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Ok, this is getting out of hand...

(9 Posts)
ArgNooooo Fri 16-Sep-11 17:41:05

We're having a "small" wedding, 40 people at the ceremony. That number doubles for the reception, by the time we invited our friends and their families, and DP's aunts. (He has a large family.)

We planned an informal gathering for the reception; buffet, no seating plan, and only one short speech so we can say thanks to the people who helped. Basically, we wanted it somewhat intimate. My nan suggested that my great-aunt (her sister-in-law) do the catering, as she's very good at it and has catered for large numbers of people before. Her daughter, (nan's niece) has also offered to make a cake. My mum will pay for the food, but she isn't charging apart from that. I figured that my great-uncle and their daughter's partner would come too.

I phoned today to find out what my great-aunt would need on the day, and how many people would be helping her. My nan has been making vague remarks about how I "Must invite so-and-so" for a week or two now, and I wanted to curtail that speculation.

Well, my great-aunt started asking how many vegetarians, what equipment, all normal. Then she asked an idle question about speeches, and I said we wouldn't really be having any, as there were quite a few children. I couldn't remember off the top of my head, so I think I said there would be six or seven, possibly up to ten. She replied, "yes, and of course A and B, and C and D," who are her grandchildren! It turns out that what I thought would be a group of four adults, possibly five, will be more like thirteen or fourteen, because my nan (according to great-aunt) implied (or flat out said, I don't know) that they were all welcome! My great-aunt has five children, and now it seems like all or most of them, and their children are somehow invited!

DP is not happy. Heck, I am not happy. I did not want all my extended family there. I never see them, have pretty much nothing to do with them. But I can't very well say "Oh, no, actually they're not welcome, after all", when I'm asking my great-aunt to give up an afternoon and evening to cater for my wedding.

On top of this, I have caused strain by not inviting my step-sister (who I also never see). I can see my mum's point here, I guess, though when we invited people we did it based on who we wanted to be there, not on who we "should" invite. I really don't like my step-father, and I never speak to his children. They were all but adults when we met them, and they never lived with him or saw him much. But, I was invited to my stepsister's wedding, as I was a child, and lived with him and my mum. I can see my mum's point.

The other side to this is that DP has clinical depression, and problems with anxiety. He doesn't cope well with lots of people. He's hanging in there with the current guest list, as more than half of those at the reception were his family and friends, or my friends that he knows well. The extras are really putting a lot of strain on him though, and he is cross with both my nan and great-aunt for them all "inviting themselves". I haven't even told him about my mum's comments regarding my stepsister. (And won't be following her advice of inviting her and not telling DP - betrayal of his trust much?)

Anyway, I don't know what I can really do about this now, the wedding is in 3 weeks. Just.....ARRRRRRG!!

Oh yeah, I namechanged, as I don't want too much about DP's health linked to my normal name as I use it everywhere. I am a regular, honest, though not a well-known one.

RoseC Fri 16-Sep-11 19:05:34

Wow. I'm not sure any of my suggestions are feasible but I didn't want to read and run.

- How large is the venue? Check in case there is a maximum allowance for the insurance and you can, reasonably, claim you;re limited on numbers due to space. Ditto tables/chairs etc.

To be honest I'm not sure that there is a 'good' way of dis-inviting your family, although the lack of a formal invitation should have been a hint. Are they coming for the ceremony or just for the party? Many people see weddings as a time for extended families to get together, celebrate and catch up. Maybe this is their viewpoint and they genuinely don't understand the concept of a small, intimate wedding.

Either you can tell them you don't want them there, which is likely to cause a great deal of upset, or you could - depending on how close you are to your great aunt and what your DP thinks - gently hint about his anxiety. It is not ideal but would be the only certain way to keep them from coming. You could ask her to keep confidentiality and just explain to her children that your nan was mistaken and give the venue space excuse above. Ditto telling your nan the truth, TBH, especially as she started the problem.

Re: your stepsister. There's no way you can get out of this without hurting her, unless you have her there. If you don't intend to speak to her for a couple of years, fine (worst case scenario) but if you want to preserve the peace then you may have to grit your teeth. Although 80 people isn't a big wedding it's still enough that you don't need to spend any time with her if you so choose.

redexpat Fri 16-Sep-11 19:15:14

Could you ring/write to the extended family and tell a big fat little white lie that there is not enough space at the venue, you're terribly sorry about the mix up, and that you would love to see them but that on this occasion it is just not possible. Invite them over for coffee or something before Christmas?

Continue to ignore your Mum re: step sister. You were only invited out of duty when you were a child. If youre not close your step sister probably doesnt want to come, but will out of the same duty.

Chin up. It will all be over soon and then you and DH will have the rest of your lives together smile

raspberrytipple Fri 16-Sep-11 19:26:01

I could have written the first half of your post myself as a few months ago as we started out with exactly the same intention i.e. 35 for the ceremony then 60 ish in the evening. We wanted it to be only people that we were very, very close too and were going to part of our new married lives going forward. We both have large extended families and we had to be really strict that we were not having certain people there. We kept it to absolute closest/bestest to the ceremony and then a wider circle of friends and a few work colleagues in the evening.

It is very, very hard to keep a balance. I didn't want so many people there that I couldn't get to speak to everyone which, with a lot of people is a big possibility, we had 70 in the evening on the day and I struggled to spend a nice amount of time with everyone but managed it.

If you don't want someone there then don't invite them. Your wedding day is so, so special for you and DP and goes by so very quickly. Most people actually don't give a toss about the 'family' bollocks, they just want a night out and a chance to buy a new outfit. Yes we had fallings out and certain people who we invited to the evening do but who thought they should be at the ceremony decided not to come at all but given we haven't seen them in 9 years, another few while they get over their tantrum wont hurt wink

I can't see the point in stressing about someone being pee'd off with me if I never see them and they seem to be the people you are referring to above. You wouldn't be saying 'well, I said you were welcome and now you aren't' you've been clear that you wanted to keep it small. I would just gently explain that your invitation list is made up of those people who mean the most to you, that you see often and will continue to see often after the wedding, you don't mean any offense but really, but you had not intended to invite them originally and wont be able to change that now'. I don't know your family so don't know how they would react but we had to un-invite someone due to family politics, but again it was someone we haven't seen in 10 years and certainly probably wont ever see again so......

Anyway, it is difficult and I shed a few tears in the last week or so before the big day, but on the day it was perfect and we had a lovely time and there haven't been any fallings out since smile

Congratulations and I hope it all resolves itself and you have a fab day - which is when btw?? smile

raspberrytipple Fri 16-Sep-11 19:32:14

oh sorry, I just noticed that you said 3 weeks. 3 weeks is waaaay to short notice now to start adding people in smile but honestly, you don't want to be looking around your wedding and thinking 'god, I am going to have to go and say hello' or looking around seeing people you dont really know as they will demand some of your time. It goes by very quickly and you need to feel comfortable all the time you are there, especially your DP if he has anxiety issues as he will be nervous enough as it is xx

PurpleLostPrincess Fri 16-Sep-11 19:57:05

I really feel for you! My DH has severe anxiety issues and we tried to keep our wedding as small as possible. As it was, we were just going to have my parents, his Mum and our kids at the registry office - we were going to try and just have two people off the street as our witnesses but my parents convinced us to have my DC's there as it was an important part of the family joining together and them gaining a new step dad.

Then, his sister invited herself!! He can't cope with groups of people but at the time, he was scared of her. She brought her husband and kids too, we couldn't believe it! We then just had a few friends (as planned) back at the house afterwards and it was a lovely day once she had left. We've not seen her for years and hopefully won't again.

Stand you ground - raspberry's suggestion is a good one, I'd go with that if it were me...

Hope it all goes well!

ArgNooooo Fri 16-Sep-11 23:32:18

Mmm, I don't personally see why I should have to invite my stepsister, because I don't agree with the fixed "protocol" s to who must and mustn't be invited. Although I may talk to DP now that he's more relaxed, and at least run the idea by him. I don't dislike her (just her father, my step-father blush ) so I wouldn't have a massive problem with her being there, but I also think she'll be just as offended to get a last-minute invitation than nothing at all.

As for my great-aunt and the whole motley crew, part of the problem lies in the fact that they are very close knit, and the more I think about it, the more I can see why their way of life would make them just assume they were welcome. They tend to have large get-togethers a lot, and quite possibly regard it as a "family wedding, of course we're invited" thing, especially if my nan has slipped a hint in that direction hmm. My nan's family is a Welsh coal mining one, and although her parents moved to England when she was a child, they still all stay in touch with each other, even second and third cousins, though we don't see them very often. I spoke to my mum earlier and she essentially said the same thing.

I think the main problem is that it's now so close to the wedding, and I know that they all think they're invited - probably children included. It seems really horrible to then say "actually, no", especially when my great-aunt and my cousin (second cousin? Once removed? I give up) are going to so much effort with the food and making wedding cakes for me. We're paying for the food, but not for their time.

ArgNooooo Fri 16-Sep-11 23:35:39

Forgot to add, I know all of my nan's nieces and nephews a little (have seen them at the odd gathering here and there), but don't know their children very well at all. They're nice enough, (though one of them is pretty religious, in a slightly in-your-face way) it's just, I didn't invite them!

raspberrytipple Sat 17-Sep-11 07:26:10

Sounds like you are swaying towards having them, you never know they may make the party! Don't feel bad for not wanting them there then letting them come. There is nothing wrong with that, now your over the initial shock of finding out they are all invited. I was so worried that things like this would ruin our day and even up to the day before I was having wobbles but you know what? It went perfectly and we had an amazing day despite it being not want we really planned for when we decided to get married. It's about you and DH and no-one else :D try not to stress to much, I really did and realise now that it was all uncalled for. Hope you have a lovely day and a happy healthy marriage together, it's really the best thing we've ever done (being married, not necessarily just the wedding lol) xx

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