March 19, 2024

How Many Guests Should Your Parents Invite to Your Wedding?

When planning your wedding, one of the most significant factors impacting your budget and logistics is your guest count. It can be challenging to create a guest list in the first place. Even more challenging – wondering how many guests should your parents invite to your wedding. Here’s how to navigate this crucial aspect of wedding planning:

Consider Guest Count in Budgeting

Factor in your guest count when setting your overall wedding budget. Each additional 8-10 guests may necessitate extra expenses for tables, centerpieces, and food. Avoid randomly selecting a guest count; instead, be prepared to adjust based on venue costs and potential declines.

Cocktail hour for a wedding at The Lodge at Torrey Pines on the lawn. Cavin Elizabeth Photography.

Managing the Guest List

Prioritize your own guest list preferences before accommodating parental invitations. For example, let’s say you can afford 120 guests in your budget. Create an initial list with your fiancé. Did you two only get to 110? Then you could allow each set of parents 5 guests each. If you and your fiancé have 120 or more on your list, then there needs to be some discussion on whether the parents can go over that guest count or they simply won’t be able to invite their own friends.

Your wishes should come first, ensuring you invite everyone you desire. Then, allocate remaining spots among both sets of parents. If parents exceed their allocated spots without contributing financially, kindly but firmly enforce your guest count limit.

Croquet lawn cocktail hour at Rancho Valencia photographed by Cavin Elizabeth Photography

Navigating Parental Contributions

If parents contribute financially, express gratitude while maintaining control over the guest list. Having parents pay for the wedding shouldn’t mean they can overtake control for your wedding day. Them doing so is a lovely gift that deserves appreciation, though it does not mean they have full control over the guest list.

Decide whether exceeding the budget is ok with you and the parents. Set boundaries on parental invites, considering factors like familiarity or recent interaction with potential guests.

Vietnamese Lion Dance for a wedding. Lion dancers. Cavin Elizabeth Photography

Advocating for Yourself

Remember, it’s your day, and your wishes should take precedence. While it’s considerate to involve parents in the invitation process, prioritize your needs, budget, and logistical constraints. Gifts from parents should not come with strings attached; any additional invitations should align with your vision and resources.

Ultimately, the guest list should reflect your preferences and comfort level. Communicate openly with all parties involved, maintaining a balance between gratitude for parental contributions and assertiveness for your wedding vision.