I thought I'd post about guest lists today because its something that's come up in our planning a lot lately.
My questions are these:
What should we do about people we don't see from one year to the next but are family?
How to respond to tenuous people who invite themselves?
How to deal with (non-contributory) in-laws who make guest list demands?
Around the time we started looking at venues back in January, we sat down, just the two of us and made a provisional list because we needed rough numbers to give to venues. We agreed that we wanted the vast majority of guests to be invited to the whole day and maybe just a handful evening only.There was not one cross word or even a disagreement over the guest list; we both knew who we want to be there; we wanted our friends there all day, as well as family. That raised some eyebrows let me tell you! Apparently it's not the done thing. Tough, we're paying!
We anticipated questions from the groom's side of the family about why we aren't inviting his third cousin 8 times removed who he last saw 10 years ago, etc. etc. etc. (I have a small family and noone so far removed)
So we came up with a rule: if we haven't both met them they aren't invited.
Given that we've been together not far off 6 years, anyone we haven't both met by this point surely can't warrant an invite, we thought?
Wrong. Apparently the grooms father must be able to invite his mate from the pub. And his wife. Hmm.
On the subject of tenuous links..why do people you've spoken to a handful of times at work have to slip into conversation "ooo I hope I'm invited!" Or suggest booking a minibus. Awky-mo.
So here's what we've stuck to;
Family members we don't see from one year to the next?
Immediate family up to and including first cousins are invited regardless of length of absence.
People who invite themselves?
" (insert awkward laugh) aww I wish we could invite everyone from (place). We both have such big families we're already at max numbers" - this is true!
Non-contributing in laws demanding a say in the guest list beyond immediate family?
My fiancé ruled on this one. They're his family! Answer: jog on. Phrased much more politely but with the same end result. No, your mate from the pub cannot come to the whole day. At a push he can come to the evening. Why he'd want to when he doesn't know another soul there is beyond us both.
So we could have made it a bit easier for ourselves by giving in to random demands but so far we're happy that who we want to be with us will be.
I'd advise sticking to your guns to some extent. And making a rule and sticking to it should work as long as it's fair. Our wedding isn't a jolly free day out for people who we don't know :)
What problems have you had when making your guest list, and what approach have you taken?