My husband has a nephew who has twin sons who will graduate High School in May. While their parents house is very large and lovely, their outdoor space is very limited. We, on the other hand, have a nice, moderate sized house on acreage, so plenty of outdoor space. Our house used to belong to my husband's parents, so over the years there have been many, many family gatherings held there.
We heard that nephew and his wife were struggling to decide what to do for their sons' graduation party, so we offered use of our yard/home. They were thrilled with the offer and are planning a mostly outdoor party, for which they intend to provide all of the food, paperware, set up and clean up, etc. Because the party is at our home, we will of course be doing some work in terms of having the yard mowed and ready, the house clean, we are going to provide use of some tables and chairs that we have, and my husband is providing beer since he works in that industry. But that is, in my understanding, the extent of our contribution.
In speaking with my niece in law I was very clear that I consider this their party, and that I don't intend to be butting in trying to control things. She in turn offered to run everything by me to make sure we don't have issues with any of their plans. (ie: she'd like to hang some outdoor lights from our trees, I am fine with that.) She and I seem to be on the same page with things.
The other night my husband and I were discussing the party and he mentioned a few of his friends that were looking forward to it. I was very surprised and told him that we should not be inviting anyone, as it technically was not our party. He disagreed, and said that since it was at our house, and we would be doing quite a bit of work to prepare for it, that he was entitled to invite whomever he wanted. I pointed out that nephew and niece are paying for the food, and probably don't want to pay extra to feed our friends, but he brushed this off. We were starting to argue, and were in public, so I just bean-dipped for the time being.
My question is, who is right here? I feel that the guest list is entirely up to them, and that while they probably would not mind if 1 or 2 of our friends who they have met before attend, we really should not be inviting anyone. Knowing my niece and nephew, I think he would not care, but she may be irked by guests she did not intend to host, although she would never say anything to us about it.
Modified to add: This is a family party with aunts, uncles, cousins etc, not a party for the kids to host their teenaged friends, if that matters.