That knottie was ticked!

    I strongly encourage you to plan for 100% because every know and then people decide to attend a family reunion disguised as your wedding and reception - on your dime!
    Knottie35936250
  • We didn't plan for more than our venue could hold... that's important.  My mom asked that we invite some though that she said wouldn't come.  She was right.  She also offered to pay for them if she was wrong and they showed up.  H and I would have paid for them if they did because we didn't want my parents to pay for anything (they are close to retirement and we want their money to go there)... I guess what I am saying is that if you have room at the venue, don't mind them there, and your mother wants to pay for the guests if she is wrong... that could be an option.  She's the one that feels strongly about them attending right?  If the venue won't hold that many don't invite them though... that will ensure that they attend.  Murphy's law.  
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • Just tell parents that right now the budget doesn't allow for them to be invited and if the courtesy invite people say yes, are they able to cover the extra costs for them coming?

  • I have a similar (but different) problem, OP. Our wedding will be in my homestate of MN, but my FI's family, myself and my FI live in IN. My mother is making the wedding list. She is basing it off my brothers's weddings that happened 15 years ago! My dad has 12 brothers & sisters, so of course that is 24 right there. We are not inviting all the cousins, just a few that are close. However, the list is over 215. This includes the family on my FI's side that my mom knows of plus a few friends of mine and his. My mom swears that she Knows there will be people that will not show up (aunts & uncles & cousins that live in different states). But I am still freaking out because the church basement only holds 150. Plus my mom is inviting people that I have no idea who the heck they are, let alone the last time I even saw them, or whether I even met them! My parents are paying for some of the wedding, but they are not saying how much because money is tight with them. I have already bought my dress and will probably pay for the cake. Plus I will be making/buying most of the decorations for the reception. I have told my mom multiple times that we can't invite people and assume they won't come. If there's a chance they do there won't be enough seats for them. She just brushes me off. Aaack!!
  • Similar problems with my mom, FMIL and step Mom. Each seem to be using the "they'll never show" technique to get more people on their lists. It's sad really. My mom and step mom are building an army against each other. They keep telling me that if one gets this they should get that and it's gotten so far away from who's close to my FI and I and more about my mom and step mom being comfortable in the same room. I also just received word from my FMIL that she knows her daughter won't be able to make it since she's pregnant and due a week before the wedding and to cut her and her husband off the list so her husband can have his second cousins there! so crazy! We received money from my father, mother, FMIL and we're contributing as well. I have a really big family so we needed to draw a line somewhere but there's just no pleasing anyone. They keep telling me they're giving me this money so they should be able to invite this person or that person not on MY list! I've never been in so many arguments with so many people close to me. Shed a lot of tears over this. It all is very sad and there just doesn't seem to be a good solution. This list issue has been going on now for 7 months. I'm at the point where I'm willing to hand over my life savings to stop the fighting. It's just not worth it and too late to back out completely.
  • hmt339 said:
    Similar problems with my mom, FMIL and step Mom. Each seem to be using the "they'll never show" technique to get more people on their lists. It's sad really. My mom and step mom are building an army against each other. They keep telling me that if one gets this they should get that and it's gotten so far away from who's close to my FI and I and more about my mom and step mom being comfortable in the same room. I also just received word from my FMIL that she knows her daughter won't be able to make it since she's pregnant and due a week before the wedding and to cut her and her husband off the list so her husband can have his second cousins there! so crazy! We received money from my father, mother, FMIL and we're contributing as well. I have a really big family so we needed to draw a line somewhere but there's just no pleasing anyone. They keep telling me they're giving me this money so they should be able to invite this person or that person not on MY list! I've never been in so many arguments with so many people close to me. Shed a lot of tears over this. It all is very sad and there just doesn't seem to be a good solution. This list issue has been going on now for 7 months. I'm at the point where I'm willing to hand over my life savings to stop the fighting. It's just not worth it and too late to back out completely.
    If they haven't actually written you check and it's cashed/in your bank account, it's not too late. 

    Tell them thanks, but no thanks. That you'll be funding this yourself and making all the decisions yourself (you can do that if you don't accept money from others). It'll mean a smaller guest list, but from the sounds of it, 100% worth it. Planning a wedding shouldn't mean you're "shedding tears" all the time. That's crazy!
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    [Deleted User]msm245
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