Wedding Etiquette Forum

What constitutes immediate family?

J and I are having a discussion and we've come to a roadblock because we don't know the proper etiquette to continue.  I have always wanted a VERY small wedding, and J has always wanted a large one (read: everyone from his church, which on average is about 200 people, not including my family).  We had originally planned to just invite 100 people between the both of us, but my mom brought up the suggestion of an "immediate family only" wedding with a larger reception to follow, to appease us both.

I know from other posts on the board that this can be acceptable, but here is our question: what consitutes immediate family?  I say just our parents and siblings and he says our grandparents and aunts/uncles/cousins should be included in that number.  I'm not sure what the etiquette rules dictate and I don't want to offend anyone if this is what we decide to do.  So...halp?


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Re: What constitutes immediate family?

  • lyndausvilyndausvi mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    edited April 2010
    I would say parents, siblings (and their kids) and IMO grandparents.

    One reason I say grandparents is at work we can get bereavement pay only for immediate family and their list includes grandparents, but not aunt/uncles, etc.

    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. 
  • To me, immediate family is people you lived with growing up. Parents, siblings and grandparents seem immediate enough to me.
  • IMO "immediate family" is parents and siblings. Aunts/Uncles, cousins, etc are "extended family".

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  • To me "immediate" is parents, siblings and grandparents.  My brother has 2 kids, I guess I'd include them as well.
  • Immediate family is parents, siblings, and your kids.  They people who you lived with.  But I think it would be ok to invite grandparents to this as well.  
  • I would say parents, siblings, and grandparents. If you include aunts/uncles/cousins I think it would get big enough that it would be weird to just not have everyone. Just that much family for us would probably be well over 100 people. My dad has 8 brothers and sisters all married, most with kids. BF's dad has 7 (I think all married) and his mom has 5, all married and all with kids. I think inviting that many people but not everyone would be weird and kind of rude because at least for me there would as many (if not more) invited to the ceremony as not. But I guess if you both have super small families that might work.
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  • If we only have our parents (and step-parents), siblings/step-siblings (none married), and grandparents, we would have about 20 people there.  If we invited aunts/uncles/cousins, it would end up being about 35 people.  So there isn't THAT much of a difference, but I'm worried about people who aren't related but feel they are as close to us as an aunt/uncle being offended by not being invited to the ceremony (which is bound to happen anyway, if we only have immediate family).

    Also, if we only do immediate family, are we required/allowed to give "plus ones" to the siblings?  I know that J's brother's LTR girlfriend would need to be invited, but the others are all currently very single.


    ***raise your glass if you are wrong in all the right ways***
    oh noes, sweetpea UPDATED her planning bio

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  • ggmaeggmae member
    edited April 2010
    Parents, children, siblings (and their families), grandparents.
  • We kept our RD to immediate family only - and we had to convince my MIL that her siblings were not considered "immediate family" in this case ;-)  We kept it to our parents, siblings and their spouses.  Children were not invited so that was a moot point.
  • NebbNebb member
    10000 Comments 5 Love Its Combo Breaker
    I personally think 35 people is not a small ceremony with just immediate family. We had around 15 people at ours, including the SO of two of our BP. We had our parents, siblings, grandparents, and I invited my aunt/uncle, and other aunt. My mom and her two sisters are VERY close and they practically raised me, so for us it was right. That said, I have other aunts and uncles that werent invited.
  • I think for medical "immediate family" is parents, siblings and grandparents, so that sounds good.

    That being said, if I invited my grandparents to my wedding, and not my aunts and uncles, I would have never been forgiven.
  • I don't think you need to worry about plus ones for the singles, especially if you are trying to keep it small.
  • I'm having the same problem. My soon to be mother in law is inviting her sister's husbands side of the family (which no one is related to) as immediate family to our wedding which is causing a huge problem for the # of guests. I asked her to cut down her list of people and she didn't. it's a real problem for me.
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