Wedding Invitations & Paper

uneven number of family members

HELP! In a short period of time our wedding planning has gotten out of control and lead to some hurtful conversations. We are not seeing eye to eye and neither are our parents. In the end, the bride is in tears :(

I come from a large family where family is very important. My dad has five siblings and my mom seven. All of whom are married and have children.

My fiancé on the other hand has a small family who are close but definitely not near the size of my family. His mom- One sister and step father- one sister.

My immediate family (parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins) is about 100 people. Where my fiancé's is about 25. Both sides includes guests. This also includes me eliminating about 15 cousins under the age of 16 which will cause a few hurt feelings later on when family finds out.

We have 10 groomsmen and 7 bridesmaids who will all bring dates to the wedding. Additionally we have about 40 friends of ours.

My fiancé and his mother feel that because my family is 100 people they should be entitled to 75 friends of his parents to even the numbers. I however strongly disagree. 

My parents would like to have 40 friends and I feel as though his mom should stay within that number. Family is family to me, if he has cousins I should have my cousins who I want there. He is having all of his aunts and uncles and I should have the same. I do not feel as though I should pick and choose family to stay keeping the numbers even and to have future mother in law invite less of her friends. Most of whom I do not know and are not close with my fiancé. 

If we strictly split the number in half, he would have all of his friends, family and parents friends at the wedding and I would have to pick from my immediate family members in order to have room for my bridesmaids. I would have no friends at wedding and neither would my parents. Also my father has offered to pay for a large portion of the wedding which future in laws have not.

I think it is fair to invite immediate family from both sides, and then split the remaining people 1/3,1/3, and 1/3 between us and our parents. 

I don't want any feeling to be hurt, but we can't even talk about it anymore because everyone is emotionally exhausted. Anyone have similar problems? How did you handle it?

THANKS :)

Re: uneven number of family members

  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    edited December 2014
    The appropriate way to plan is to come up with your guest list for both sides before, not after, you try to set quotas on how many people each side can invite.

    A lot of times one side's family is significantly larger than the other. This was the case with me and my ex-BF. My family is larger than his; plus, more of us are on speaking terms.

    Once you've gotten your guest list compiled, you find a venue that can accommodate them and budget accordingly. If it means a lot to you to have a large number of people there, you come up with a way to pay for it, including choosing less expensive options and cutting unnecessary items out of your budget. What you don't do is pick a venue and then compile your guest list by requiring each side to shoehorn their guests into fixed number per head quotas.
  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    edited December 2014

    The guest list is often one of the most contentious aspects of wedding planning.

    Include on your basic guest list: all your family members that you want to invite(including all of your cousins), all of his family members, every member of the wedding party (plus dates), your very closest friends and their S/Os. 

    After that, you and your parents (who are contributing) should decide how the remaining invitations should be divided. It's very generous of you and your parents to offer 1/3 of the remaining spots to his parents, who aren't contributing. FILs should be gushing about how wonderful your parents are to host their guests. You should not cut family members and close friends to accommodate his parents friends that you probably don't even know.

    I've noticed you're planning on inviting cousins over age 15. It's not ok to divide families. So if some of those 15 year olds have older siblings that will be invited, you're going to hurt feelings.

    You need to get your fi on the same page. It's presumptuous of him to expect your parents to divide the guest list in half. If he wants 75 'friends of the family' at the wedding, he should come up with a way to pay for them.



                       
    huskypuppy14
  • huskypuppy14huskypuppy14 Boston Suburbs member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2014

    The guest list is often one of the most contentious aspects of wedding planning.

    Include on your basic guest list: all your family members that you want to invite(including all of your cousins), all of his family members, every member of the wedding party (plus dates), your very closest friends and their S/Os. 

    After that, you and your parents (who are contributing) should decide how the remaining invitations should be divided. It's very generous of you and your parents to offer 1/3 of the remaining spots to his parents, who aren't contributing. FILs should be gushing about how wonderful your parents are to host their guests. You should not cut family members and close friends to accommodate his parents friends that you probably don't even know.

    I've noticed you're planning on inviting cousins over age 15. It's not ok to divide families. So if some of those 15 year olds have older siblings that will be invited, you're going to hurt feelings.

    You need to get your fi on the same page. It's presumptuous of him to expect your parents to divide the guest list in half. If he wants 75 'friends of the family' at the wedding, he should come up with a way to pay for them.



    All of this. If his parents are not contributing to the wedding, they don't get to demand 75(!) friends to be invited. 

    My parents paid for the majority of my reception (venue, food, bar you know the expensive part) and they asked for 7 friends (2 families that would have been invited regardless). My In-laws asked for 15 friends. We were happy to include these people because they were family friends, not random friends of our parents that we didn't know.


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    fwtx5815
  • huskypuppy14huskypuppy14 Boston Suburbs member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    You should just make your cuttoff 18, than you don't have to worry about splitting up minor siblings. 
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    MairePoppyfwtx5815
  • fwtx5815fwtx5815 cowboys nation member
    500 Love Its 100 Comments First Anniversary First Answer

    The guest list is often one of the most contentious aspects of wedding planning.

    Include on your basic guest list: all your family members that you want to invite(including all of your cousins), all of his family members, every member of the wedding party (plus dates), your very closest friends and their S/Os. 

    After that, you and your parents (who are contributing) should decide how the remaining invitations should be divided. It's very generous of you and your parents to offer 1/3 of the remaining spots to his parents, who aren't contributing. FILs should be gushing about how wonderful your parents are to host their guests. You should not cut family members and close friends to accommodate his parents friends that you probably don't even know.

    I've noticed you're planning on inviting cousins over age 15. It's not ok to divide families. So if some of those 15 year olds have older siblings that will be invited, you're going to hurt feelings.

    You need to get your fi on the same page. It's presumptuous of him to expect your parents to divide the guest list in half. If he wants 75 'friends of the family' at the wedding, he should come up with a way to pay for them.



    Yes^. FILs do not get to make guest list demands if they are not contributing. Those who pay, get a say. Of course if you are able to accommodate at least some of their friends, they ought to appreciate that and it would also help your (and your family's) relations with them in the future, but that's out of line to demand a certain number if they aren't contributing.

    First, you and your fiancé need to come to an agreement, and from there, he should be the one to deal with his parents, not you.

    If you need to, you could implement some guidelines for cutting people if you're afraid his parents want to cram people onto the list in order to be 'even' - for example, has either of you seen this person in the last 2 years? If not, have you had a good phone convo in the last 6 months? If not, don't invite. Something along those lines.

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     fka dallasbetch 


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  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    I would be fucking pissed at my DH and my in-laws if they had insisted on more friends at the wedding for the sole purpose of having an equal amount of guests on his side. FUCK THAT.  Especially if the in-laws are not contributing.

    My family is larger.    We invited all aunts, uncles, 1st cousins and of course immediate family.   There was none of this who has more crap.  Those people were must haves.  Friends were choose based on who we wanted, NOT on who we could invite because the other has more family.


    Your plan is the best plan.    Invite the must haves and then split (or semi-split) the other invites.  Just like family, friends are not always cut and dry on numbers, but they should be pretty darn close.






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
    kmmssg
  • theartistformerlyknownastheartistformerlyknownas peaced out. member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers First Anniversary
    edited January 2015
    I'm sorry, the semantics are bothering me. Aunts, uncles and cousins are your extended family. Parents and siblings are immediate family.

    Anyway, big fat pile of NOPE to your FILs. They're out of their damn minds to make those kind of demands when they're not paying. It's generous to divide the remaining invites evenly with them, but even that's not required.

    My H and I paid for our whole wedding ourselves. Our parents asked for zero guests. We each chose to invite family friends on each side, because they were important to us. No random friends we hadn't met though.

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    huskypuppy14
  • Have you given any thought to his feelings? His families' feelings? How they may not want to be a quarter of the people at your massive family reunion? How he may not be comfortable having such a large wedding?

    None of us can tell you what solution will work for you, but if you really try to understand his feelings it might help you have a more productive conversation.
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers

    Have you given any thought to his feelings? His families' feelings? How they may not want to be a quarter of the people at your massive family reunion? How he may not be comfortable having such a large wedding?

    None of us can tell you what solution will work for you, but if you really try to understand his feelings it might help you have a more productive conversation.

    If they want to invite so many people "to have equal numbers" then they can contribute the costs of hosting them. As we say, they who pay get the say.

    If they don't want to pay for it, then they can get the fuck over their hurt feelings. They are not entitled to entertain all their friends on someone else's dime.
    fwtx5815[Deleted User]
  • Her fiancé, whom she presumably loves more than anyone else, should just get the fuck over his feelings? Because she mentions he wants to invite these people too. An attitude sure to lead to a happy marriage. Considering his feelings doesn't mean throwing up your hands to inviting the multitudes, it's a step towards having a productive discussion.
  • When we paid for daughter's wedding, I only knew about 10 guests.  The groom came from a huge Asian-American family with close ties.  Just asking the aunts, uncles and cousins came to 60 people.  We had 3 relatives from our side attend.  We had no problem with that, however I laughed at her when DD told me I couldn't invite 5 of my own friends, all of whom she knew from childhood!  She quickly saw the error of her ways.  LOL!
    It isn't about fairness in numbers.  It is about family - and we all know how difficult THEY can be!
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  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    edited January 2015

    Her fiancé, whom she presumably loves more than anyone else, should just get the fuck over his feelings? Because she mentions he wants to invite these people too. An attitude sure to lead to a happy marriage. Considering his feelings doesn't mean throwing up your hands to inviting the multitudes, it's a step towards having a productive discussion.

    Yes. If he and his parents expect someone else to cover the costs of inviting 75(!) extra people so they can have "equal sides," without even offering to pay so much as a penny for said guests, you bet he and his parents have to get the fuck over their hurt feelings.

    Using "hurt feelings" to get one's own way is emotional blackmail. How exactly does that lead to "productive discussions" about anything?

    If his side really wants to have a productive discussion, they need to start by taking their hurt feelings out of it and come up with some solution that works for both sides-not just theirs. Automatically demanding to be allowed that many guests on someone else's dime is not a "productive discussion" that will lead to a feasible solution.
    fwtx5815
  • fwtx5815fwtx5815 cowboys nation member
    500 Love Its 100 Comments First Anniversary First Answer

    Have you given any thought to his feelings? His families' feelings? How they may not want to be a quarter of the people at your massive family reunion? How he may not be comfortable having such a large wedding?

    None of us can tell you what solution will work for you, but if you really try to understand his feelings it might help you have a more productive conversation.

    Her fiancé, whom she presumably loves more than anyone else, should just get the fuck over his feelings? Because she mentions he wants to invite these people too. An attitude sure to lead to a happy marriage. Considering his feelings doesn't mean throwing up your hands to inviting the multitudes, it's a step towards having a productive discussion.

    It doesn't sound like it's a matter of the groom's side not being able to invite their nearest and dearest, this has become a numbers game for them and they're trying to fill seats (my impression of the situation). That's bullshit, and yes they need to get over the fact that NOT PAYING A DIME TOWARDS A PARTY means that they do not get to control the guest list for said party. There's no room for them to have feelings about the guest list if they aren't contributing.
    That's how being an adult works.

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     fka dallasbetch 


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  • primafaba15primafaba15 member
    100 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper First Anniversary
    edited January 2015
    My only piece of advice would be to make sure you and your FI do this together. Do not make this about you vs. him and your in-laws. I don't think you should disregard your FI's feelings, but this needs to be a decision that the two of you make, to a point. Your parents are paying so as PPs have noted, they get a say, but don't lose sight of what you should be figuring out together. I say this because my/our biggest pitfall in the wedding process has been me forgetting to approach this as a partnership rather than falling into "well my mother says X so X must happen." Sit down with him and have an honest conversation without the in-laws. For us it's the opposite problem: his family is much larger than mine, all local, and in the same religious tradition as me and FI, so yes, they will be better represented at the wedding and my folks weren't too happy about this. Not that they wanted family friends, or that I haven't invited every single relative they wanted, but they still said he should have to cut his list to be 'fair' and so that I could invite more people (coworkers, more-distant friends, etc.) Ultimately the only way to solve this was by me making a decision as part of a future couple rather than my mom's messenger: I made the necessary cuts from my non-mutual friends and told them I would not be asking him to cut relatives, end of discussion. They're still not really happy, but you can only do so much, you know? I feel for you, OP -- it sounds like this situation really sucks. Good luck, and just remember, you'll get through it eventually!
  • My family is so large that I've decided (with my parents' OK) not to invite extended family members (3rd cousins, great aunts from my grandfather's side who I haven't seen since I was 10, etc.) My fiancé has more aunts/uncles than I do, 16 first cousins and that's just on one side of the family. I do not want to only have 20 people on my side and 60 on his. That doesn't mean we're going to have even numbers either. He likely will have more, but I don't want it to be insanely uneven. It shouldn't feel like a family reunion for one side of the family.

    Work on this with your fiancé. I doubt your Fi wants to only have 20 people there with 100 of yours as I'm sure you wouldn't. At the end of the day, this is a wedding and the people most important to you and your Fi should be there. Obviously since your parents are paying they too get a say. However, your FILs should not be insisting they get more people. You and your Fi need to settle on numbers and deal with your separate sides individually. It gets really messy when you start dealing with each others parents.

    I know it's rough! You'll get through it! Just work with your Fi and you both should stand your ground.

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