Wedding Woes

Wedding guest list is WAY out of control...what do I do?

My fiancé and I are getting married next year and have booked a reception venue that can hold 400 people. My parents have very generously offered to pay for our entire wedding. While I would like to have 300 people (325 at the most), the wedding guest list has gotten out of control. My fiancé and I compiled a guest list of 100 people, his parents 155 people, and my own parents, over 250, bringing the total to over 500 people invited to our wedding. I have tried to talk to my parents about the list multiple times and have explained that, while I am unbelievably grateful that they are being supportive and footing the bill, the guest list needs to come down because the wedding is now so massive that it is not what my fiancé and I want. 

They won't cut the list. Their justifications are that they are "inviting X, Y, and Z but they won't come," and if they cut the list then they couldn't invite any of their friends and it would be a family-only wedding (their current list stands at over 100 family and the rest are friends), and they're not spending X amount of money on a wedding and not inviting everyone they want or offending people by not inviting them. I obviously want them to have everyone there that they wish to celebrate with, but many invites are also "courtesy" invites of family that we do not talk to or see, and people in our community that they "need" to invite but do not socialize with (I understand that some business associates, but these aren't associates, but people that they feel they couldn't exclude socially). They also say that we will have, at most, 350 out of the over 500 invitees actually attend. I am concerned for two reasons: first, I am worried that we will have so many people reply "yes" that we will not be able to have the reception at the venue (it is a seated dinner, so we can't really get by with a certain number) and when RSVPs come in, we will be scrambling to change the entire day to a venue that is far from the ceremony, or not find one at all. And second, while it may be selfish, I am afraid that the wedding will be so massive that my fiancé and I will spend the entire day meeting, greeting, and talking to people that we barely know or do not know at all instead of enjoying our day with each other and our friends and family that we are close to. 

So, basically, I am asking for advice short of cutting my entire guest list or eloping! 

Re: Wedding guest list is WAY out of control...what do I do?

  • Your parents are clearly only offering to pay so that they can hijack your occasion to throw themselves a party.  I had this happen to me, too.  What I did was cancel it, save up, and then replan a wedding without giving them a guest list at all.  It was great, and I'd recommend it to anyone.
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  • pinkshorts27pinkshorts27 Oregon member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments First Anniversary First Answer
    My fiancé and I are getting married next year and have booked a reception venue that can hold 400 people. My parents have very generously offered to pay for our entire wedding. While I would like to have 300 people (325 at the most), the wedding guest list has gotten out of control. My fiancé and I compiled a guest list of 100 people, his parents 155 people, and my own parents, over 250, bringing the total to over 500 people invited to our wedding. I have tried to talk to my parents about the list multiple times and have explained that, while I am unbelievably grateful that they are being supportive and footing the bill, the guest list needs to come down because the wedding is now so massive that it is not what my fiancé and I want. 

    They won't cut the list. Their justifications are that they are "inviting X, Y, and Z but they won't come," and if they cut the list then they couldn't invite any of their friends and it would be a family-only wedding (their current list stands at over 100 family and the rest are friends), and they're not spending X amount of money on a wedding and not inviting everyone they want or offending people by not inviting them. I obviously want them to have everyone there that they wish to celebrate with, but many invites are also "courtesy" invites of family that we do not talk to or see, and people in our community that they "need" to invite but do not socialize with (I understand that some business associates, but these aren't associates, but people that they feel they couldn't exclude socially). They also say that we will have, at most, 350 out of the over 500 invitees actually attend. I am concerned for two reasons: first, I am worried that we will have so many people reply "yes" that we will not be able to have the reception at the venue (it is a seated dinner, so we can't really get by with a certain number) and when RSVPs come in, we will be scrambling to change the entire day to a venue that is far from the ceremony, or not find one at all. And second, while it may be selfish, I am afraid that the wedding will be so massive that my fiancé and I will spend the entire day meeting, greeting, and talking to people that we barely know or do not know at all instead of enjoying our day with each other and our friends and family that we are close to. 

    So, basically, I am asking for advice short of cutting my entire guest list or eloping! 
    A few things: 
    1. Money comes with strings. If you don't like the strings, plan a wedding you can afford without their money.
    2. Don't invite more than your venue can hold, at all. Not one more person. Doing so is asking for trouble so don't. We have seen brides get in trouble that way. Also the max it can hold is usually not very comfortable, so if you have 400 people and tables might be squished and not very comfortable. 


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  • be firm with them and say well i appreicate the money you are offering the venue we both fell in love with has a max of 400 people, while we do understand that people will decline you always have to assume that everyone might attend, we cannot risk that only 350 from 500 will attend. so mom and dad we wont be able to acept any of your money. this is the guest list we have compiled and this what we can hold comfortably
  • JCbride2015JCbride2015 Dirty Jerz member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary First Answer
    @Pinkshorts27 is exactly right.  Your parents' money comes with strings: they want to invite all these people.  If they absolutely will not budge, decline their money and save up for the wedding you want and can afford without your parents.

    Have you leveraged the occupancy limit with them?  It sounds like budget is not a concern, but space absolutely is.  Try telling them that you never know who will surprise them and travel for the wedding, and you'd hate to invite someone hoping they won't come.  Explain that they will look bad as hosts if everyone is crammed in.

    If you can't reason with them, you're going to have to decline their money.  Sorry. :-/
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  • Honestly is 500 really that different from 400 in terms of the day feeling massive? Probably not. I'd focus on the venue. "Mom, Dad, I'm going to spend my entire engagement worried about too many people coming. If you can't cut your guest list to 150 people then we need to find a venue that will accommodate 500." Your parents are clearly paying so that they can invite all their people. If you don't want that yo happen you need to decline the money
  • Since your parents are paying, it's not fair to ask only them to cut down their guest list.

    Can you, his parents, and your parents all cut down?  You each cut out around 35 people?  Seems your parents would be willing to do that.

    You just need to get your invitation list down to 400 (the max limit) and then hope some declines will make it the more reasonable size you want.

    Otherwise, if they won't budge at all, then I agree you need to decline the money and plan your own wedding using your own funds.

    As someone who had a guest list of 85, it always boggles my mind how people can't narrow down to 400.  But I guess we just have very different friend and family circles.

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