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Wedding Woes

Guest list drama

Our guest list has been drama since day 1 of getting engaged when my fiance's mother told me that we better have a wedding large enough to invite her friends because she was really upset she couldn't invite her friends when her other son got married. 

Our original guest list was close to 400 people which was crazy to me. I suggested a destination wedding, which my fiance was not ok with so we compromised and picked a venue that fits 150. We spoke to our parents about the decision and told them that it would only be closest friends and family. They supported our decision.My mother and I have been very accommodating with our guest lists knowing that my fiance has a large family and we have 25 people between the two of us. However, his parent's guest list accounts for half of our number. 

Now it comes time to send out invitations and we are about 15 people over what we feel comfortable inviting knowing our cap is 150. 

Both of his parents are adding people to the list that they forgot to invite despite me sending an email that everyone needed to cut a few people from their list. His mom got so upset that she called my fiance and said she would not come so we could have 2 extra seats (insert eye roll here). My mother called me upset that she initially cut so many people and was not able to invite people she would have liked to. So now everyone is upset about their lists!

The venue cannot do anything to accommodate extra people. Does anyone have suggestions on how to navigate this issue?

Re: Guest list drama

  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Our guest list has been drama since day 1 of getting engaged when my fiance's mother told me that we better have a wedding large enough to invite her friends because she was really upset she couldn't invite her friends when her other son got married. 

    Our original guest list was close to 400 people which was crazy to me. I suggested a destination wedding, which my fiance was not ok with so we compromised and picked a venue that fits 150. We spoke to our parents about the decision and told them that it would only be closest friends and family. They supported our decision.My mother and I have been very accommodating with our guest lists knowing that my fiance has a large family and we have 25 people between the two of us. However, his parent's guest list accounts for half of our number. 

    Now it comes time to send out invitations and we are about 15 people over what we feel comfortable inviting knowing our cap is 150. 

    Both of his parents are adding people to the list that they forgot to invite despite me sending an email that everyone needed to cut a few people from their list. His mom got so upset that she called my fiance and said she would not come so we could have 2 extra seats (insert eye roll here). My mother called me upset that she initially cut so many people and was not able to invite people she would have liked to. So now everyone is upset about their lists!

    The venue cannot do anything to accommodate extra people. Does anyone have suggestions on how to navigate this issue?

    First, who is paying for the wedding?

    MyNameIsNotMesmrEweei34
  • Reiterate to everyone what the hard cap is, and tell them that they can decide who on their list to cut or you will do it for them. 
    short+sassyei34
  • All of our parents gave some money towards the wedding but we made it clear before we accepted the gift that we would not accept it if there were strings attached. But we are paying for the majority of the wedding
  • I would have FH sit his mother down and tell her no. This is your wedding, she had hers. If she wants a big party for all of her friends then she can host one. 
  • flantasticflantastic The Midwest member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    We gave our parents each X number of friend invites (family wasn't going to be even so we didn't try, we just did circles, e.g. no parents' cousins). MIL did not get it. DH had to tell her that she could either cut her list to X number, or he would do it, based on who he cared to have there, and she couldn't complain about the outcome. I'd suggest something like this, with "blood talking to blood."
    short+sassyOliveOilsMomkerbohl
  • I'm curious why you even allowed them lists? I thought that was a thing of the past, especially since they aren't paying.
  • If you are at the point that wedding invitations are being sent then your FI needs to tell his parents no.

    But I also think that you may have confused the planning process.   Did you pick a venue based on size?   Created guest list?   Or did you pick the venue and then back into a # of guests based on what that could hold?  

    If picked a location and you over invited in sent invitations you're already in a predicament.  Send no more invitations.

    A shared Google spreadsheet may be your friend.   List who is on there,and continue to show how at capacity you are.   But please ensure that in all communication your FI is clear talking to his parents about #s.   
    MissKittyDanger
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    All of our parents gave some money towards the wedding but we made it clear before we accepted the gift that we would not accept it if there were strings attached. But we are paying for the majority of the wedding
    There are always strings attached to money. 

    But I think at this point, you need to explain that your venue cannot accommodate any extra people. You can't over invite. Your FI  needs to handle his parents directly. 

    MyNameIsNot
  • We picked a smaller venue to make sure it was only close friends and family, we were not ok paying for a 400 person wedding. Before we signed any contracts we told our parents our decision and that they would be limited to their number of guests. For instance, his mom had to cut her list of 80ish to 30ish. 

    Invites are not sent yet but I sent out an email of their final lists they gave me to confirm names and addresses which prompted the whole debacle.
  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers

    First, you need to stop talking to MIL, even if its via email.  Your FI needs to handle his mother at all times.  It will make it easier in the long run.  You also don't have a chance to look like a crazy bridezilla (not saying you are!) to your MIL, because your FI is the one telling her what you both decided.  And if your FI won't handle talking with his mother about this, you have FI issues!

    Second, are you inviting more than 150 people (yourselves included in that number) and hoping that only 150 RSVP yes?  If so, you need to go back and cut your list even further.  What happens if you have 151 people RSVP yes?  There will be one person that will need to be uninvited, or worse - declined entry by the venue staff.

    Third, at this point, your FI should just tell his mom to cut her list down to X number by Y date, or he will do it for her.  Don't give her an opportunity to try and negotiate with you about this.  Its X number by Y date, or FI does it.

    Lastly, you said your mom was upset she cut people she wanted invited.  Depending how lopsided the guest list is, I might ask MIL to cut an extra 4 people (at least) than she needs, so that your mom could add in 4 people.  But your FI has to be ok with this plan.  If MIL is adding friends, I would totally do this.  If MIL was adding family, I would hesitate until FI gives the OK about removing family he may not know.

    banana468Casadenashort+sassyei34
  • Then at this point what you need to do is look at that spreadsheet.  As @short+sassy said, it needs to include you and your FI and all your vendors.   Ask your venue if they include themselves in that headcount.   Your DJ / Band and photographer need to be included in that 150 # though.

    Then start to look at that list with your FI.
    -Add the must invites and see what that adds up to
    -Then start to look at the 'those you'd like to invite and see where that gets you.

    And then with all of those in that list make sure you don't go over 150. 

    Then your FI needs to be polite but firm with his parents.   Your list is done and maxed and there's no more additions possible.   Period.    There's no adding without removing.    But having it organized helps to get that point across and be pretty clear.


    short+sassyOliveOilsMom
  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    "Thanks for your invitation recommendations. We will take them under consideration as we make the final guest list." 

    Then make the cuts yourselves. 
    missJeanLouisekerbohl
  • ILoveBeachMusicILoveBeachMusic Indiana member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    I'm curious why you even allowed them lists? I thought that was a thing of the past, especially since they aren't paying.
    They did contribute money. I think it is respectful allow parents to invite some friends, assuming that the couple is inviting family in their list. 
    MesmrEweSTARMOON44knottie8b95fb12524545f6
  • I'm curious why you even allowed them lists? I thought that was a thing of the past, especially since they aren't paying.
    They did contribute money. I think it is respectful allow parents to invite some friends, assuming that the couple is inviting family in their list. 
    From my understanding, contributing money isn't same as paying for it
  • banana468 said:
    I'm curious why you even allowed them lists? I thought that was a thing of the past, especially since they aren't paying.
    They did contribute money. I think it is respectful allow parents to invite some friends, assuming that the couple is inviting family in their list. 
    From my understanding, contributing money isn't same as paying for it
    True.   You can give money and not be financing the entire thing or hosting.

    But I think it's pretty poor form to take money from your parents and then tell them that with that contribution they don't get to invite anyone.
    Plus just generally I think it’s common and nice to let parents invite some people they want. 
    banana468short+sassyei34ILoveBeachMusic
  • banana468 said:
    I'm curious why you even allowed them lists? I thought that was a thing of the past, especially since they aren't paying.
    They did contribute money. I think it is respectful allow parents to invite some friends, assuming that the couple is inviting family in their list. 
    From my understanding, contributing money isn't same as paying for it
    True.   You can give money and not be financing the entire thing or hosting.

    But I think it's pretty poor form to take money from your parents and then tell them that with that contribution they don't get to invite anyone.
    Plus just generally I think it’s common and nice to let parents invite some people they want. 
    All of that.   If these are the people who raised you and you have a good relationship with them why wouldn't you let them have a few people to invite unless you're keeping the wedding so intimate your guest list can fit in a minivan?
    charlotte989875
  • banana468 said:
    banana468 said:
    I'm curious why you even allowed them lists? I thought that was a thing of the past, especially since they aren't paying.
    They did contribute money. I think it is respectful allow parents to invite some friends, assuming that the couple is inviting family in their list. 
    From my understanding, contributing money isn't same as paying for it
    True.   You can give money and not be financing the entire thing or hosting.

    But I think it's pretty poor form to take money from your parents and then tell them that with that contribution they don't get to invite anyone.
    Plus just generally I think it’s common and nice to let parents invite some people they want. 
    All of that.   If these are the people who raised you and you have a good relationship with them why wouldn't you let them have a few people to invite unless you're keeping the wedding so intimate your guest list can fit in a minivan?
    They did contribute money so we did want them to be able to invite some guests. Problem is both of his parents are remarried so there are step-siblings and their spouses, aunts and uncles and cousins on all sides so everyone is concerned about offending people if they are not invited. We gave them a set number of invites in the beginning but now its "oh I forgot this person and their guest...etc." 

  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    OP - You didn't send out Save the Dates, right?
  • OP - You didn't send out Save the Dates, right?
    We did not but apparently his parents gave their lists all of the wedding info and hotel info already without the lists being finalized.
  • OP - You didn't send out Save the Dates, right?
    We did not but apparently his parents gave their lists all of the wedding info and hotel info already without the lists being finalized.
    Where do these people fall on the list?  

    Is your FI clearly communicating with them?  A lot of this seems like they aren't getting clear answers and are making assumptions because no one's bothered to correct them. 
    charlotte989875OliveOilsMomei34MissKittyDanger
  • ILoveBeachMusicILoveBeachMusic Indiana member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    @MissKittyDanger, true contributing isn't paying. However, if I contributed substantially to my child's wedding I would like to be able to invite a few friends. Granted, OP's MIL sounds like she had gone way past the few friends. I agree with banana family doesn't count as friends. What family is invited should be left up to the couple - especially in super large families where it becomes a necessity to invite in circles.
    MissKittyDangercharlotte989875
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