Monday, May 10, 2010

Laying down the (in)law

Our wedding planning journey has been relatively drama-free, save for one hot topic:  the guest list.  I thought we had our guest list issues nipped in the bud some time ago but this weekend it reared its ugly head once again.  Long story short - my future father in law asked us to add another couple to our guest list, on top of the 12 or so people he requested we add the first go around.  The Mister told him we'd talk about it and get back to him, which was totally the right move because after a long talk with the Mister on our 4 hour drive back home from Vegas yesterday I think we've come up with an approach that will really put this issue to rest this time.

During the aforementioned long talk, the Mister and I really got to the heart of why the guest list is such a sensitive issue for us.  It's not about having a "small" wedding, though our wedding will be on the smaller side.  It's about being surrounded by the people that mean the most to us, the people who know us and love us.  Whether that's 50 people or 200 people doesn't really matter.  For me in particular, keeping the guest list to just those people who have meaning in our lives is extremely important.  I am a private person (believe it or not) and don't share my emotions with many people.  I fear that if there are lots of people at our wedding that I don't know that well, I'm not going to be able to really open up and experience a full range of emotions.  I'm afraid that the day will feel less special.  Valid or not, those are my fears.  Realizing that I cannot let my fears control my life, I am willing to compromise and let our parents invite some of their friends to our wedding.

So here's the grand compromise.  Each set of parents will get to invite a predetermined number of guests.  It is their job to pick who they want.  We haven't set the number yet, but it won't be huge.  Right now we're thinking each set of parents can invite four or six people, but we need to sit down with our guest list and do some calculating to see where that would put us in terms of likely attendees.  Money is a bit of a concern due to our venue's tiered pricing schedule.  If we go over 100 people, our site fee goes up.  So we'd like to avoid that at all costs.   But once we set the number there will be no budging; no last minute pleas for extra invites will be granted.  The Mister and I are a united front.

This approach works for us for several reasons.  First, it lays clear boundaries for my future father in law.  He is the only one who has made special requests for invitees.  My parents have not asked us to add anyone to our guest list, and my future mother in law has had no problem telling her friends and co-workers that they might not be invited because we're keeping it to our close friends and family.  That said, I think that my parents might be a little upset if they realize that we let my future father in law invite all of these people and that we didn't extend the same courtesy to them.  So we'll head that problem off at the pass.  Finally, after thinking things through, I think that letting my parents (my Dad especially) invite a few friends will make the wedding more enjoyable for them.  There's no two ways about it - our wedding attendance is going to be lopsided with way more of the Mister's friends and family attending than mine.  My parents divorced two years ago and I doubt anyone from my Dad's side of the family will be there.  So it will be nice for him to have a few people he knows at the wedding that aren't from my Mom's side of the family.

So, that's where we're at.  We haven't communicated this decision to our parents yet (and no, they don't know about this blog), so it remains to be seen how well it goes over.  I think the Mister and I need to develop a strategy for how to deal with it if our plan blows up in our faces first.

Have you had major guest list drama?  How did you lay down the law?


Brittney said...

I had a bit of guest list drama with my mother who wanted to invite people that I haven't seen/spoken to in YEARS. We are paying for the wedding ourselves and set our number about about 100 guests (our venue won't really hold more than this). So, what I did was told my mother EXACTLY how much we were paying for wedding related costs and how much more that total would go up for each additional guest. Once she saw how much weddings these days actually cost, she agreed that it was ok to simply send an announcement after the fact. =)

Jillreigh said...

I am no stranger to the guest list drama. It rears its ugly head a lot lately. We set our number at 250 for the guest list. FI and I included our close friends, my parents added immediate family and a few of their close friends, and then I let FMIL know where our numbers stood. BAD IDEA!!! She took the fact that we had x number of guests and had our max set at 250 so she added enough people to meet that 250. I was so pissed, but we hadn't set any rules for her to follow so there now will be about 2/3rds FMIL guests and the rest is mine, FI's, and my parents' guests. I won't know most of the people at my wedding and it really makes me sad. I wish I had said something to FMIL before we sent out the STD's. Now we're stuck and I'll just have to try and make the best of meeting hoards of new people at my wedding. UGH!!

Amy said...

This is an awesome solution and one I wish we would have utilized early on. Our guest list is finalized now, but I too had issues with my father-in-law wanting to add people. For whatever reason, the groom's family had the most guests out of both my fiance and myself AND my parents...and they continually wanted to add more. I love my in-laws and we get along great, but this was a real sticking point for awhile. It began to be a sticking point for the rehearsal dinner as well, until I finally just said, "listen, you're not hosting it, [another story in and of itself!] so you don't get to decide."

Good luck, and keep us posted! I hope it works out to your benefit, it sounds like it will!

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