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Ali
Beginner October 2021

Financial manipulation for guest list?

Ali, on January 27, 2021 at 1:22 PM Posted in Family and Relationships 0 48
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Hi all - writing because I am desperate at this point and would love to have some outside perspectives/opinions. It's a rant, so appreciate your patience.

Breakdown

- Got engaged 2 weeks ago, want to have a short engagement and get married 10/2021

- Got priced out of our current city/available date, so we are getting married in my hometown

- Wanted a small-medium wedding in my parents backyard (less than 80 ppl total) w/ family style reception

- Parents offered to pay for it, so they want to be able to invite guests

- We decided to give 15 spots on the guest list to my parents to keep it under 80 (including fam); this means FH/I are inviting 18 couples total, including our wedding party

- Parents: "we are paying for it, we get to invite however many ppl we want" and intend to send invites to 100+ people to put the total between 125-150 (and assuming that is w/ 20% of their invitees saying no). that's 3x our # of guests.

- FH and I are alarmed, ask them to compromise and please pull it back to ensure that 100ppl is the max number that show up; we also offer to help pay for the wedding up to 10k, FMIL offers to contribute 10k as well

- Parents refuse to accept that, they are happy to "front the money" as I'm their only daughter Smiley amazing but that means they can invite whoever they want and since they've been alive for 66 years, that's going to be a lot of people

- At a loss at what to do now; we can only afford a 20k wedding in current city, and my hometown was supposed to be cost-effective bc my parent's backyard is free and they know a LOT of people who would give them discounts

- Anyone have advice on how to possibly negotiate further? They've turned down every compromise we've thrown at them. It's feeling less like a day to celebrate the 2 of us, more like them showing off their money for social status.

Hope that all makes sense. Any clarifications needed please let me know!


48 Comments

Latest activity by Th, on February 11, 2021 at 9:42 PM
  • Michelle
    Rockstar October 2022
    Michelle Online ·
    • Flag
    Pay for it all yourselves at a location you can afford. Do not accept a penny and stand your ground that this is your wedding, your decisions. If someone wants different, they can do it when it's their turn.
    • Reply
  • Lisa
    Super October 2021
    Lisa ·
    • Flag

    I agree 100% with Michelle.

    We are paying for our wedding 100% on our own. My fiancé's parents have invited a handful of guests, since we ask who they wanted to invite. Now that we've postponed they want to invite more - absolutely not. You had your chance, we aren't going over 100. My parents didn't invite any guests.

    • Reply
  • Mrs. Spring
    Master April 2021
    Mrs. Spring ·
    • Flag
    You must pay for all of it yourselves. With accepting money comes with accepting to lose control
    • Reply
  • Shelly
    Rockstar January 2022
    Shelly ·
    • Flag

    I went through something similar with my mom. She's paying half of our venue total and when she gave us her guest list, there were people on there I hadn't seen/spoken to since I was in elementary school or younger. I just sat her down and told her we'd have to put some people on a 'maybe' list due to our venue's guest max.

    It's a slippery slope when someone is financially contributing, but I stick true to my opinion of: "No matter how much someone is financially contributing, they don't have the final say on your wedding decisions". Sit them down and let them know (firmly but politely) that your guest list will NOT exceed x amount, and that a guest list cut WILL be made if it gets over that amount.

    If they still refuse, then you may just have to refuse their offer to pay. That way they won't have any reason why they should make big decisions.

    I know this can be a very stressful conversation. You and your FH need to stand by one another and back each other up. Good luck!

    • Reply
  • A
    Expert September 2020
    Amanda ·
    • Flag
    This is a pretty common story, unfortunately. If you are confident you won’t encounter similar issues with FH family, go ahead and have your $20k wedding using half their money and half yours. What you’re going to hear from most is to just pay for the entire thing yourself - that is truly the only way to have full control. I’m sorry you’re going through this, a lot of us have!
    • Reply
  • M
    VIP January 2019
    Maggie ·
    • Flag

    I agree with PP advice and that this is a common result of accepting money. There are no magical negotiation tips or words we can offer you to get your parents to change their tune. And it doesn't matter that it isn't fair of them to give money with strings. What matters is that there are strings and you can choose to accept those strings (and the accompanying money) or not.

    The good news is that you are only 2 weeks into planning. With no deposits put down or contracts signed yet, you can easily regain control of your wedding. Does paying for it yourself mean you might have to change your vision to match your budget? Yep. But I promise you, this is a good thing in the long run.

    • Reply
  • ArizonaDreaming
    Dedicated September 2021
    ArizonaDreaming ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment

    This, this, 100x this. Do not let them push. Set boundaries and enforce them. This is your day. They had their wedding.

    • Reply
  • Ali
    Beginner October 2021
    Ali ·
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    View Quoted Comment

    We can afford city hall and maybe a party at a restaurant after w/ photographer but that's all we can afford. We already found a photographer/videographer we are in love with so that's eating up 1/4 the budget, which I guess would leave 15k for restaurant/bar/dress/tux/decor/etc., hm...I'll have to start looking into venues and stuff. Funnily enough, my parents have both been married multiple times before they found each other, you'd think they'd be over it by now Smiley ups

    • Reply
  • Ali
    Beginner October 2021
    Ali ·
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    View Quoted Comment

    We are trying! Going to give negotiations a few more tries, and if we can't align on something then we'll turn down the money and do something much lower budget where we live.

    • Reply
  • Hanna
    VIP June 2019
    Hanna ·
    • Flag

    When parents pay, they do (and rightly should) get a significant say in the guest list. At least, that's usually how it works. Our parents paid for our wedding and having them choose a large part of the guest list was a given, since they were the ones fronting the money. Had my husband and I paid ourselves, then we probably would have had a very different and much smaller wedding. There are always strings attached to money, and especially when it comes to weddings. When parents pay for a child's wedding, they should get a significant say in the wedding planning, and definitely in the guest list. I think you have 2 options: accept the money and have the wedding that your parents envision, or pay for it yourselves and have the wedding you can afford on your own terms.

    • Reply
  • Michelle
    Rockstar October 2022
    Michelle Online ·
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    This!! There are countless threads talking about how couples don't get the wedding they want because the people paying bully them into something else and can't fix it without giving the money back that was already spent. They do this for other life events too.


    Always plan as if you are not getting financial help and fit your vision for that budget.
    • Reply
  • Ali
    Beginner October 2021
    Ali ·
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    View Quoted Comment

    It's honestly not even that the money has strings, it's these specific strings where we have to get married in front of 100+ strangers that bothers me. I don't care that they invite guests, just want it to be a reasonable number Smiley sad I think working with FH's mom is probably the best bet as all she would require is us paying her back, the money would be a loan in that case. We were hoping to not start off marriage more in debt than we are now but I guess it's unavoidable in this scenario.

    • Reply
  • Ali
    Beginner October 2021
    Ali ·
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    View Quoted Comment

    Will do our best - I didn't have an extravagant vision for my parents' backyard to begin with but until we get their final guest count, we don't really know what will happen. We could have even cut down the amt they would have to pay by splitting the budget 3 ways, but they refused to accept that.

    Our backup in that case is city hall w/ 2 witnesses, then meeting everyone else at restaurant for a catered meal or something. The one thing I'm not giving up no matter what is our photographer, she has a wonderful style and we don't have many photos of ourselves.

    • Reply
  • Ali
    Beginner October 2021
    Ali ·
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    View Quoted Comment

    Reading elsewhere, it doesn't seem common for the paying party to have 80% of the guest list though. That seems very overbearing. I get some compromise, but I don't get bullying the bride/groom into something neither of them wants. That doesn't seem fair, healthy, or good for the relationships; that actually seems a little abusive. My parents and I have an okay relationship but there is a history of financial manipulation there to begin with so I shouldn't have been surprised to be honest. I thought since I'm an adult that might have changed, but sadly it hasn't.

    • Reply
  • M
    VIP January 2019
    Maggie ·
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    View Quoted Comment

    I feel like you are too hung up on this hypothetical wedding you planned in two weeks using your parents' money. And now you are also attached to the loan from your future in-laws.

    There are so many ways to have and plan a wedding and everyone's looks different. You only got engaged 2 weeks ago. Pause; take a break from wedding planning. Have realistic budget conversations with your future spouse. Discuss each other's longterm financial goals. You can absolutely have a wedding without going into debt, but you are going to have to be creative, flexible, and willing to compromise.

    Editing to add in response to your latest comment: it literally doesn't matter what you or anyone else thinks is "fair". What matters is how you are parents are acting about this money (and you say this has happened before). Believe them. Accept that they will not change. You have the power to walk away from these money shenanigans.

    • Reply
  • Ali
    Beginner October 2021
    Ali ·
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    View Quoted Comment

    Thank you! Going to try and negotiate things a few more times - it's been very stressful as my parents have a history of financial manipulation with me, so trying preserve whatever good things we have going for us and not have my relationship with them crash and burn unless necessary is a semi-high priority.

    2 weeks in but don't have much time left so keep your fingers crossed for me!

    • Reply
  • Michelle
    Rockstar October 2022
    Michelle Online ·
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    View Quoted Comment
    You can totally have a party with that but you have to think outside the box. Check out banquet halls owned by the parks dept or industrial venues on eventective.com that let you bring in own vendors. Have your favorite local restaurant cater. Get a grocery store cake. Flowers from the grocery or Costco.
    • Reply
  • Shelly
    Rockstar January 2022
    Shelly ·
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    View Quoted Comment

    I feel you on that one. My mom has always lived by, "I'm paying so it's my way, or the highway".

    Fingers and toes crossed for you!!

    • Reply
  • Michelle
    Rockstar October 2022
    Michelle Online ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment
    If they have a history of financial manipulation, that behavior never changes for anyone or any reason. Sometimes you have to cut out that toxicity and do it all on your own without them in attendance.


    Why do you say you don't have much time?
    • Reply
  • Ali
    Beginner October 2021
    Ali ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment

    I really don't appreciate your assumptions about my relationship or my planning with my partner - we've been discussing guest lists, venues, etc. for a couple months, including building the ring together. The proposal was a gesture more than anything because we knew we were going to have a shorter engagement.

    I also think I am allowed to be hurt and disappointed about my parents' behavior. We both had hope that they wouldn't pull this kind of stuff, and it's really sad that they did. We haven't been reliant on them for anything for 2 years, so we truly thought that their offer to pay for the wedding was going to be more of a gift because they were happy for us, not a means to manipulate things.

    This has certainly put a damper on past 2 weeks and it seems like it will continue to be a pain point the next 9 months while we continue planning, with or without additional financial aid from either parental party.

    I appreciate that you think there are a million ways weddings can be planned, and realize that it's true in an objective sense. We had our own unique vision though, and we are realizing it's unlikely to come true due to my parents' behavior, regardless of their financial contributions. They were already arguing over how many they could invite before money was even mentioned - they feel entitled to many things because I'm their only daughter, and it's "tradition." I want to believe there is a compromise in here somewhere because I want to continue to improve my relationship with my parents, but not entirely sure it's possible given the timeline/their behavior.

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