Friday, December 5, 2008

#452: weird or not weird?

i think my sister likes to discusseth wedding-related topics with me. you know. because i'm so knowledgeable.

the very skins of it is as follows.

my sister's friend's cousin is getting married and decided to have a 25-guest wedding. aka really really small.

he didn't invite any of the extended family (although they're all apparently really close) except grandma. who then declined the invitation because she was angry that no one else in the extended family was invited. so basically, now there's drama for your mama because my sister's friend and her sibs and her parents and the rest of the extended family are feeling jilted for not having been invited.

"isn't it weird?!"

"that they feel jilted? kind of."

"no...because they weren't invited!"


and...i don't think it is.

if the couple wants to have a 25-guest wedding, let 'em be. people should just be happy for people. that's what i think.

what do you think.


Tiffany The Coordinator said...

I upset a few family members and had one or two angry phone calls made to me. "I'm not immediate family!?" No, you're not. "I need to ask for an invite?!" Still not getting it. Regarding family, I invited parents, siblings, one fave aunt and cousin and grandma. I have tons of family members. Too many to count. Granny came, had a blast and a couple of drinks to top it all off. You can't invite everyone, you cannot please everyone. To all couples and brides...prepare to upset SOMEONE. There is always at least one person with hurt feelings. He/She will get over it.

Sweet T said...

I think it depends on the family dynamics you're talking about. I have a huge extended family and wanted a small wedding, but I couldn't NOT invite my mother's siblings and their kids. Great-aunts, etc. went by the wayside but...yes. I think that for some people, the definition of immediate v. extended family is not as cut and dry. So, you either accept that people will be pissed at your decisions to not invite certain family members or try to make a compromise...

Dubbs said...

if there's one thing i learned from my wedding, it's that people who hasn't (relatively recently) gone through planning a wedding themselves, do not understand half the things that we do. that's just how it goes. i hope in 10 years when i'm not invited to someone's wedding i will remember myself saying this right now - it's not weird for anyone to want a really really small wedding that did not include me, no matter how close of friends/family we are, and i'd be happy for the couple regardless.

Sara said...

I've been reading for a while, but this is my first comment. So: hi! :)

I agree with Dubbs...being in the throes of wedding planning has totally changed my perspective about the guest list (along with, oh, everything else). Before this, I might have been offended if I thought I "should" have been invited to someone's wedding and wasn't, but now I totally think everyone should do exactly what makes them happy, regardless of what that is.

In fact, I give total credit to those brave enough to stick to their guns and have small weddings. 25 people! That's amazing. While once upon a time I might not have understood your sister's friend's decision, I now stand in admiration and awe. :)

That said, I'm surprised that so many people who have already planned their own weddings still get mad about this stuff. Might this mean that the pressures of planning are evolving in some way? Is it possible that we have to make choices now that our parents or grandparents wouldn't have had to make? Or maybe I'm just thinking that because I fraternize mostly in the "budget friendly" corner of the wedding blog world? I'm not sure.

Great and thought-provoking post! Love your blog. :)

Anonymous said...

Few things seem more irksome than people who feel as if they have a right to be there. If someone's going to get upset about your needs for your celebration of your love and your new life, that seems to me a really sure sign that they don't need to share in your special day. I'd say the fact that there's a fuss completely confirms the original decision as the correct one.

And to answer the question, no, I don't think it's weird at all. Absolutely no reason it should be. Working within the constraints they want or need to meet, it's only natural that people invite the people who seem most important to them or proceed in whatever other manner seems most appropriate to them. Heck, the couple's siblings and parents are entirely optional, if that's their preference. The only people who automatically deserve a guaranteed spot are the spouses-to-be.

Linda said...

It really does depend on the family. I didn't invite extended family but I'm not close to them. If I were close it would be weird.
When someone expects to get invited to a wedding and they don't, they get pissed. It happens a lot. Sometimes it's warranted sometimes not.
You really should consider your family before you decide on a guest list.

Cyd said...

I vote not weird! So long as the couple is consistent in who they invite and aren't inviting some extended family and not others, etc. I think they should rock it however they are comfortable. After all, the day is about them not about what anyone else prefers they do!

Caroline said...

I am going to maybe be the only one who says I DO think it's a little weird. If you have the kind of family where aunt and uncles kind of consider themselves immediate family then don't have a 25-guest wedding. I'd rather go to a wedding with 'burgers and 'dogs on the grill of the backyard than not get invited at all because I didn't make the cut of someone I considered to be close family. (in fact, I'd LOVE burgers and dogs.) I don't know their family, but when I think of my own and I think of my nephew. He's only two now, but I love him to death. I've made dozens of trips up for his birthdays, minor milestones and almost every major holiday and long weekend of the last two years. He probably won't remember/know that years from now and that's OK. But I would be HEARTBROKEN if one day he decided not to invite me to his wedding because I wasn't close enough on the family tree.

I dunno. To me weddings are NOT about just the happy couple, but a celebration of two families coming together. I think a lot of couples get into this "It's my wedding and I'll do it how I want" -- both the "bridezilla" and budget-conscious folk and I don't really support that view entirely.

Anonymous said...

Not weird at all to me. But people in general are weird and feel entitled when they shouldn't. I had a small wedding, 70 ppl. That meant cutting cousins out and we didn't feel bad, hell we've only seen them once in like 15 years. I also didn't invite one aunt & uncle who I haven't had contact with since I was about 12 (37 now, hello). They gave my mom an earful, she took it like a champ, them moved on. Let 'em vent and just hope they get over it soon. "It's your day" so you just do what you want with the people you want to do it with. We invited only the people we really wanted to share the day with and it was just perfect. No regrets.

Anonymous said...

Not weird they weren't invited but I do understand why they may be a bit peeved. Us too are planning a family only wedding (plus my and fiances' best friend) but I figured we needed to include aunts and uncles as we are all quite close. A grand total of 37 people for brunch. Although, I understand if other families are not so close and if they extend way beyond 30 people it can just be too much for the intimate do a couple have in mind.

When will families/friends/neighbours/cultural commentators get that the couples wedding is about the couple and how they feel is the best way to celebrate their union? It would make wedding planning so much less stressful!

Veiled Vows said...

I agree with sweet t that it depends on the family. i couldn't imagine my wedding with our moms and dads and siblings but i also couldn't imagine it without my best friends aka the lovelies. the family members that you never see or have uncomfortable conversations with once a year (you know that crazy cousin) don't necessarily have to be invited. they'd probably be pissed because people expect a certain thing. what it comes down to is this is a day to celebrate you and your other. you get to decide who to spend that with and who to support you in your marriage. whether that's your real family or chosen family is up to you.

lindsay. said...

Amen, sistah friend. Let them have the wedding they want without the unnecessary drama.

Ruthie said...

Personally I think if you want a wedding THAT small you should consider eloping, or a destination wedding or something. But I am super close with my family and I wouldn't dream of not inviting them all. While the idea of a small wedding is appealing in some ways (actually getting to talk to all the guests). I think inviting your family to share and witness it is equally appealing. That said, it's their choice (even if it isn't a choice I would make), and if this is what they want, some people can grumble about it, but they need to get over it. They have the rest of their lives to spend time with the bride and groom.

Miss Trini said...

Not at all weird that people should choose to have a small wedding. But I can see that the family might think it quite weird, and be pretty offended, particularly if they are regarded as being 'close'. But to each his own!

Sherisa of L'élephant Rose said...

I will be having that same situation (in 2 years!). Me & the hubby-in-wait want a small wedding, but his family is HUGE. And my family, well, we're really not so close at all. I've suggested that we each choose 20 people, plus guest. So they are all people we really love and couldn't imagine the day without. People will always be offended that they aren't invited, but at the same time they should really think about their relationship. Were you a close aunt/uncle until the bride/groom was 10? And they are getting married at 30? Do you even have the once a year weirdo conversation? Or do you just want some sort of entitlement?

I'm only about pleasing my man and myself. It doesn't mean those not invited are less loved. It just means that you have a vision. And that should be respected.

With that said, I do think it would be unfair, or tacky to accept say, bridal shower or engagement gifts without announcing your decision to have a tiny wedding upfront. People might feel swindled. That's one thing to be wary of.

But I don't think it's weird at all to have what you want. They will get over it. And if they don't, then you were right for not inviting them in the first place.

Cassie said...

Not weird.
We too, were tired of family drama. So we planned a very small wedding... For 2.
We're getting married in Vegas in 10 days :)
I totally enjoy people wanting to celebrate your day with you, but if it isn't doable for you, it just isn't. Besides, it's about the two of us getting married, right?

jackiewd said...

Personally, I think ppl tend to say they "can't" invite their family when really they mean "I want a fancy party and I don't have the cash to feed 500 ppl fancy food in a fancy place". I'm more with Miss Manners on this one, I think you should figure out who all you need to invite (both for the sake of peace and in order to share this time with the people who love you), and then figure out what/where you can afford to feed them. The other option is to elope. People are more likely to forgive you for going to the courthouse than for having a shin-dig and not inviting them.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I can so relate. I actually just wrote about this on my own blog because my fiance's mother has suddenly gotten a bug up her ass about treating our wedding as a family reunion for her 11 siblings, who we have no intention of inviting. We asked for his parents' insight on this decision prior to finalizing the guest list and booking our venue, and they were fine with it. Now that the deposit is paid, they've got a problem with it.

The bottom line is that I think people should surround themselves with those people who are most important to them on their wedding day. If that includes extended family, then go for it. But if you see aunts and uncles once every 5 or 10 years - as my fiance does, then I see nothing wrong with omitting them from the guest list.

We're certainly not going to omit someone from our family of choice - ie OUR FRIENDS, in order to create space for someone from our family of origin.

Triskit said...

Oh, I can so relate. I actually just wrote about this on my own blog because my fiance's mother has suddenly gotten a bug up her ass about treating our wedding as a family reunion for her 11 siblings, who we have no intention of inviting. We asked for his parents' insight on this decision prior to finalizing the guest list and booking our venue, and they were fine with it. Now that the deposit is paid, they've got a problem with it.

The bottom line is that I think people should surround themselves with those people who are most important to them on their wedding day. If that includes extended family, then go for it. But if you see aunts and uncles once every 5 or 10 years - as my fiance does, then I see nothing wrong with omitting them from the guest list.

We're certainly not going to omit someone from our family of choice - ie OUR FRIENDS, in order to create space for someone from our family of origin.

Anonymous said...

I can see how the grandmother in this story would be upset that her daughter (the aunt) wouldn't be invited. Of course it is the bride&groom's decision on who to invite - but that doesn't mean it isn't a bit awkward. If there is an aunt/uncle/cousin/grandparent who doesn't play ANY part in family life anymore, then it would be reasonable to not offer an invite. Same goes for an extra close aunt - only invite Mum&Dad as well as the aunt who put you through college, etc. I just think it is awkward when grandma is there, one of her children is mother-of-the-bride but her other children (the aunts, the uncles) are absent & offended. Sometimes it really is an "all or nothing" situation. If it meant inviting another 15 people - going from 25 guests to 40 guests - I would invite aunts/uncles/adult cousins. Weddings are not easy! Good luck to the couple involved. x

Diana said...

This is my dilema right now! His family is huge and all lives right near each other. So family members that wouldn't be invited to our wedding live right down the road from my fiance's parents. So the option of not inviting them doesn't exist for us. However, one thing we are thinking about is having the wedding near my family, and then the family of his that wanted to come, could make the drive, but some of his more extended aunts, uncles and cousins, would probably stay home. No one will feel jilted without an invitation, but the ones who really want to be there can drive out. It's under three hours, so it's not too far. Hopefully that solution works for us!

Ultimately I think everyone should do what's right for them. And people should try to remember what a wedding these days costs, and just send their love and support for the bride and groom. I don't think it's ever easy to decide not to invite people to a wedding.

Erika said...

The guest list is so hard! I feel lucky that our families did not complain (too much) about us not inviting some aunts, uncles, and cousins. We had 55 people and that was big enough (I would have been happier with 40). In the end we invited our closest family and friends -- I'd much rather have a close friend at the wedding (someone I know I'll be close with for years to come) than a random uncle I haven't seen in 20 years.

AmyJean said...

I think its your day you should do as you really want, but at the same time, i know many of my aunts who were always around as i grew up, alongside with my mother, always dreamed of the day when my cousins and i would grow up and the celebrations that would follow... So i'm not surprised that they are disappointed either.

Sometimes I try to remind myself, it is my day - but my mom's been thinking about it probably at least a couple years longer than I have... and it is very important to her too. It's hard to accommodate everyone, but i realize i am not the only one who's been dreaming of my wedding day :) so hopefully there is a nice medium or balance to that!

Lee said...

I think it's definitely each couple's decision who they will invite and family and friends should respect that. But as Dubbs pointed out, people who haven't recently planned a wedding themselves will not understand what the couple is going through, and the guest list can be the hardest part!

We thought through several different scenarios of who to invite, and how we would draw the line. In the end we invited everyone and I'm so glad we did. (We were able to invite everyone because most of my husband's extended family lives far away and we knew that many of them would not be able to make it. That really saved us from having to cut anyone out. So I really feel for those who have to make those hard decisions.)

I remember on our wedding day looking around and feeling so glad that we were able to include everyone there, and feeling so happy that they could come. It was also fun looking forward to the wedding with all of those people because a happy result of issuing the invitations was that it got us in touch with many family and friends that we hadn't seen in a while.

It's really sad that the grandma in your post boycotted the wedding. Both my husband's and my grandmother could not make it to our wedding for health reasons and it was sad for us.

Anonymous said...

I think people in my famly will not be upset as such but some might feel disappointed. But in the end of the day I think my relatives will understand.. I have an extremely large family (my mum alone has 9 sisters and brothers, who have 35 kids (my cousins) most of whom are already married and have kids of their own.. I have six siblings as well. You do the math! :) There was no possibility for me to have the kind of wedding I wanted with this number of people (as an example my relative had a wedding with 500 guests..).

Only 25 of my family members will come and 5 of my friends (some with partners). My boyfriend will have almost the same number of guests and that way we'll end up with exactly the size of a wedding we wanted to have.. Neither of us really enjoys being the centre of attention and in a large wedding we would simply be feeling uncomfortable. I would feel like it's a theatre play!

I'm thinking of being as nice about this to the relatives as possible and explain patiently (if asked) why we chose to have a smaller wedding even though I love my relatives.

qasia said...

I don't think any of us are in the position to say whether this is weird or not. It depends on a lot of things that we don't know.

If the couple is excluding family to whom they are close just so they can have a more lavish affair that they wouldn't be able afford for the whole family, then I think it's completely understandable that the family feels jilted.

However, people tend to think that lack of money is the only reason anyone would want a smaller wedding. If the couple just wants a small wedding and picks those that THEY feel closest with, there is nothing wrong with that and the family should accept that. Couples shouldn't be forced to run off to city hall just because they don't want to be up in front of a lot of people (or whatever their reason for wanting things small is).

On the other side of things, couples also need to realize that the day isn't all about is a joining of two families. All of both families don't need to necessarily be invited, but this fact does need to be recognized and tact needs to be used.

In this situation, we're not privy to the motivating factors that lead this couple to choose a small wedding. We don't know how the couple themselves feel about their family (just because other family members claim everyone's really close, doesn't mean the couple actually feels that way). And a lot of whether this situation is weird or not depends on these details.

Kelsey said...

My parents' wedding had less than 25, and I hope that mine will as well.

Personally, I like what my best friend and her (now) husband did: They had only parents, grandparents, and siblings (and and spouses of siblings) at the ceremony. They have small families, so there was a total of 6 or 7 guests, I believe. The ceremony was short, simple, they wrote their own vows and it was very personal. Then, the next weekend, they had a big barbecue up on a local mountain and invited all their friends to celebrate. Everyone had fun, felt involved, and the whole thing, including clothes, cost them around $1500. I hope to do something similar when I get married.

Anonymous said...

I was the maid of honor in a 30 person wedding this summer. It was immediate family only, parents/siblings/granparents. No aunts, uncles, cousins, friends. My cousin was the bride, and I was the only exception because I was MOH. She is like a sister to me.
She had an uphill battle with his family, who threatened to crash. They paid for the whole thing themselves, but had it at a very excpensive venue, so the guest list was limited. They ended up having to throw a second reception a month later to appease his family. The bride was not happy about it, but it all worked out in the end.

Kristie B said...

You can't please everyone, but if you are "close" with your family, wouldn't you invite them? I believe that immediate family (parents and siblings) should at least be there if you are inviting 25 friends. Friends change, but you are stuck with your family forever. If the relationships with family suck, then whatever. Other than that, invite or don't invite whoever you want.

Anonymous said...

I am actually living this right now. My finance and I wanted to have a small wedding (around 50 people) and we are paying for it ourselves. We have invited parents/siblings/grandparents and OUR close friends. My side has more siblings than his side. His parents are REALLY upset that we did not include their close friends (sudo aunts and uncles) on the guest list. BTW, we have been together for over 3 years now and I have NEVER met these people nor has my finance seen them in that time. My parents weren't happy either about our decision but seem to be better about it when we offered to attend a more casual event in which they could invite extended family and their friends. We tried this with his parents but they are still unhappy. I was prepared to have upset people but not my future in laws. Anyway, wish me luck!!

Anonymous said...

I really, really don't get it why people seem to let families have so much control over a wedding. It's your day, for crissakes!

- Driftingfocus