Guest list

Hi all! Total newbie here, I'd really appreciate some advice image

My partner and I got engaged Christmas '14 and are looking to book our wedding date for April '16. I have a small family, so my part of the guest list (including friends too) probably only takes up about a third, with my fiance's family (and only a few friends) taking up the rest of the list. We are currently at about 90ish for full day guests, and only about 30ish for the evening. 

I think we really need need to cut down on day guests, but my fiancé (who is not as assertive as me!) has decided that he's just inviting his whole family to avoid arguments/awkwardness and that's that. I have tried to say to him that we don't need to use our wedding day as a big family reunion (although I appreciate that some would disagree with that); he also has loads of cousins, a few of which he is not close to. Despite us being evening invites to one cousin's wedding a few years ago, we are now inviting them to the whole day!! 

It's also awkward in that we can't just say 'no cousins' as he has some which he is very close to, and I only have three anyway. Equally 'no children' would potentially be just as awkward. Anyone else struggling with this sort of thing? Thanks image


  • Memza89xMemza89x Posts: 1,533 New bride

    Have you looked at venues yet? Maybe choose a smaller venue then you will be forced to cut down. We are getting married in a castle and the room holds 60 people including the registrar etc. so we had no choice but to limit numbers. That way it's more of an intimate ceremony with a big party at night. We are having about 55 day guests and 90/100 extra evening guests

  • I had a no-children wedding (except my h2b's sons and his only niece). It worked out fine, because like someone else said on here, if guests are given enough notice, they can typically make arrangements. I really don't think adults mind having a chance to have a little me-time in our kid-centric society.

    As for the size of list, Sal 3 is correct that you will definitely avoid fights by being inclusive. Take my scenario, I invited just my mom, dad, and sister, and about 10 people from work. We had just over 100 guests -so, yes, the rest were all his. In our case, our venue actually had a food & beverage minimum you had to spend, so he was trying to invite everyone possible so that we would be looking more at an average of $50/head instead of $100. There's only so much food and drink a small group can consume, and we had already chosen the priciest menu options. I think that if you can afford to be inclusive, go ahead and invite people - so what if you are not close. On the other hand, if money is an issue, then I like Memza's idea of deliberately choosing a small venue. I know two people who did their receptions in VERY small restaurants and that greatly controlled the costs -but both were very nice events.

  • bella2015bella2015 Posts: 1,903 New bride

    I have a similar problem, h2b parents are divorced/remarried so he has a big family and most of the day guests are his family, technically it's like inviting 2 families I guess.

    We were in the same predicament as we have a package with our venue which caters for 50 for the wedding breakfast, anyone above this and it's £50 extra per head, originally we had around 70 guests and we decided that we would not invite H2B's cousins (there are about 20 of them!!) so we have managed to cut down the guest list dramatically. On the other hand, I am invting most of my cousins as I see them regularly and grew up with them, whereas h2b doesnt see his at all.

    Personally, I would say that as it's your wedding you can invite who you want but if h2b is being difficult I'm not really sure how you can get around this... we decided in the end that we werent inviting an family members we dont speak to/see regularly so we got around it that way.

  • Our list is 30 family (combined) + 40 friends (mostly joint).  H2B has a much larger family but isn't that close to them and I don't think they even know we are getting married, where we live or what we do.  However, if he wanted them there I know that we would find a way to include them, even if it meant cutting back on other things.  

    If it makes him feel better, I think it's best to try to stretch to it.  At least the guest list is only at 90, I've heard of much worst!  

    Do you feel you are having to exclude close friends to make way for the long lost cousins?  Then it's a bit more of a problem tbh.  

    Don't mean to be cheeky but do you think H2Bs family may help out with a contribution?

  • Thanks everyone for your replies! I quite like the idea of deliberately choosing a smaller venue, we want a bit more of a quirky wedding so that would probably work well. However I do think it's going to be a case of me just sucking it up. 

    I think one of the main issues is all of his cousins' children. Whereas I only have one "grown up" cousin with a child, almost all eleven of h2b's have at least 1 child each. 

    I would say that *I* don't feel as though I'm excluding any friends, but h2b is only inviting most of his to the evening. But then that is his choice, of course. I'm not sure re: contribution from his family. Maybe when we start booking stuff and actually have figures? Not expecting anything though. 

    A sneaky part of me is thinking that because we are getting married on a Friday (hopefully April fools day next year haha) that some might not be able to make it anyway...but you didn't hear me say that out loud!! image

  • Friday weddings are awesome, I did that my last marriage. Not saying for certain, but you might be able to get some things cheaper as it being a weeknight.

  • Yes I'm getting married on a Wednesday and have saved around £3,000!  Plus our closest people work in hospitality or students/teachers who have the whole summer off anyway.

    P.s.  If they know you are wondering about the extent of your guest list, you never know they might come forward, but as you say it's best not to expect anything.  

    Best of luck xxx

  • MrsWPtobeMrsWPtobe Posts: 435

    Having a smaller venue is definitely the way to go. That way you can say "we can only allow for *insert number* and so are only really having very close friends and immediate family" There are always going to be those who complain even if you had a 500+ wedding. Extended cousins who you dont see on a regular basis are surplus to requirement, as easy as it is to say "its your day" its so stressful because its so not just your day, everybody always has an opinion. Stick to your guns and dont extend on the guest list and budget because great aunt bertha's youngest has just had twins (if you know what i mean!) 

  • Nat 1479Nat 1479 Posts: 145

    I found myself in the same situation. We went down the no cousins, no children rule, otherwise, it would get out of hand, given that most (though not all) cousins we don't see from one year to another and then there would be +1 and all that malarkey. MIL was put out, but she has just had to suck it up! It's your day. Ask yourself, when you look at the guest list, are these the people I would be comfortable in having some food, drinks and a dance on a Saturday? If the answer is no, then off they go. 

    Our wedding is just that, not an excuse for a family reunion! 

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