Q&A: Guest List: How to Divide It Up?


My family is footing almost the entire bill for our wedding, but my fiance's family is humongous. I know that the traditional rules aren't going to work perfectly, and I definitely want to try to deal with any strife way before it comes to a head. Do you have any suggestions as to how we should handle the guest list?


Guest lists are tricky even under the best of circumstances. If your parents are covering the cost, tradition holds that they get to invite more guests. Still, size matters. If his family is that much bigger, it is apropos for them to have a proportionate number of guests, no matter what the cost. Before anyone starts inviting anyone, why not get guest "wish lists" from all involved parties (with the understanding that there will be trimming)? This is especially important because it's not just your parents doing the inviting. Obviously, there are also going to be his friends, your friends, and the friends the two of you share. Once you have an idea of the overall numbers you'll be working with, it'll be easy to devise a cut-and-dried formula for dealing with it. For example, maybe the parents' close friends can be kept, but coworkers will be cut. The best way to handle guest list tension? Don't leave anyone in the dark. So long as everyone is clear about the rules of the game, you shouldn't have to worry as much about hurting anyone's feelings, however inadvertently.

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