How to Handle the Guest List When You’re not Paying for the Wedding

A friend just sent me an email saying that she is completely frustrated by the wedding planning process — mostly the guest list. Apparently (no pun intended), her parents are paying for the wedding and they are insisting on taking over the guest list. She is now only going to be able to invite a few of her friends. She’s completely frustrated by the whole process and is ready to hand over the entire planning process to her parents.

Ugh, right?

Photo from The Wedding Lens

Photo from The Wedding Lens

  1. Make expectations clear at the get-go! If your parents are paying for the wedding, make sure you have a talk at the beginning of the process to see whether the money is a gift and whether they intend to have a hand in (or completely control) the entire planning process. If at all possible, see if you can go in for half of the costs so that you dont feel completely subjected to their whims.
  2. Communicate and compromise. Assuming you’ve either done that or it’s too late and they start insisting on a guest list, sit down and talk. Calmly. Explain why it is important to you to invite X, Y or Z and why you would rather not invite A, B, or C. If they are adamant about A, B, & C, then maybe you can come to an agreement on someone else or at least be able to invite X Y and Z.
  3. Gather your finances. Most of the time, the reason why parents oppose inviting someone is because of finances. They have budgeted a certain amount to pay for their friends but not for yours. If that’s the case… You and your fiance(e) should sit down and discuss whether the people you want there are important enough that you can find the money to pay for those people to come yourself. Obviously the conflict might not be about the guest list, but about other things — like the music or food or decorations. Usually finances dictate it, so if you can, muster the money to pay for that part yourself!

Of course, every family functions differently and you would know how to best handle your parents (I hope?) so take that into consideration too!

And then, good luck!

~ Natasha

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2 Responses

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