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Author Topic: I'm paying for my wedding; my parents want to invite their own people  (Read 12074 times)

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gellchom

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Re: I'm paying for my wedding; my parents want to invite their own people
« Reply #30 on: September 28, 2016, 02:57:32 PM »
If they just really want to let their friends/family know their daughter is getting married, which is what I think OP said - that they thought they wouldn't come but just wanted to let them know - then I really don't understand why the parents can't just write/call the would-be invitees and tell them themselves that their daughter is getting married.  ??? Why is an invitation needed?

If the parents were paying or helping to pay, I'd say they get a bit more input in the guest list because they are hosts or somewhat the hosts. But the couple is paying for it themselves. It's their decision, they are the hosts.

Re: the first bolded -- a phone call gives the news.  An invitation says more, that the recipient is important to them and that their presence would be nice.

Re: the second bolded -- they did offer to help pay, I believe.  But I don't think that is 100% determinative anyway.  Even if the HC do all the paying, I don't think there is anything wrong with discussing (not bullying or insisting, discussing) which relatives and family friends are to be invited -- after all, if the bride's parents are doing all the paying, of course the HC and the groom's parents will very reasonably want input into the guest list.

OP, do your parents come from a culture/religion where weddings are really all about the parents of the HC, and their social standing in the community? In other words, do your parents see weddings as an excuse for the parents of the Bride and Groom to invite all their peers, and show off their child who's getting married? If so, I think that's something you should take into account. You certainly wouldn't be rude in refusing to invite the extra 20+ people, but I think there'd be more reason to consider inviting some of them at least.

There are many cultures in which weddings are seen very much as family and sometimes even community events without it being a matter of parents' "social standing" or "an excuse for the parents of the Bride and Groom to invite all their peers, and show off their child."  Those are not very nice characterizations.  It can be simply a matter of sharing joyous events and reciprocating hospitality.  Weddings are happy events!  Some people like to share them.  And not only parents, but brides and grooms themselves, feel that way.  Not everyone does, of course, and that's fine.  But there is no reason to assume that it's all about ugly motives.

But I do agree with what I think was really your point: consider whether this is something that is customary for them, and if it is, factor that into your decision whether to invite anyone.

FauxFoodist

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Re: I'm paying for my wedding; my parents want to invite their own people
« Reply #31 on: September 28, 2016, 06:03:07 PM »
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?

No, you are not being mean by saying no, although you may have to face fallout for not doing what they want (I did from BIL when I declined a command request from SIL that would've very much inconvenienced me *and* made me, only me, miss either the beginning or the end of their wedding ceremony plus missed out on being in the family pictures but, then again, he's acted an bacon-fed knave a few times after that so this wasn't a standalone incident).  "Probably" won't come doesn't mean they won't so I wouldn't invite them.  Tell your parents the truth and say the guest list has already been finalized but thank you for everyone else's addresses.  It'll be tough (it was tough for DH and me to figure out how to gracefully/diplomatically say no to those who thought they should be invited to our wedding; it never got easy but it did get a little easier as we said it more often).

greencat

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Re: I'm paying for my wedding; my parents want to invite their own people
« Reply #32 on: September 28, 2016, 06:54:53 PM »
Your parents sound like parents. 

I think you were a bit rude to suggest to them that they could host a gathering that is a tradition with your fiancÚ's family but presumably not with your parents.

And you mention that your fiancÚ has a huge extended family...  what is the division of guest from each side?  Could it be that most of your list is your fiancÚ's family?

The way to have a productive discussion about this is to try and see if from your parents' point of view.  I would think that they would feel that as parents of the Bride they would have some input into the guest list--That this would not be a privilege that they had to purchase.

At the very least, you could offer to send announcements to some of these people and then you don't have to worry that they will show up.

No, her parents do not sound like "parents" and I'm sorry if your experience with yours is the same as the OP's.  As many problems as I have with my mother, I can't even imagine her insisting that I invite her friends to my wedding.  With the other background given by the OP, it sounds like her parents have been testing the edges of her boundaries fairly consistently over the years.

People who are not hosting may be given a chance for input on a guest list, but that is a "pull" from the host, not a "push" from the non-host.  That is, the host must desire and request the input, rather than the input coming unasked for, and in this case, unwanted.

JoieGirl7

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Re: I'm paying for my wedding; my parents want to invite their own people
« Reply #33 on: September 28, 2016, 10:00:37 PM »
Your parents sound like parents. 

I think you were a bit rude to suggest to them that they could host a gathering that is a tradition with your fiancÚ's family but presumably not with your parents.

And you mention that your fiancÚ has a huge extended family...  what is the division of guest from each side?  Could it be that most of your list is your fiancÚ's family?

The way to have a productive discussion about this is to try and see if from your parents' point of view.  I would think that they would feel that as parents of the Bride they would have some input into the guest list--That this would not be a privilege that they had to purchase.

At the very least, you could offer to send announcements to some of these people and then you don't have to worry that they will show up.

People who are not hosting may be given a chance for input on a guest list, but that is a "pull" from the host, not a "push" from the non-host.  That is, the host must desire and request the input, rather than the input coming unasked for, and in this case, unwanted.

These are not just "people," they are her parents and she is not just a "host," she is their daughter.  And Her wedding is an important family event regardless of who is paying.

As such, its fairly common for parents to have input into a wedding guest list.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2016, 10:03:03 PM by JoieGirl7 »

gellchom

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Re: I'm paying for my wedding; my parents want to invite their own people
« Reply #34 on: September 28, 2016, 10:10:46 PM »

No, her parents do not sound like "parents" and I'm sorry if your experience with yours is the same as the OP's.  As many problems as I have with my mother, I can't even imagine her insisting that I invite her friends to my wedding.  With the other background given by the OP, it sounds like her parents have been testing the edges of her boundaries fairly consistently over the years.

People who are not hosting may be given a chance for input on a guest list, but that is a "pull" from the host, not a "push" from the non-host.  That is, the host must desire and request the input, rather than the input coming unasked for, and in this case, unwanted.

Where are you getting "insisting"?  She didn't say they were insisting on anything -- in fact, she said all that they did was to ask if they could discuss it:

Quote
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.

In fact, although the OP did say that in other contexts she has had to reinforce boundaries with her parents (and she seems to have been successful in doing so), she made a point of saying that

Quote
they've been remarkably unpushy in everything else wedding-related

There is a big difference between asking for some more people to be invited (especially with an offer to help pay and when the guests probably won't come anyway) and insisting on adding guests.

And although it certainly sounds reasonable to say that people must wait for the host to "request the input," I don't think that it sounds so reasonable when what we are talking about is a parent asking their child about the guest list for the wedding, no matter who is paying.  I think it's perfectly fine for the parents to ask, not wait for the HC to ask them if they want to add anyone.  How can they know the HC see it that way?

greencat

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Re: I'm paying for my wedding; my parents want to invite their own people
« Reply #35 on: September 28, 2016, 10:31:22 PM »
Your parents sound like parents. 

I think you were a bit rude to suggest to them that they could host a gathering that is a tradition with your fiancÚ's family but presumably not with your parents.

And you mention that your fiancÚ has a huge extended family...  what is the division of guest from each side?  Could it be that most of your list is your fiancÚ's family?

The way to have a productive discussion about this is to try and see if from your parents' point of view.  I would think that they would feel that as parents of the Bride they would have some input into the guest list--That this would not be a privilege that they had to purchase.

At the very least, you could offer to send announcements to some of these people and then you don't have to worry that they will show up.

People who are not hosting may be given a chance for input on a guest list, but that is a "pull" from the host, not a "push" from the non-host.  That is, the host must desire and request the input, rather than the input coming unasked for, and in this case, unwanted.

These are not just "people," they are her parents and she is not just a "host," she is their daughter.  And Her wedding is an important family event regardless of who is paying.

As such, its fairly common for parents to have input into a wedding guest list.

Input is "Hey, you forgot Aunt Margaret.  She's married to Uncle Bob.  Granny Smith needs an invite for Marcia, her full-time caregiver, if you want her to come."

Demanding to add twenty or more people the couple does not know or barely knows is not input, it is an unreasonable request.  It is something that people whose parents do fully host their wedding complain about happening to them - they don't get to invite their friends, because their parents invited all of theirs.  The OP in this case already has invited very few of their friends because of the large number of family members they have to invite.  It strikes me as not just horrendously unfair of the parents, but truly uncaring, that they expect to be able to invite people they want when the happy couple were unable to invite all of the people they want because they were making room for family.


gellchom

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Re: I'm paying for my wedding; my parents want to invite their own people
« Reply #36 on: September 28, 2016, 11:07:51 PM »
***
Demanding to add twenty or more people the couple does not know or barely knows is not input, it is an unreasonable request.  It is something that people whose parents do fully host their wedding complain about happening to them - they don't get to invite their friends, because their parents invited all of theirs.  The OP in this case already has invited very few of their friends because of the large number of family members they have to invite.  It strikes me as not just horrendously unfair of the parents, but truly uncaring, that they expect to be able to invite people they want when the happy couple were unable to invite all of the people they want because they were making room for family.

Again, where are you getting "demanding" and "expecting"?  They just asked if they could discuss it.  I don't think it's either fair or accurate to characterize that as either "unreasonable," "horrendously unfair," or "truly uncaring."  And neither, it appears, does the OP.

She doesn't have to invite any of these people.  But it isn't necessary to demonize her parents to reach that conclusion.

FauxFoodist

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Re: I'm paying for my wedding; my parents want to invite their own people
« Reply #37 on: September 28, 2016, 11:52:28 PM »
There is one more thing you could do, if you want to risk the wrath of EH -- you wait until after the RSVPs come in and if you have room, invite those guests later.  We had several guests we couldn't invite because we didn't have the room (I have a lot of extended family, even with excluding most of my adult cousins and their families).  I realized after the declinations started coming in that we then had the room so I told DH if he still wanted to invite this person and that person, he could (those guests didn't care their invitations came later as they really really *really* wanted to attend our wedding).  We never intentionally b-listed anyone because we never planned on inviting those other guests to begin with once we finalized the guest list.  It did make a few individuals extremely happy to, ultimately, be invited after all.  I will forever feel bad about not inviting one couple at DH's insistence.  They were a wealthy couple from our parish and friendly enough with DH that they were considered for our guest list.  However, DH felt really uncomfortable with the idea of inviting them because they are so wealthy (so he thought it would look funny to invite them), despite me pointing out that he'd socialized with them enough it should be fine.  I tried really hard to let him know it would be okay to invite them, but he preferred we didn't so I gave in.  They ended up buying us a very generous wedding present off our registry ($$$ dollars), even though they weren't invited to our wedding.  There's no graceful way for him to ever tell them he didn't want to invite them because he didn't want to seem greedy due to their wealth so we will just always feel guilty about how generous and kind they were with us.

I only suggest this, despite it being considered officially poor etiquette, because your parents want to add 20 guests to your guest list (so as a last resort to appease them if they won't take no for an answer).  However, if you already have actual friends you'd rather invite if you just had the room, then I would just go with a really firm no to your parents and that the guest list has already been finalized.

iridaceae

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Re: I'm paying for my wedding; my parents want to invite their own people
« Reply #38 on: September 29, 2016, 04:49:51 AM »
Your parents sound like parents. 

I think you were a bit rude to suggest to them that they could host a gathering that is a tradition with your fiancÚ's family but presumably not with your parents.

And you mention that your fiancÚ has a huge extended family...  what is the division of guest from each side?  Could it be that most of your list is your fiancÚ's family?

The way to have a productive discussion about this is to try and see if from your parents' point of view.  I would think that they would feel that as parents of the Bride they would have some input into the guest list--That this would not be a privilege that they had to purchase.

At the very least, you could offer to send announcements to some of these people and then you don't have to worry that they will show up.

People who are not hosting may be given a chance for input on a guest list, but that is a "pull" from the host, not a "push" from the non-host.  That is, the host must desire and request the input, rather than the input coming unasked for, and in this case, unwanted.

These are not just "people," they are her parents and she is not just a "host," she is their daughter.  And Her wedding is an important family event regardless of who is paying.

As such, its fairly common for parents to have input into a wedding guest list.

Really? We move in different circles then because I can't imagine my dad doing anything more than saying "well, you can invite X, but you haven't seen them in 20 years, so don't get too hopeful that they'll come". I doubt I would even discuss the guest list with him to begin with.
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Huh

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Re: I'm paying for my wedding; my parents want to invite their own people
« Reply #39 on: September 29, 2016, 08:17:26 AM »
This thread made me ask my mom and dad last night if they were upset that I didn't invite their plethora of cousins and friends to my wedding (that dh and I paid for.) It honestly never occurred to me to invite them - I was keeping to a small guest list (that we could afford) and dh has a large family, so just inviting our immediate families and close extended families (aunts, uncles, cousins) and friends took up all the invites we could have. I like my parents' cousins, but they are people that I see maybe once a decade unless there's a funeral, so they really are not in the front of my mind for invitations to anything. Their friends even less so, unless it's the ones that I consider honorary "aunts and uncles" that I invite to things regularly - birthday parties, holidays, etc.

My parents' reaction? It's your wedding, invite the people that are important to you to be there. My mom said they'd tell the cousins when they do the Christmas cards.

Redneck Gravy

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Re: I'm paying for my wedding; my parents want to invite their own people
« Reply #40 on: September 29, 2016, 08:41:16 AM »


Really? We move in different circles then because I can't imagine my dad doing anything more than saying "well, you can invite X, but you haven't seen them in 20 years, so don't get too hopeful that they'll come". I doubt I would even discuss the guest list with him to begin with.

I think we defintely think differently about this.  I remember sitting down with my parents and grandparents to discuss the guest list, not only to make sure no one was forgotten but to double check mailing addresses. 

For my soon to be DH there was no discussion of limiting the guest list.  Had our venue (small country church) been too small we would have relocated the ceremony.  Not that our plan was perfect but we both wanted our families and friends there and we were going to budget it to fit everyone, even if I had to wear an everyday dress and/or skip attendants tuxedos and formals to manage that.     


gellchom

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Re: I'm paying for my wedding; my parents want to invite their own people
« Reply #41 on: September 29, 2016, 09:28:55 AM »
That is right -- we do indeed all move in different circles.  Our own ehell experience, even in this small sample, just goes to show that different communities, families, and cultures simply approach this differently.  There's no need to brand any perspective  -- "It's an extended family/ community-focused event" or "It's all about the HC, full stop" and all the places in between -- as wrong or bad, let alone "unreasonable" or "horrendous."

Some people can't even imagine their parents asking at all.  By contrast, in a family or community where it's customary to invite the whole family and lots of family friends, parents might even just hand the HC a list of current addresses, on the assumption that that's what the HC wants and they are simply helping them achieve it.  But -- that certainly doesn't mean that they wouldn't be completely understanding and cooperative if the HC would say, "Actually, we want to keep it small," let alone that they are "demanding" or "insisting" that every person on that list be invited.

It's certainly perfectly fine for a HC ultimately to decline to invite any more people.  But to refuse even to discuss it?  Even to listen to why their parents think someone should be invited?  That strikes me as unnecessarily oppositional.  The OP doesn't seem inclined to do that, fortunately.

Sophia

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Re: I'm paying for my wedding; my parents want to invite their own people
« Reply #42 on: September 29, 2016, 12:15:26 PM »
With boundary-stompers, "discuss" has a different meaning.  It isn't a calm, rational discussion with accepting a No answer at the end.  It is "I will wheedle or berate you until I get the answer that I want".   
"We will discuss this later" in response to an undesired answer after a discussion means, "I do not accept your answer because you don't have the right to not do what I want. "

So, yeah, hearing, "discuss" can be upsetting. 

lowspark

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Re: I'm paying for my wedding; my parents want to invite their own people
« Reply #43 on: September 29, 2016, 12:23:54 PM »
I agree with everything that Hmmmm & Gellchom posted. Very wise advice.

Remember, people are coming at this issue based on the experience they have. If I had pushy parents or had a lot of issues with boundary stompers, I might have a totally different perspective than if I had understanding and accommodating parents, for example.

So OP, you need to step back and evaluate your own situation. Are your parents pushy and boundary stomping to the point that you find the relationship on the toxic side? Can you see it being a situation of "give 'em an inch, they'll take a mile"? If so, then yeah, ok, it might be advisable to stand your ground.

But based on your posts, that doesn't seem to be the case. Keep in mind that all parents, even the nicest most hands-off ones, can make boundary mistakes. We're human, and as parents, the lines can sometimes appear blurred. It happens. That doesn't mean that every parent who expressed their opinion about how their kids are living their lives are boundary stompers and must be shut down before they proceed even further.

Some parents, are indeed like that... but not all. I don't see the OP's parents as being those types unless I've misread her posts.

So yeah, go back and read Gellchom's first couple of posts. Evaluating each family your parents want to invite on its own merits, i.e., how meaningful are they to your parents and to you, and how likely are they to come, is a really good way to approach this.

Sitting down with your parents to discuss this and come to a mutual decision based on intelligent discussion instead of a spur-of-the-moment reaction really shows maturity and also says to your parents, "although I might not do everything you think I should, I still value your thoughts."

And hey, the fact that they offered to pay for the venue, and have agreed to pay for the brunch which is not even their tradition, goes a long way toward saying that they want to pitch in to make your wedding what you want it to be. I imagine that when you sit down with them, they will be willing to be reasonable. I don't see them pounding their fists on the table and doing any insisting.
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lowspark

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Re: I'm paying for my wedding; my parents want to invite their own people
« Reply #44 on: September 29, 2016, 12:32:26 PM »
Oh and one other thing I forgot to say. I agree with those who say that if some of those people do end up coming, it's extremely likely that they won't be much more than a blip on your radar, if that. With upwards of 150 people there, you will not really have time, nor will you be expected, to say more than "thank you for coming" or "nice to see you" and have them say "you're a beautiful bride" before you move on to someone else.

I know that argument of "I don't want a bunch of people I don't even know at my wedding." I totally agree that it's your wedding and you should decide who you want there. But look at it this way. If you were having 20 guests and two of them were someone you didn't know, that's 10%. At a wedding of 175, two people is just over 1%. Not a huge sacrifice, really, for the sake of your parents, who, again, based on your posts, seem to be pretty willing with their financial contribution.
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