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small wedding - parents' friends not wanted!

My son and his fiancee live in northern California and we live in southern California.  They have asked us to host their small wedding in our home.  We agreed and also offered to pay for all of it.  They will invite 38 people, all from out of town and they expect that half will come. We have 26 friends,most of whom will likely come.  My son will only allow us to invite a much smaller number of friends -maybe 10-.  We don't want to limit our list for fear of offending anyone, but if we must do so, we will not invite any of our friends - just our small family and a few cousins.  We prefer to have the wedding in their city, give them the money and be guests at their wedding. They prefer to have it at my home with only a few of their friends.  If we have it in our house, pay for it and plan most of it with their approval, do we have the right to ask that our friends attend?  They prefer a small, inexpensive wedding and they don't want our friends to overwhelm their wedding.  If they have the wedding near their home, most of their friends will attend, but they prefer to have it at our house.  I don't want to plan a wedding at my home, pay for it, and not have the pleasure of having my friends.  I also don't want to create a rift with my son and insist that he have the wedding near his home.  I can remove maybe 4 - 6 people from my list but that may not be enough to satisfy them. Really not sure what to do.  My husband is more adamant than I am about inviting all of his friends.  Hawaii maybe?


  • LittlespiceLittlespice Posts: 665

    This is an age old problem! I think that if you are paying for it then you do get some right to ask for some friends to be guests but 26 is a lot. Even if they were having 100 people, that would be a big ask but as it is, their wedding would be filled with your friends not theirs.

    I understand that you are hosting and paying but it is still their wedding. You do not have to host it but it's lovely of you to do so. You can't then say that because you agreed to host it they have to have more of your friends than of theirs though. It just wouldn't feel like their wedding to them.

  • Jill38Jill38 Posts: 2

    Thanks - I actually agree with you!  Hosting should not come with strings attached.

  • Lucyw1672Lucyw1672 Posts: 76

    This post sent shudders down my spine as i relived the battle with my parents. I can understand both sides to some extent but 26 is very excessive- it is your child's wedding not your own party.

    my parents invited 8 guests (2 of which I havent seen for 20 years). I have allowed it but it is not ideal. I want to be surrounded by people I know at my wedding not a bunch of strangers. Maybe cut down on your list a bit?

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  • UmbongoUmbongo Posts: 89

    26 of your friends is a lot, especially considering their guest numbers. I would say even 10 is incredibly generous. It is their wedding, and they are your friends not theirs. I would also agree that with lots of your friends there the dynamic may feel a bit weird, more like a polite dinner party that you are hosting......rather than your sons small, close wedding. 


    I had 80 people at my wedding, and said no to friends of parents. I didn't know them, and I wanted to spend my day with people that I knew and loved. Mother in law still managed to sneak in a few through guilt tripping me.


    It is lovely of you to host their wedding and pay for it, but if you would rather not have you suggested that they marry elsewhere, or have the wedding at your house but pay all/most of the costs themselves?

  • MrsJ2017MrsJ2017 Posts: 3,017

    I dont think you should invitr any friends to be honest. Its lovely of you to offer to pay, but I dont feel that a kind offer like that should come with conditions. Ive had a fee of these offers from various family members. I appreciate finincial help but not at the expense of someone else taking over my wedding.

    you say you dont want to host it at your housr unless you can invite your friends.

    Would you have offered money if they chose a different venue? Would you still want to invite all your friends in return for paying, or is that just because its at your house?

    I think its unfair when they wanted a small wedding to then expect them to double the guest list with strangers, it wont be very enjoyable to them, and it is their wedding.

    My mum had asked to invite one couple to the evening, Ive agreed because I know them and its a readonable amount, so she has someone to have fun with during the reception. Not a chance to show off to everyone she knows (im not saying this is what youre doing, but thats the way it can seem in situations like this)

  • im on the other foot with this - i have now got around 200 day guest at my wedding 30 of which are my parents friends i have another 70 i the evening with another 30 of there friends invited they are paying for the majority of the wedding and feel they should be able to invite friends 


  • In all honesty if you were my parent and these were your conditions I would feel it left me with two options:

    1) Have a wedding with 60% strangers in the place I want without worrying about the cost (personally doesn't sound like my cup of tea) so i would probably choose option 2

    2) Pay for our own wedding and have our own guest list and have to have a different venue. I am having a wedding with similar numbers to their original list and many hotels/ restaurants will allow you to have a meal, buffet mini party without hire fees as long as you spend a certain amount on food and drink. 

    I must admit I agree with most of the comments above... if you invite that amount of your own guests it will no longer be their wedding reception, but will instead be your own party at your own house with your own organizing.... nothing really to do with the bride and groom except a happy coincidence that they got married on this happy day and their might be a toast or two in their favour... 

  • Little JulesLittle Jules Posts: 1,538

    This is a very tricky one. We had a large wedding and lots of our parents friends and we were fine with it. But for a small wedding, that sounds like a lot of your friends in terms of proportion of guests. It sounds like you need to sit down and have an honest conversation with your son - but also be prepared to compromise, and perhaps have 12-15 of your friends if that's meeting in the middle.

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