One of the most difficult parts of planning a wedding is deciding who should be on your guest list. With both the bride and groom's parents often expecting to have input, the issue can quickly get out of hand. So, how much say should your parents have in your guest list? What's the best way to handle the situation?
Money = Power
If one or both sets of parents are contributing financially to the wedding, it is only fair that they have some say in the guest list. After all, it will be their money that is covering the expenses of the guests they invite. For couples who are paying for their wedding by themselves, it is seen that you will have more power as it is your funding. In this case, you can tell your parents that you are selecting the guest list by yourselves.
Set A Budget Early
Setting a wedding budget as early as possible will determine guest list constraints right from the beginning. A clear budget will provide guidance on the capacity of possible wedding venues, influencing the size of your guest list. This will set your parents' expectations about how many guests they can invite before you even speak to them.
Be Clear About What You Want
Tell your families upfront some of your non-negotiable rules when it comes to your wedding. Whether it's an intimate wedding venue, a strict no plus-ones rule or no kids allowed, make sure your parents are aware before they try to contribute to your guest list. Remaining firm about these rules will limit parental input about the guest list.
Give Them A Clear Number
To keep control over how much say your parents have in your guest list, give each set of parents a clear number of people they are able to invite. Traditionally, the couple invites 1/3 of the guests, the bride's parents invite 1/3 and the groom's parents invite 1/3. Many couples adjust this so they determine 1/2 the guest list themselves and split the remaining half amongst their parents. Try to make the split of guests between each set of parents as even as possible to not upset anyone.
Make A Preliminary List
Before you discuss your guest list with your parents, sit down with your partner and write a draft guest list. This will give you an idea of how much space you have for your parents to invite people and whether you need to adjust who you invite yourselves in order to give some invites to your parents. Remember, some of the people your parents wish to invite may already be on your list!
Find Other Ways To Involve Them
Your parents are excited to be celebrating your wedding. It is natural that they will want to be involved in whatever capacity they can be. If you want them to be less involved in your guest list, try giving them another part of the wedding planning process to assist with. Ask them to assist with areas you know they will be comfortable and confident in.
Set A Guest List Deadline
To avoid last minute additions to your guest list by your parents, set a date when you will be finalising your guest list. After this date, nobody else can be invited to the wedding. Typically, this would occur when the save the dates are sent out. This avoids your parents sneaking people onto the list last minute or trying to add people they just thought of.
Take Advice Graciously
Although these situations may become tense, your parents are doing everything out of love. They are excited about your wedding and want to share the planning experience with you. Remember that your parents have likely been to more weddings than you and may have some good insights to offer. While this doesn't mean that you need to give them the deciding vote, especially on important details such as the guest list, it is worth hearing them out as their opinion may prove valuable.
Is It Worth The Argument?
Even if you do everything you can to avoid it, sometimes arguments will arise over your guest list. If you have room in your budget and your venue for a few additional guests, ask yourself what harm it will cause for these extra guests to come. You might not know them that well, but if it will make your parents happy, it will contribute to the smooth running of your day. Choose your battles and make sure you still put importance on your relationship with your parents. After all, they just want to share this magical day with those they cherish.