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Reader Questions: Dividing the Invite List When One Family is Larger

By January 31, 2013

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Barbara writes:

I am the mother of the bride. Because we have a large immediate family and the groom doesn't, they want to invite all their family members, turning the wedding into a family reunion. Meanwhile, we'd only be able to invite immediate family members. They are paying for nothing and I feel slighted on the list. Am I being selfish?

Barbara, selfish is such an ugly word, and yet it's one that often gets hurled during wedding planning. I can imagine someone calling you that for wanting to have a larger share of the guest list. You could also say that they are being selfish for not paying for anything, or for not being sensitive to your needs. It's interesting to note, however, that you don't mention how the bride and groom feel about all of this. Does the bride want her aunts and cousins to be able to attend? It's definitely a question worth asking.

Also, I assume from what you are saying that you are paying for at least some of the wedding. I recently wrote an article called, "8 Ways to Ask Your Parents to Help Pay for the Wedding." Although it's written to help the engaged couple, it could be helpful for you to read. My guess is that you agreed to help assuming that would give you some level of control about such delicate things like the guest list. But your daughter may not have made that same assumption. It's time for the two of you to have a heart to heart.

Lastly, I think everyone paying for the wedding gets one, "I really need to put my foot down about this." But you only get one. If you say to your daughter, "I can't tell my sister that she can't be there, especially if the groom's aunt will be," then you need to shut up about the ceremony location you hate, the weird band they've hired, and the unflattering bridesmaids dresses. It's a good litmus test about how important this issue is to you. That also means that when you're so easy going about everything else, no one can really accuse you of being selfish.


February 5, 2013 at 4:17 pm
(1) Tsews says:

When our only daughter was married a few years ago, and we paid for 95% of the wedding, I was totally up front with her about many details before I opened my wallet. I did everything in my power to make sure it was the bride & grooms wedding but I had about 10 rules that they either kept or I kept my money. If they thought the rules my husband & I made were unfair they were welcome to pay for everything themselves. — So think before you speak. — Also, make certain they understand the word BUDGET. (Not the words blank check.)

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