16 Comments

  1. Libby

    I am planning a wedding for about 300 people. So I planned on splitting the guest list evenly, but he only wants to invite 60 people. He is ok with me having more guest. Is it proper for me as the bride to have more guest than the groom? Thanks!

      • Libby

        All of the books I have read have said to split it half and half and give a portion to the parents. Also I would be inviting about a hundred more people than him. I did not know if that was awkward or not.

        • Sounds like those books fail to take Real Life into account. If an only-child marries a person who is one of 10 siblings, then the person with the huge family is likely to have more guests in attendance than the other. A person who was very social in college and stayed in her college’s town may have more friends able to attend the wedding than a person who joined the military, was stationed around the globe and as a result has friends all over the planet. There is nothing wrong with any of these situations, but it does mean that one person is likely to have many more guests than the other. And by all means, ask the parents for input.
          If your concern centers around the “Bride’s Side” & “Groom’s Side” of the ceremony seating, simply do away with that aspect, and have the ushers keep each side roughly even.

        • Alicia

          That is fine if that works for you. Personally I have never understood anyone other then the couple getting guests presumably you know all your family and those very close family friends that should be invited. What I have seen done in the past to great success is the couple writes a list. It starts with family to the same level on both sides in terms of relationship not in terms of number and then lists friends that the couple would be heartbroken if did not attend and then friends that the couple would really really to attend. This list is the tentative guest list. It gets shown to parents of both of the couple to see if there is anyone that they forgot. Cousin Sue just moved in with a guy or whatever. Then this becomes the guest list. This number allows you to then look at realistic locations budget catering ect. This is so much better then people who go about it the other way and plan the venue and cattering and thus limit the number that way and then try and figure out who makes that cut.
          You and your fiance know your family you know the close family friends. These will be both of your families soon.

        • Chocobo

          I think those books go about it the wrong way by first determining the number of guests you can afford, then trying to negotiate who “gets in” by splitting the arbitrary number of the guest list down the middle. It should be the other way around: you and your fiancé should determine who you want to have at your wedding, then figure out how you can best afford to feed and entertain them all.

          The numbers are not important; many people have different amounts of family and friends that would make the sides uneven. A better model that you might consider is inviting guests in categorized levels: for example, if you are inviting your 1st cousins, his 1st cousins should also be invited. If you have 20 first cousins and he only has 3, that is okay. No need to drum up an extra 17 people on his side to fill in the space of 17 cousins he doesn’t have.

    • Alicia

      Also if you wanted 150 guests and he wanted 60 guests there is no reason why you need to have 300 guests rather then the 210 you wanted.

  2. Gail

    I have a question on wedding etiquette. My friend invited me to attend a wedding with her as her guest. She received an invitation with her name “and guest” on the envelope. I did not receive an invitation, however, I do know the family. What is the proper way for me to acknowledge the wedding in terms of a gift. My friend had already gotten a gift from herself alone and never mentioned what I should do. The dinner reception is at a very nice downtown hotel in a large city. We had to select our menu choice and return it. Do I reciprocated with a comperable priced gift or gift card?

    • Alicia

      Dinner price and gift have no relationship to one another. What would you have gotten this friend for their wedding had you not gotten invited to the wedding? Get that. Or if that is nothing give a lovely card or token gift. Gifts should be about the givers budget and affection for the couple and happiness in the occasion.

  3. Amanda Kerr

    I need advice!!! I have twin girls in Kindergarten, in different classes. While some of their friends know they are a twin, some do not. I have recently received a birthday party invite for one of my daughters and not the other, for a child they both know, but only one is in class with. While the birthday child verbally extended an invite to my other daughter, I am not comfortable just bringing her along. How do I tactfully approach this on the RSVP?

    • Alicia

      I’m a twin with twin nieces in kindergarten. A kindergarden kid saying someone is invited is not a real invite. It is a kid that has no idea about hosting yet. You call up and RSVP yes or no for the kid who is invited. If the parent extends the invite to the other twin at that time then you may accept it but a 5 year olds invite is not a real invite. Then while one parent takes one twin to the party the other one takes the other twin out for some special one on one time. This is likely to occur frequently as the kids are in different classes and it is common at their age to invite just the class. Learning to accept that you do not always get to nor have to do exactly what your twin does is part of being a twin. View this as individual development.

      • Gertrude

        Wow, Alicia, I gotta commend you. Great advice! I would not have thought of that approach, but it just seems so perfect. Great way to turn this into a learning experience. As an awkward person, it is so difficult to fathom what to do in situations. What seems like the “natural progression” is a struggle for me. I love seeing someone come up with such a simple and perfect solution.

  4. Morgan

    I need advice as well…please help. My husband’s family visits once or twice a year, and stays with us when in town. While in town, they want to catch up with others in their “extended” family, and choose to do so at our house without asking if it’s okay; or telling us at the last minute that “so-and-so” is on their way over; or the best one yet, coming home to a stranger on my front porch asking if they can come in to use the restroom while they wait for my in-laws. Recently, I chose to ignore the situation while they were visiting for fear that I might not hold my tongue in speaking with them about inviting others to my home without asking and create more issues than not. Now, my husband is dealing with multiple phone calls and arguments with his sibling and parent because I would not socialize with them. I truly don’t want to apologize for not being social, but I see that my husband is in a very peculiar position trying to defend me with them. What to do?

    • Elizabeth

      It seems as though you had two choices before their arrival. You could have addressed the situation openly and honestly, and laid down some “house rules” or expectations about their behavior. However, you didn’t, and you simply behaved passive-aggressively during their visit by ignoring them and being anti-social. Now they’re upset because they recognized your unfriendliness and felt unwelcome. Remember – they went about their business exactly as they had done before, in previous visits. Instead of asking them to do things differently, you didn’t say anything and just stewed. How are they supposed to read your mind and know that you don’t like something if you don’t tell them? You do owe them an apology and an explanation. And you deserve to run your household without strangers and unexpected visits!

      You could say something like the following: “MIL, I wanted to apologize for being stand-offish and anti-social during your last visit. I realize now that I was having a problem with something, and instead of coming to you and addressing it, I just let it stew. I shouldn’t have done that, and I was unfriendly as a result. I realize now that it must have made you feel unwelcome, and I apologize for that. We love having you come and stay with us, and we love spending time with you. However, what we don’t like is when you invite people over without checking with us first. We don’t care for unexpected visitors, nor do we like having strangers in the house. In the future, we would just ask that you check with us before inviting anyone over, and it would also be good if you could meet some people outside of the house, like at a coffeeshop or restaurant. We understand that you have a lot of people to see and catch up with, but it’s a bit much for us to host all of that.”

  5. Morgan

    We actually have let them know in the past that we needed the heads up on who was coming. I even tried to get confirmation the week before they were here, so we did try to lay down the “house rules”. So…I get to apologize, but they don’t?

    • Elizabeth

      Sorry, that was not clear from your post. I guess I’m just not clear on why you (and your husband) “chose to ignore it” rather than addressing it in the moment. This is what is called “growing a polite spine” in etiquette circles. You enforce boundaries in the moment so you don’t act passive aggressive and then be in this position of having to deal with it later. Why not just be honest? If you did make your wishes plain to them, Husband can say, “well Morgan was upset that you didn’t honor our simple request not to invite people over without asking us first. In fact, I think it would be best if you apologized to her directly.” And then next time they want to visit, suggest that you all would be more comfortable if they stayed in a hotel so they can socialize freely.

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