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Author Topic: I'm paying for my wedding; my parents want to invite their own people  (Read 11975 times)

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Em-and-Em

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Background: Fiance and I are paying for our wedding, with the exception of my wedding dress, which my mother is making. My parents offered to pay for the venue but I said we would pay for it, and that if they wanted to contribute more they could host a day-after brunch for remaining guests (this is a tradition with ny fiance's family).

My fiance has a HUGE extended family. With just our two extended families (parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, and cousins' spouses/partners and kids) and just a handful of friends our our guest list is already at 165.

The other day I had to email my parents my guest list so that they could provide me with my relatives' addresses. They sent it back to me with the addresses and a note asking if they could call me to discuss people they want to add to the list. They mentioned these extra guests they want to add are more distant relatives (like cousins of my father) and people they were friends with at the church they took me to growing up.

I really don't want to add these people to our guest list. These are relatives I have very little connection to and my parents' friends who I don't feel any obligation towards (I hated going to church growing up). I don't want to add and pay for even more people to our already large guest list. My parents think that these people probably won't come because the wedding is taking place far from where they all live, but they want them to see that I'm getting married. I could understand if they were paying but they're not.

Am I being mean if I say no? Or should I just add them to the guest list and take comfort in the fact that they likely won't come? How do I have a productive conversation about this with my parents?

Angel B.

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Re: I'm paying for my wedding; my parents want to invite their own people
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2016, 10:28:45 AM »
I'm in the midst of wedding planning as well, so I feel you!

I don't think you're being mean, its you and your fiance's wedding and you should have the people YOU want there.

You could go one of two ways with this IMHO: Tell your parents the truth, that you don't want to/don't feel comfortable inviting people you don't know/remember.

OR

Tell your parents this is the list and the venue doesn't allow any more people.

If it is a thing to do in your/your parent's area, send wedding announcements after the fact.
My greatest treasure is love beyond measure.
-Il barbiere di Siviglia

Zizi-K

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Re: I'm paying for my wedding; my parents want to invite their own people
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2016, 10:32:33 AM »
Just say no, and that you can mail them a wedding announcement after the fact. That would do the trick of letting them know you got married, without having to potentially expand your guest list.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: I'm paying for my wedding; my parents want to invite their own people
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2016, 10:33:55 AM »
Definitely don't invite these people on the supposition that they will decline the invitation.  Some of them may very well decide to attend and then what do you do?

You'll have to be very clear with your parents and say that you don't want these people you don't know at your wedding.  Full Stop.  Because as soon as you say something along the lines of it not being in the budget or the venue is too small, your parents are liable to say they'll pay for the extra guests/bigger venue/whatever and the next thing you know, you've lost control of the guest list.

I like Angel B.'s idea of wedding announcements after the fact, if that's done in your area.
After cleaning out my Dad's house, I have this advice:  If you haven't used it in a year, throw it out!!!!.
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HannahGrace

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Re: I'm paying for my wedding; my parents want to invite their own people
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2016, 10:38:28 AM »
Just say no, and never invite someone thinking they won't come because that almost guarantees that they will.

Hmmmmm

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Re: I'm paying for my wedding; my parents want to invite their own people
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2016, 11:37:51 AM »
I'm going to go opposite of the posters. But this is coming from the assumption you have a relatively healthy relationship with your family and that there's been a since of "family" social obligations in the past (like your parent's friends sent graduation presents)

Your parent's offered to help pay for the wedding but you turned them down and suggested they instead fund a tradition of your fiancÚ's family.

You already have a guest list of 165. They've asked to expand it by 3 more (maybe this was 3 families so maybe a total of 9?). Let's estimate 75% of your guest list attends so that's 123. If 5 of these additional 9 show up, would you even notice them in the group of a 100?

Unless there are other circumstance like they've been trying to control other areas or if they invite these then your fiancÚ's family will want to add 10 more, then I'd probably go ahead and invite these people. I just doesn't seem like such a big deal that I'd want to fight the battle. Especially if it's a "social reciprocation" issue your parents feel obligated to.

You could let them know that you are getting top the max of your budget and would they be willing to pay for these people if they did attend since it is more of their social obligation than yours.

Em-and-Em

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Re: I'm paying for my wedding; my parents want to invite their own people
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2016, 11:52:05 AM »
@Hmmmm, it's more than 3 extra families, I'm guessing they're going to add at least 20 more people I won't know until they call me tonight).

My parents and I have a better-than-ok relationship but they do have a history of being pushy with me in my adult life. For example: repeatedly trying to get me to start going to church again, expressing a lot of displeasure that my fiance and I were going to be living together before we were married, trying to get me to change things I wrote on my personal Facebook page (and they aren't even on Facebook!). I realize that these things are in a different realm than wedding planning, and they've been remarkably unpushy in everything else wedding-related, but I've spent close to a decade trying to learn when to capitulate to keep the peace and when to stand up for myself.

@everyone else: there were suggestions I say the wedding venue couldn't accomodate anyone else, but unfortunately they know it can fit up to 300 so that excuse won't work.

NFPwife

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Re: I'm paying for my wedding; my parents want to invite their own people
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2016, 12:54:59 PM »
@Hmmmm, it's more than 3 extra families, I'm guessing they're going to add at least 20 more people I won't know until they call me tonight).

My parents and I have a better-than-ok relationship but they do have a history of being pushy with me in my adult life. For example: repeatedly trying to get me to start going to church again, expressing a lot of displeasure that my fiance and I were going to be living together before we were married, trying to get me to change things I wrote on my personal Facebook page (and they aren't even on Facebook!). I realize that these things are in a different realm than wedding planning, and they've been remarkably unpushy in everything else wedding-related, but I've spent close to a decade trying to learn when to capitulate to keep the peace and when to stand up for myself.

@everyone else: there were suggestions I say the wedding venue couldn't accomodate anyone else, but unfortunately they know it can fit up to 300 so that excuse won't work.

I was going to land with this response, your update solidified it. Say, "Actually, we can't discuss adding anyone. The guest list is closed." Then change the subject. Wedding planning is a great opportunity to create your boundaries around your marital relationship. Set the boundary and live the boundary. Don't JADE and blame the venue, your finance, the budget, etc. Just say, "The guest list is closed." "Oh yes, the are lovely people, the guest list is closed." "I do remember her from Sunday School, she had such a lovely singing voice. The guest list is closed." Ad infinitum.

Redneck Gravy

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Re: I'm paying for my wedding; my parents want to invite their own people
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2016, 01:04:59 PM »
I'm going to go opposite of the posters. But this is coming from the assumption you have a relatively healthy relationship with your family and that there's been a since of "family" social obligations in the past (like your parent's friends sent graduation presents)

Your parent's offered to help pay for the wedding but you turned them down and suggested they instead fund a tradition of your fiancÚ's family.

You already have a guest list of 165. They've asked to expand it by 3 more (maybe this was 3 families so maybe a total of 9?). Let's estimate 75% of your guest list attends so that's 123. If 5 of these additional 9 show up, would you even notice them in the group of a 100?

Unless there are other circumstance like they've been trying to control other areas or if they invite these then your fiancÚ's family will want to add 10 more, then I'd probably go ahead and invite these people. I just doesn't seem like such a big deal that I'd want to fight the battle. Especially if it's a "social reciprocation" issue your parents feel obligated to.

You could let them know that you are getting top the max of your budget and would they be willing to pay for these people if they did attend since it is more of their social obligation than yours.

I am along with this line of thought (no math for me please).  My parents invited around 10-12 people to our wedding, some came, some didn't - I couldn't even tell the difference.  I know that sometimes we want to put our foot down about these matters, but ask yourself - for the sake of peace, who will care 1 or 5 years from now? 

 

ClaireC79

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Re: I'm paying for my wedding; my parents want to invite their own people
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2016, 01:24:00 PM »
Your parent's offered to help pay for the wedding but you turned them down and suggested they instead fund a tradition of your fiancÚ's family.

You could let them know that you are getting top the max of your budget and would they be willing to pay for these people if they did attend since it is more of their social obligation than yours.

I was thinking this - especially as you say the reason your guest list is so large is because your fiance has such a large family (not that there is anything wrong with having a large, close family) it can come across a little as everything is being down for the fiance's side of the family and they are being sidelined and not even being allowed to 'help' pay

DavidH

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Re: I'm paying for my wedding; my parents want to invite their own people
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2016, 01:33:32 PM »
If it were me, I'd say that the additional people won't matter and would invite them, but that's not your question.

Since you asked how to have a productive conversation, say what you told us, "I don't want to add these people to our guest list. These are relatives I have very little connection to and my parents' friends who I don't feel any obligation towards"  Don't mention money, since they will likely offer to pay and that conversation will distract from your real reason.


Sophia

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Re: I'm paying for my wedding; my parents want to invite their own people
« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2016, 01:38:00 PM »
Tell your parents that you will send a wedding announcement after the fact these people.   They will then know you got married and it won't look like a gift grab. 

Hmmmmm

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Re: I'm paying for my wedding; my parents want to invite their own people
« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2016, 01:39:45 PM »
@Hmmmm, it's more than 3 extra families, I'm guessing they're going to add at least 20 more people I won't know until they call me tonight).

My parents and I have a better-than-ok relationship but they do have a history of being pushy with me in my adult life. For example: repeatedly trying to get me to start going to church again, expressing a lot of displeasure that my fiance and I were going to be living together before we were married, trying to get me to change things I wrote on my personal Facebook page (and they aren't even on Facebook!). I realize that these things are in a different realm than wedding planning, and they've been remarkably unpushy in everything else wedding-related, but I've spent close to a decade trying to learn when to capitulate to keep the peace and when to stand up for myself.

@everyone else: there were suggestions I say the wedding venue couldn't accomodate anyone else, but unfortunately they know it can fit up to 300 so that excuse won't work.

Then I'd wait to find out the actual number and why they want to add each family during your conversation. You can start the conversation with "Mom/Dad the guest list is already becoming unmanageable for me and I'm hesitant to add more. I don't want it to get so large that fiancÚ and I only have a chance to say hello to people versus really getting to celebrate with those in attendance. But let's discuss who you want to add and why."

And if they want to add a distant cousin because they are reciprocating an invite you can say yes. But if they are wanting to add Ms. Glenn who was your youth Sunday school teacher who asks about you the 3 times a year they run into her you can say "No, I haven't seen her in 15 years and I'd feel weird about inviting her to my wedding."

And the wedding announcements are a great idea.

gellchom

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Re: I'm paying for my wedding; my parents want to invite their own people
« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2016, 02:04:24 PM »
I'm a broken record on this, I know, but as in so many contexts, my advice is: look at the specifics; don't decide in the abstract.

In this case, that means:

- Don't dig your heels in on principle

- Don't try to resolve this based on a rule or an all-or-none approach.  Look at each requested unit individually.  You may choose to say yes to some, no to others.

- Find out from your parents the odds of each of these people coming.  For example, there very well may be someone very far away who can't travel anymore who they just want to know they still consider part of their lives.  (Maybe the formula we use for estimating will work for you: for each guest, we guessed the percent likelihood they'd accept, then multiplied - so a couple who were, say, 25% likely to attend counted as 1/2 a guest when we were adding up our estimate.  Do that with each of the 20 people and see what kind of number you are talking about.  You may find it comes out to, like, 2 or something.  Big deal.  Not worth arguing about, unless what you want is an argument.)

- Find out why this is important to your parents, separately for each invitation.  They may have some goal in mind that can be met some other way.  Or the goal may be something you totally reject, like trying to get you more gifts.  Or it may be one you decide you totally agree with, like perhaps cousins you haven't seen in a long time who are about to move back to your area, or someone you don't know well but who is very dear to them to whom it would mean a lot.

Announcements are fine, but they are so rare today.  People tend to use invitations like announcements in this way for people that they know won't come.

And I agree that if a couple of them do surprise you and attend, it's not going to change anything for you.  You won't even notice them.  It may also make your parents feel a little less swamped by the groom's side.  We did the opposite at our daughter's wedding; as the groom's family was from overseas, they only had a small number of guests who could come.  So at our daughter's request, we invited fewer of our own friends.  (We were the hosts.)

Come to think of it, often, especially when the HC themselves are paying, they give their families a certain equal number that they can each invite.  So I can see the bride's family feeling like there is no problem to ask for a few more invitations especially as they think few if any will accept and they are willing to help pay.


Cali.in.UK

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Re: I'm paying for my wedding; my parents want to invite their own people
« Reply #14 on: September 27, 2016, 02:15:04 PM »
You are definitely not being mean. I got married last summer and my sister the summer before that and weddings definitely bring out the crazy in friends and family. My sister got the brunt of the family craziness, and since it left a lot of people feeling bad they were much less demanding the second time around (for mine), but I had a bit of "friends behaving badly" at mine. I agree with others that you should just be very firm, don't waver at all about the extra invites.

Just say that the wedding is already too large. Don't get into the nitty, gritty details about why you aren't close to so-and-so, just state the facts about the wedding being large and expensive already. You could let your mom invite these people to an event she puts on, but don't feel obligated to paying for people to come to your own wedding that you don't want there. Your parents might still be upset, but coming from a newly wed, no matter how much you try to please everyone, there will be someone who will complain about something/be "offended" by something and you should just accept that and not let it ruin your happy day.

My mom actually told me that a friend of hers, who I literally have no relationship with at all, I wouldn't even recognize her on the street and I think I was a teenager the last time I saw her, confronted my mom about being hurt that my mother didn't invite her and her family to my (very small) wedding. I was  :o when my mom told me that. I don't even know her last name, and I've never met her husband or children.

After my sister's wedding, an old friend of my mom's (again not someone we have a relationship with) wrote on my sister's facebook page under a wedding photo. "I'm sorry that I wasn't invited to the wedding. I've known her since she was a child." We were horrified. Who does that?!

Good luck and I hope you have a great day!