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Etiquette

Step Family Invitations- For the family of the Step-Father of the Bride

I am trying to figure out how to handle a somewhat delicate situation. My fiance and I are getting married and are aiming at celebrating with 120 close friends and family. My parents are divorced and both my fiance and I have large extended families that we want to include. My mother was originally paying for the wedding completely, but now my father has agreed to pay for half of the wedding and we are including him with my mom and stepfather on the invitation. My stepfather is not paying for the wedding. My mother has said time and again that she really wants this to be a wedding of our friends and family and to invite who we want, not people we don't know.

My stepfather has taken a very keen interest in the wedding, much more than I would have expected (he has been involved with a few things that I thought would have just been handled by me and my mother). He is also very involved in organizing the guest list. And he has added to it. (Background: my mother met my stepfather during my first year of grad school and they were married the next year, I have only known him for 6 years. I also have two former step-mothers whom I no longer speak to). 

He has asked that we invite his brother and his sister and their spouses, which we agreed to because I have met them on a few occasions and it seemed important to him. But then he also added all of their children to the list. This is what I had a problem with. Of the 7 people he added to the list, I have only met 3 of them, and only one of those 3 more than once. He also has a minor on the list when we have stated time and again that no children are invited to the wedding. I have a step sister and step brother who will be in attendance and have asked my stepsister to read at my mom and stepfather's instance, over one of my very close cousins. My dad's side of the family is only getting 10 seats total. To give 7 to step family I have either never met or met once seems odd to me. They have never tried to reach out to me and we have very little in common in general. He has also put his family over some of my own cousins who have had to be cut from the list. 

I have explained that I would rather have them on the "To Be Considered" list and extend an invitation only if there is room. But this has not worked. He has literally moved them up the list and added them to parts of our already completed list. 

Nothing I have done so far seems to get through to either my mother or stepfather and it is actually the biggest cause of stress for our wedding planning. My mother has told me to stop bringing it up and just deal with it, but it actually worries me that 5% of the guest at my wedding could be strangers to me. 

Sorry for the length of this, but I will take any advice at this point!

Re: Step Family Invitations- For the family of the Step-Father of the Bride

  • You have two options:

    1. You and your FI sit down with your father (since he is contributing financially to the wedding), your mother, and your stepfather. Tell them that you are putting your foot down on this, because it is your day (see if your father will help with this). This may mean that you have to give up your mother's financial assistance. There are some things that are just not worth giving in on. Your cousins are important to you, your step-father's family are people you've never met. Don't let this ruin relationships between you and your cousins or have them feel slighted to host strangers at your wedding.

    2. Give in and let your mother and stepfather control the guest list and wedding experience.

    You have to decide which option you can live with. I'm a sucker for justice, so I'm hoping you choose option 1 and it all works out for you. Obviously, you can try and couch it nicely, but judging from your post, you'll need to be firm to get your point across.

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  • levioosalevioosa Southern California member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I am trying to figure out how to handle a somewhat delicate situation. My fiance and I are getting married and are aiming at celebrating with 120 close friends and family. My parents are divorced and both my fiance and I have large extended families that we want to include. My mother was originally paying for the wedding completely, but now my father has agreed to pay for half of the wedding and we are including him with my mom and stepfather on the invitation. My stepfather is not paying for the wedding. My mother has said time and again that she really wants this to be a wedding of our friends and family and to invite who we want, not people we don't know.

    My stepfather has taken a very keen interest in the wedding, much more than I would have expected (he has been involved with a few things that I thought would have just been handled by me and my mother). He is also very involved in organizing the guest list. And he has added to it. (Background: my mother met my stepfather during my first year of grad school and they were married the next year, I have only known him for 6 years. I also have two former step-mothers whom I no longer speak to). 

    He has asked that we invite his brother and his sister and their spouses, which we agreed to because I have met them on a few occasions and it seemed important to him. But then he also added all of their children to the list. This is what I had a problem with. Of the 7 people he added to the list, I have only met 3 of them, and only one of those 3 more than once. He also has a minor on the list when we have stated time and again that no children are invited to the wedding. I have a step sister and step brother who will be in attendance and have asked my stepsister to read at my mom and stepfather's instance, over one of my very close cousins. My dad's side of the family is only getting 10 seats total. To give 7 to step family I have either never met or met once seems odd to me. They have never tried to reach out to me and we have very little in common in general. He has also put his family over some of my own cousins who have had to be cut from the list. 

    I have explained that I would rather have them on the "To Be Considered" list and extend an invitation only if there is room. But this has not worked. He has literally moved them up the list and added them to parts of our already completed list. 

    Nothing I have done so far seems to get through to either my mother or stepfather and it is actually the biggest cause of stress for our wedding planning. My mother has told me to stop bringing it up and just deal with it, but it actually worries me that 5% of the guest at my wedding could be strangers to me. 

    Sorry for the length of this, but I will take any advice at this point!
    PPS have some good advice.  

    To the bolded: B-listing is rude.  People know when they have been B listed, and it tells them, "you weren't good enough to be in the first group, but you're second string good enough, I guess....this invite really means I want more gifts."


    image
    InLoveInQueens
  • levioosa said:
    I am trying to figure out how to handle a somewhat delicate situation. My fiance and I are getting married and are aiming at celebrating with 120 close friends and family. My parents are divorced and both my fiance and I have large extended families that we want to include. My mother was originally paying for the wedding completely, but now my father has agreed to pay for half of the wedding and we are including him with my mom and stepfather on the invitation. My stepfather is not paying for the wedding. My mother has said time and again that she really wants this to be a wedding of our friends and family and to invite who we want, not people we don't know.

    My stepfather has taken a very keen interest in the wedding, much more than I would have expected (he has been involved with a few things that I thought would have just been handled by me and my mother). He is also very involved in organizing the guest list. And he has added to it. (Background: my mother met my stepfather during my first year of grad school and they were married the next year, I have only known him for 6 years. I also have two former step-mothers whom I no longer speak to). 

    He has asked that we invite his brother and his sister and their spouses, which we agreed to because I have met them on a few occasions and it seemed important to him. But then he also added all of their children to the list. This is what I had a problem with. Of the 7 people he added to the list, I have only met 3 of them, and only one of those 3 more than once. He also has a minor on the list when we have stated time and again that no children are invited to the wedding. I have a step sister and step brother who will be in attendance and have asked my stepsister to read at my mom and stepfather's instance, over one of my very close cousins. My dad's side of the family is only getting 10 seats total. To give 7 to step family I have either never met or met once seems odd to me. They have never tried to reach out to me and we have very little in common in general. He has also put his family over some of my own cousins who have had to be cut from the list. 

    I have explained that I would rather have them on the "To Be Considered" list and extend an invitation only if there is room. But this has not worked. He has literally moved them up the list and added them to parts of our already completed list. 

    Nothing I have done so far seems to get through to either my mother or stepfather and it is actually the biggest cause of stress for our wedding planning. My mother has told me to stop bringing it up and just deal with it, but it actually worries me that 5% of the guest at my wedding could be strangers to me. 

    Sorry for the length of this, but I will take any advice at this point!
    PPS have some good advice.  

    To the bolded: B-listing is rude.  People know when they have been B listed, and it tells them, "you weren't good enough to be in the first group, but you're second string good enough, I guess....this invite really means I want more gifts."
    I didn't take her remark as B-listing. We've often said when making a list you should have your must haves, would like to haves and if there is room people then cut down from there until you have the number you can afford. I took her "to be considered" as the last in that list of people so they would be cut first.
    JediElizabethlc07
  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited February 2017
    I am trying to figure out how to handle a somewhat delicate situation. My fiance and I are getting married and are aiming at celebrating with 120 close friends and family. My parents are divorced and both my fiance and I have large extended families that we want to include. My mother was originally paying for the wedding completely, but now my father has agreed to pay for half of the wedding and we are including him with my mom and stepfather on the invitation. My stepfather is not paying for the wedding. My mother has said time and again that she really wants this to be a wedding of our friends and family and to invite who we want, not people we don't know.

    My stepfather has taken a very keen interest in the wedding, much more than I would have expected (he has been involved with a few things that I thought would have just been handled by me and my mother). He is also very involved in organizing the guest list. And he has added to it. (Background: my mother met my stepfather during my first year of grad school and they were married the next year, I have only known him for 6 years. I also have two former step-mothers whom I no longer speak to). 

    He has asked that we invite his brother and his sister and their spouses, which we agreed to because I have met them on a few occasions and it seemed important to him. But then he also added all of their children to the list. This is what I had a problem with. Of the 7 people he added to the list, I have only met 3 of them, and only one of those 3 more than once. He also has a minor on the list when we have stated time and again that no children are invited to the wedding. I have a step sister and step brother who will be in attendance and have asked my stepsister to read at my mom and stepfather's instance, over one of my very close cousins. My dad's side of the family is only getting 10 seats total. To give 7 to step family I have either never met or met once seems odd to me. They have never tried to reach out to me and we have very little in common in general. He has also put his family over some of my own cousins who have had to be cut from the list. 

    I have explained that I would rather have them on the "To Be Considered" list and extend an invitation only if there is room. But this has not worked. He has literally moved them up the list and added them to parts of our already completed list. 

    Nothing I have done so far seems to get through to either my mother or stepfather and it is actually the biggest cause of stress for our wedding planning. My mother has told me to stop bringing it up and just deal with it, but it actually worries me that 5% of the guest at my wedding could be strangers to me. 

    Sorry for the length of this, but I will take any advice at this point!
    Your stepfather is out of line.  He does not get to decide your guest list.  Tell him that your are sorry, but that the invitation will only be for his brother and sister and their spouses.  You will be addressing the invitations, and you will have control.  Make certain that the Rsvp. says "Two seats have been reserved in your honor."

    I think your Mom just doesn't want to get involved in a family squabble, which her husband has created on his own.

    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
    KnotYetTied
  • LondonLisaLondonLisa London, UK member
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I think your first bad move was to bend to the request of the step sister over your cousin. Taking money from people means strings are attached. You don't know the financial situation of your mum and step father, so you don't know if he is contributing. 

    If you have tried to talk to them and they were unwilling to compromise, it sounds like your mum is insisting they come. I would return your mother's money and say 'I really appreciate the generous offer. However, it is important to us to be able to control the guest list. Therefore if the money comes with the strings of inviting these guests, we will be unable to accept it.' 

    But honestly, posters always say 'I don't want people I don't know at the wedding'. I promise, you won't notice them. I had people I absolutely adored that I only got a few minutes with. If space/budget aren't an issue, I would just deal with it. (But not the child, just say no). 
    short+sassySP29
  • I agree that Mom and Stepfather are a package deal. Even if they have separate bank accounts, they are married and sharing a household- their money is essentially each others. If these people are important to your SF (stepfather), I can see why he'd like to invite them. It also sounds like your Mom is supportive of this as well. It is however nice that your Mom early did say she wanted the guest list to be about you.

    OP, I do understand where you are coming from, I also wouldn't be too keen to invite these additional guests either. But your Mom/SF are contributing significantly to the budget, so they get a significant say. I would sit down with your Mom and SF and discuss with them, but you will have to be tactful and realize at the end of the day, if they want these guests invited you have two options: 1) suck it up and go with it or 2) decline their money, pay for your own wedding and have the guest list you want. What can you live with most?

    Is this 120 guests based on budget or venue capacity? I would tell your Mom and SF that while you are happy to invite his siblings and SOs, you are not happy that you have had to cut your own cousins from the guest list in order to invite your SF's nieces and nephews. I would bring up the use of circles in inviting. Your SF's nieces and nephews are a new, separate circle, which would be easy to cut from the guest list. You can also say that inviting some cousins but not others is a breaking a circle, and you wouldn't like to do that. If budget is the main issue, I would tell them that you and FI are unable to accommodate the additional guests, so if Mom/SF want them to attend, then they need to cover the additional costs, without cutting more of your cousins.

    I think it is fine to say that you have envisioned a more intimate wedding (although 120 guests isn't super intimate, and adding 5% more guests isn't really a big deal), I wouldn't bring up the "strangers" comment. There are going to be people at your wedding that you do not know- significant others of your guests. And that is fine- you are inviting these people because they are important to one or more of your guests, thus they become important to you. You never know who you will develop a strong relationship with in time.

    As for your ceremony and step sister doing a reading- if you have already asked her, it's too late now, BUT... the ceremony is the one aspect that truly is all about the bride and the groom. No one gets to tell you what to wear, what kind of ceremony you should have, who is in your WP or who takes part in the ceremony. Stand firm here.

    As for venue capacity- just an FYI- it is wise to never invite to the venue capacity. 1) You should be prepared for all of your adult guests to be in a relationship at the time invitations go out. Significant others should always be invited by name, and this is decided at the time invitations are sent, not now (sounds like you're still a fair ways away from your wedding date). 2) When a venue tells you it can hold X number of guests, that is usually with full tables and tables using every foot of the venue space (i.e. set up on the dance floor, which then need to be moved later). Give yourself some wiggle room!

    Good luck- let us know how it goes.
    short+sassyJen4948
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    edited February 2017
    I'm surprised to see PPs saying the step-father is out of line and the OP should put her foot down about inviting these people. The mother and step-father are paying, as is the father, right? He/she who pays gets a say and if these are the strings that are attached to the money sounds like there are two options; decline the money and host the event you want, invite who you want and pay for it yourself; or keep the money and invite these 7 people. 

    Why 120 people? Is that the venue capacity, a budget number, or something else? Just seems like for such a small number of guests this doesn't seem like a hill to die on. 

    I will say your mom and step-father should not dictate who reads or stands up in your ceremony and that you should choose who you want. In this case (and not the guest list) I would advocate to stand up for what you and your FI want. 
    I partially disagree. The mother and stepfather need to entertain his family on their own time and not force the OP to drop people from her guest list that she's closer to in order to invite them.  If they are going to use her wedding to do that, then I think she needs to put her foot down and tell them no.

    But I agree that if they are trying to use paying for the wedding to force that on her, then it's perfectly reasonable (not to mention mature and adult-like) to return their money. The mother and stepfather have some getting over it to do.
  • KnotYetTiedKnotYetTied member
    10 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited February 2017
    I'm surprised to see PPs saying the step-father is out of line and the OP should put her foot down about inviting these people. The mother and step-father are paying, as is the father, right? He/she who pays gets a say and if these are the strings that are attached to the money sounds like there are two options; decline the money and host the event you want, invite who you want and pay for it yourself; or keep the money and invite these 7 people. 

    Why 120 people? Is that the venue capacity, a budget number, or something else? Just seems like for such a small number of guests this doesn't seem like a hill to die on. 

    I will say your mom and step-father should not dictate who reads or stands up in your ceremony and that you should choose who you want. In this case (and not the guest list) I would advocate to stand up for what you and your FI want. 


    I say it's out of line, because of this comment in the OP, " He has also put his family over some of my own cousins who have had to be cut from the list."

    If the bride is having to exclude people she wants to invite in order to invite strangers that her stepfather wants to invite, then yes, he's out of line. I don't know why 120 people, but if that's the agreed budget, then those cousins that the bride knows, is close to, and wants to invite, should indeed be invited over random strangers from the stepfather.

    ETA - Also, PP's about the stepfather using this as a makeshift family reunion on the mother and bio dad's dime is so accurate, and so very awful.

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    SP29Jen4948
  • On the subject of them wanting your step-sister to do a reading instead of your cousin, if step-sister hasn't already been asked, I'd push back on that.

    But if she has already been asked or it's a sticking point for your mom/stepdad and you'd rather have their financial help, you could have your cousin also do a reading.  If you have two people doing readings, I'd just make sure that both passages are on the shorter side.

    For example, when my mom married my stepfather, she didn't want any attendants, but did ask both my sister and I to do a reading.  It worked out well and wasn't too lengthy for guests.

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