Wedding Etiquette Forum

HELP! His family's invite list is out of control...

Hello Ladies,
Need your advice please. We are planning a 2014 spring or summer wedding (date TBD) that we are paying for ourselves. I have a small group of friends/family and came up with a small guest list. He came up with a 200+ list of family/friends/co-workers/etc. There is no way we can afford a 300 person wedding.

I had envisioned a small, intimate gathering, while he wants a full blown party with 2nd and 3rd cousins in attendance(He has 15 first cousins to put his family size into perspective). His grandmother, and aunt have made their OWN guests lists to give to him. However grandma & aunt are not paying for anything. I don't know how to handle this. He feels that since he is the first grandchild to get married he owes his family a big celebration. I feel they day is about us, and we invite who is closest to us.
To make matters worse, I recently have been laid off from my job, so we are really working with a tight budget. How do I get this guest list cut down in a tactful manner? Of course I am afraid to hurt someone's feelings but gosh, we cannot afford this!

Re: HELP! His family's invite list is out of control...

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    Ditto PPs. I just want to say again... do not let people spend YOUR money. It doesn't matter who they want invited, it's not a family reunion.
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    I think first and foremost you have got to set a budget; once you guys decide on that, you can show him that the big blowout party that he wants is not possible within your limits. Get some quotes; when he sees how much a wedding costs, he will probably rein himself in.

    I had a similar problem, I showed my fiance how much it would cost to host that amount of people and finally the reality of budget hit him. We both agreed that we do not want to start our marriage with debt so we both cut down from each of our list until it was well within our budget.

    The most important thing is to talk about it and reach a compromise in which you are both happy; at the end of the day, it's your guy's wedding and not his grandma's or aunts'
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    Yikes his family sounds like mine! FIs list comes out to like 15 all together and I cannot for the life of me get mine under 75 and we both agreed a 30-40 person reception is perfectly in our budget. I don't even know where to beginning trimming the list.... My dads side of the family are Italian Catholics so need I say more? If I can't trim it to a more doable number we've decided we're just going to have parents, siblings, and grandparents. Like other posters have said, (and as hard as it may be) its not your family's day it's yours so in the end you have to do what's best for the two of you. Grandma and aunt can send y'all a check if they want to make the guest list.
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    I agree with PP. After figuring out our budget we determined how many people we could invite, which was between 150-160 people. Our wedding party is already around 15 people (bridesmaids, groomsman, hosts, hostesses etc.) and add on their plus 1's and thats already 30 people. My FI's parents are divorced and after adding parents, stepparents, grandparents, step grandparents, half siblings, step siblings, with their plus 1's that brought us to about 60 people, almost half of our guestlist (YIKES). From their we started grouping people in circles, college friends, high school friends, acquaintances etc. We chose people who we talk to on a regular basis, no matter how close we use to be we based on it mainly on our current relationships.

    I have a large family myself (over 40 first cousins) and 8 aunts/uncles plus their spouses. I could have reached the guestcount with my family alone. I decided only to invite cousins who I actually speak to. It was definitely a struggle because you want to include everyone, but at the same time it's not affordable. Invite who you want and not who other people want you to invite, especially if they aren't contributing financially. Our parents our helping to pay for food so we gave them almost equal amounts of seats for people they wanted to invite.

    Once your FI starts to see how much it costs to host so many guests he will definitely start to rethink his list.
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    We had the same issue.  My FI gave me his initial list and it had over 300 people on it.  I basically had a panic attack.  He wanted to invite everyone he has ever met and have a huge party, and I didn't want a wedding where I didn't even have enough time to say hello to people on a pretty major day of our life (because if you do the math, and you have 300 people, talk to each person for one minute, then that is 5 hours of saying hello).   If you put it in perspective like that, he might realize a little more how many people that really is.  Also, something else to remind him of is that this is a really big day in your lives (together), so you want to celebrate with people who are important to both of you, and will be in your lives in the future.  That helped him realized that the college friends that he partied with, but hasn't seen in years (and I have never met, and probably never will), aren't as necessary to have at the wedding
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    The PPs have posted mostly about the budget, but is there also an issue of just how many people and what type of wedding you want it to be?  Your OP mentioned that you envisioned a small, intimate wedding.  At any time did you make it clear to your FI that that was what you wanted and not a family reunion for his side?

    You need to talk about that as well as the budget.  I'd make it clear that not only can the cost of what he wants not fit in your budget, but that you did not envision your wedding with as many people as he wants and you aren't comfortable with it.
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    Hi Ladies, thank you for chiming in, I really appreciate all of your thoughts & advice! FI knows I envisioned a small gathering, and he still wants a huge bash. We also set a budget, and FI feels with 300 people we can still come under budget. I have researched the crap out of venues in the area and know a venue is going to eat up 1/4 to 1/2 of our budget....and he still thinks we can afford this? I spoke with him last night about venues and apparently he has been taking the advice of a friend's mother who told him "you have plenty of time to book a venue for next year." No we don't Lady! Places are already 3/4 booked and most places are already booked for 2014 in April, May, and June, which are the months we were thinking about.
    I do not want to start a marriage in debt because he is afraid of disappointing his family and has unrealistic expectations. I am a saver and he is a spender when it comes to social events. A close friend is a DJ, I am artsy/crafty and want to make all the decor myself, his family is actually making the food if we purchase the ingredients (BBQ type buffet) which is most helpful, and I know we will save $ in those areas. 

    I love the idea of pricing out a few venues so he can get a better idea of what a wedding really costs. I am going to do that.

    I am glad to hear there are others who have experienced the same situation. Elopement is sounding better and better!!!
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