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!