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Guests at weddings

(51 Posts)
NotReallySureNow Sat 16-Apr-16 15:56:36

I'm getting married next Spring. My parents are very traditional and my Dad sees it as his responsibility to pay for the wedding. We have discussed the budget and options with him and agreed a venue etc, all fine and he's very happy with it and excited about it all. My DF was part of it too of course. So my Dad is paying for the wedding breakfast (sit down meal etc and quite expensive) plus my parents are giving us a cash sum to pay for other things like clothes, DJ, evening reception etc. My DF and I will pay for some things though and are saving for this.

We can invite about 100 people to the full day in total but my parents have family friends and distant relatives they want to invite. That's so problem for me I understand if they're paying they get a say. However say my Mum and Dad have 20 people to invite should they come out of my side or leave my fiancé and I with 40 guests each?

I don't like saying "my family is paying so I get dibs on guests" but equally should we give my parents a few extra as they're paying?

andintothefire Sat 16-Apr-16 16:03:50

I don't think there is a right answer here. Can you sit down and make a list together, then see if there really is a problem with the number of guests? I don't think it is wrong for your parents to have a few extra people there - after all, if they weren't paying you might be more limited with guests. However, you probably don't want it to feel too one-sided either. Can you start off with, say, 40 or 45 guests for each side (you and your fiancée) and then leave the final 10 or 20 for negotiations between you all depending on if anybody important to either of your parents isn't on the list?

Drquin Sat 16-Apr-16 16:03:52

I don't think there's any "should" about it ..... The only "should" is that you, fiancé and parents "should" agree on the guest list split before anyone starts getting hacked off with their share, or thinking their financial contribution buys them X number of tickets.

Ideally, the friends and family your parents invite would be people you are happy to see at your wedding, irrespective of whose list they were on.

Dexterjamesmummy Sat 16-Apr-16 16:25:43

Surely the guest list is up to you regardless of who contributes to the cost of the wedding, it's your day not theirs.

totalrecall1 Sat 16-Apr-16 16:28:06

I agree. Its lovely your DF has offered to contribute, but that doesn't mean he should get the lions share of the guests. I think maybe you can justify 4 or 5 more people your side as a result of his contribution, but no more

Pinkheart5915 Sat 16-Apr-16 16:31:10

I don't agree with if your parents are paying they get a say.
Although very kind of them to offer to pay I assume they are doing so you can have a lovely wedding day.
It's your and your partners wedding and you should be the ones choosing guests.

MoreGilmoreGirls Sat 16-Apr-16 16:31:34

I don't think your parents should assume they get to invite people to your wedding. If you and your DH are happy to have some of their friends there then that's up to you but I think their attitude is a bit off. It's lovely of them to offer to pay but it's still your day.

TheCrumpettyTree Sat 16-Apr-16 16:33:30

I don't think a contributions means you get to dictate the guest list. Make a list of everyone you want there, see how many that comes to then discuss it with your parents. Your friends are more important than distant relatives in my opinion.

Alternatively you save up and pay for your own wedding and invite who you like.

SmallBee Sat 16-Apr-16 16:34:41

I think the first step is for you and your fiancee to make a guest list yourselves, depending on how many people you want to invite then it might be a non issue anyway.
Then you can give your parents the list and they can see if they're willing to pay for extra guests on top of that?

booitsme Sat 16-Apr-16 16:36:48

My parents paid. They wrote down who they wanted to invite, my df and I did a list and his parents did a list. We all knew it was a medium sized wedding and not to invite friends cousins brothers... It worked out well. Why don't you just ask everyone to do the same, see what you all come up with and then cut down if have to. I'm sure your dad won't think he can invite 80% and you 20% and is aware your df parents will have people to invite as will you and df. However, if you spoke to him about how many he was 'allowed' to invite he may feel a bit put out and it might not even be a necessary conversation in any event.

Fratelli Sat 16-Apr-16 16:36:51

Gifts should come with no strings attached. However that doesn't sound as if it's the case here. It might be better to politely decline their offer and pay for it yourselves.

Wizzles Sat 16-Apr-16 16:37:43

Does it really have to be a case of "you invite X people & I'll invite Y" ? Surely that only works if your families are the same size and you have the same number of friends?

Can't you just both say who you would like to invite & take it from there?

CaptainMorgansMistress Sat 16-Apr-16 16:37:51

We split out list into 3rds:

- 1/3 my parents list (my family and their friends, ratio up to them!)
-1/3 in-laws list (DH's family and in-laws friends, ratio up to them)
- 1/3 our friends

It worked brilliantly for us and meant that there was no issue over 'having to invite great auntie maud' as that was fine but it meant that parents / ILs had to have one less friend of theirs

CaptainMorgansMistress Sat 16-Apr-16 16:38:55

Also our families are quite differently sized so it evened that out in a way that felt fair and left the decision making to the people who were most likely to feel offended by it (DM and MIL)

OwlinaTree Sat 16-Apr-16 16:42:22

The best way to divide it up is to do your family and his family, then split the remaining guest 50/50. Your parent's guests are you family bit. It's not really fair to do it half and half as people have different sized families.

So in this seanrio, you and your df both write a list of which family you want to invite. So you might have 33, he might have 24. Then add on your parent's list. So around 75. Then you choose 25 friends between you/12 friends each.

If this is not enough you need a bigger venue.

Tbh, 20 out of 100 guests is quite a lot if these are all people in addition to family members they are assuming you are inviting. On the other hand, he who pays the piper calls the tune.

PhoenixReisling Sat 16-Apr-16 16:42:35

I would firstly draw up a list (you, DP and your parents) to see how many guests there are in total.

If there are over 100, could you and your DP contribute money to cover these additional guests? I appreciate that you said that your dad wanted to pay for the wedding however, by contributing towards these guests, then everyone can be happy.

budgiegirl Sat 16-Apr-16 16:47:25

We did the same as Mistress, 1/3 my parents (including family and friends), 1/3 in-laws, and 1/3 our friends. It wasn't set in stone, and there was a little leeway, but at least it was a decent starting point.

I don't think your parents should assume they get to invite people to your wedding Actually, if parents are paying for the majority of the wedding, it does seem to be a bit selfish to say that they can't have a bit of say in who they get to invite.

wheresthel1ght Sat 16-Apr-16 16:56:09

It's a conversation you need to have with all involved.

My parents paid for 50% of my wedding to stbxh but only asked for 2 couples to be included who tbh were already on the provisional guest list that we had drawn up.

Stbxh parents died long before we met and we sort of split the number we could afford into 4 categories;
My family I wanted there
His family he wanted there
Joint friends we wanted
Individual friends we wanted

We then all sat down and narrowed it down from there

My parents were brilliant tbh and basically said it was entirely up to us who we invited and literally only asked for the 2 couples to be included. We were happy to accommodate.

We did sit down with friends in our town and explain that due to budget and capacity they were welcome at the ceremony and evening do but the sit down meal would be for family only as majority of them had travelled 150-250 miles. Whilst not necessarily the done thing or the Mumsnet way no one was upset and everyone understood. And actually the party & buffet after was far better than the meal so they got the better deal tbh!

Wolpertinger Sat 16-Apr-16 17:07:09

Draw up your own list with your fiance now - mutual friends, your must-have relatives, his must-have relatives, all the plus ones etc and see how many it comes to.

Then see if you need to panic or not.

DH and I compromised a bit on his and mine guests (very small wedding) as his family is bigger than mine - he had siblings, their partners and kids, I got aunts and uncles and he didn't. He did point out once that he wasn't getting to invite aunts and uncles but I just told him that so far he'd got 10 must-have relatives down and I had one so this wasn't a fair way to split it.

Once you've made your list tell your parents now how many left over places there are and be prepared to haggle. I think it's fair they get to invite their friends but not fair for them to invite people you've never met.

Italiangreyhound Sat 16-Apr-16 17:08:33

Here is my take on it.

A) You agree the number your parents will invite (20 you said, which sounds very reasonable).

B) You and your fiance won't have an exclusive list of guests, you will have mutual guests you both want to invite so I would make a list of those who are definitely going to be invited that you both want,

C) Then some mutual friends you both are keen to invite if there is room.

D) Then you both make a list of friends you really must invite (each)

E) And finally a second list similar to above of friends you are individually keen to invite if there is room.

Then you decide together who to invite.

You have not mention your fiancées family, will they not be inviting anyone?

Do your parents want to invite more relatives than 20? IMHO before 'giving away' some of your 'number' I would make sure who you know who you really want to be there. Bear in mind not everyone will be free to attend but you can't assume they will not.

HowBadIsThisPlease Sat 16-Apr-16 17:15:11

"I don't agree with if your parents are paying they get a say." / "it's your day not theirs"

This isn't quite right, nor expressed quite as it should be.

the tradition of the bride's family paying for the wedding comes from times when the periodic weddings of young people were treated as important opportunities for the extended family and family friends to come together with a big celebration. It isn't that the bride's father is buying guests: it is that the family of the bride are celebrating a happy event and inviting everyone they care about to celebrate it with them, sometimes people who would otherwise struggle to justify an expensive journey but will make the effort for something as special as a wedding. It also marks the opportunity for such people to give gifts and help set up the young couple.

Nowadays we are more separate from our parents by the time we marry - often - and choose to pay for it ourselves, and are choosing a different circle to celebrate with. People who hit 30 before they marry have had enough adult life - and perhaps a significant career - and have had the chance to form a completely different community that centres around them as individuals. this is different from the extended family community that exists around a family, and includes people that might not matter as personal relationships to the offspring of that family.

so there are two different approaches, both completely legitimate. But in the first case - the extended - family - centred - tradition - it isn't as crude as to say "the bride's father buys guests" but it is a different tradition from a day that is all about the personal relationships and interests of the couple. and it is unfair to take the bride's father's money and deny him this tradition.

A lot of the posters on this thread are just going "your day, even if someone else is kind enough to pay" but that needs to be talked through. It would probably be unkind to accept the material generosity of a certain tradition and refute the customs associated with it.

WeAllHaveWings Sat 16-Apr-16 17:15:55

Traditionally the brides parents paid for and hosted the wedding, this meant they as hosts decided the guest list. It does sound like you are not questioning your dads guests, which is good because if you were, you should politely decline their very generous offer and host (and pay for) your own wedding.

There is no correct way to split the remaining guests, write a list each and take it from there.

Italiangreyhound Sat 16-Apr-16 17:18:41

Fratelli , personally I don't think of parents paying for or contributing to a wedding as being exactly a gift. It is more like parents paying for a child to do something - a course of study, a club, university (and all those things do carry some expectatoons with them). Contributing for a wedding does sometimes have more connotations than just a gift.

EG if Mum and Dad pay for it and the happy choose to invite none of the wider family at all, would that be OK? In my mind it would only be OK if mum and dad were OK with it. Yes, it is a person's wedding day but once someone offers to pay for it there is a kind of expectation. And it is not a bad expectation that one's wider family (assuming there is no abuse or family feuds) might be invited.

I'm closer now to paying for my own dd's wedding (must start a high interest savings account!!) than I am to my own wedding day! The older I get the more I see the wisdom of wider family and keeping them in your lives. Now we are at the stage of funerals in our family rather than weddings, (not me, I'm only 51 but you know what I mean) and I can see that wider family for some is very important. (This is not about your OP I am just commenting on what someone else said......)

NotReallySureNow Despite your name, you sound like you and your parents are on the same page.

Wolpertinger Sat 16-Apr-16 17:23:36

Also do you have an idea of how tables will be set at your venue or what evening do will be like?

So could your parents have 1 or 2 tables worth of guests to stop making it a weird number when you try to do tableplans? Are you planning to have a heavy metal band at the evening do that Great-Aunt Ethel won't like (or would absolutely love) anyway so you can have loads more friends then? And so on.

I forgot DH's parents really wanted to invite a distant elderly relative DH hadn't seen for years. DH was about to say no, when it emerged that she wouldn't have wanted to travel anyway. Which was a relief. I still haven't met her.

TiggerPiggerPoohBumWee Sat 16-Apr-16 17:27:03

Surely the guest list is up to you regardless of who contributes to the cost of the wedding, it's your day not theirs

No, thats not how it works. If you want full control, you pay for everything yourself. If you want to be traditional and have the brides parents pay, they get to invite their friends and family. Thats how it works.
You can't have it both ways, everything paid for and full control.

OP, your parents invite who they want, then you and your fiance agree on the rest. It's not like you really have his and hers anyway anymore, you presumably have mutual friends and know each others families.

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