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Natalie
Devoted July 2021

Help: Mother In Law Wants to Invite Too Many Additional Guests

Natalie, on December 5, 2019 at 8:18 PM Posted in Etiquette and Advice 0 25
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Planning our wedding has been an absolute breeze, that is, until my MIL wanted to add 10+ additional guests to the list after we already sent out invites. Any advice on how to let her know (gently) that this is just not going to happen?


To give you a point of reference:

We have invited 220 people and are comfortable with that number. We would have preferred less but since my parents are helping exponentially with wedding costs, we knew we had to allow for more guests in goodwill to them since it is by their contribution that we are even able to afford the wedding without needing more time to save.
While it isn't the basis for this whole discussion, I think it is important to note that my fiance's family hasn't offered to contribute to the wedding financially in any way. They did throw us a nice engagement party, but we don't feel like it is proper etiquette to ask that they help out with wedding expenses if they haven't offered, so we've just accepted that they aren't going to help. This means, in my mind, that we can be more firm on guest list limitations. My fiance is in agreement with me on this and feels like it would be different if his parents were contributing. Even so, I want to be as fair as possible, so we haven't limited their guest list additions by a lot, we have actually given my fiance's side a large number of invites, almost equal if not totally equal to the amount of additions to the list my family made.
Our venue can accommodate 240 MAX, however, that would mean having to put tables on the dance floor which we do not want to do since it would greatly limit our dancing space. 200 is the venue's comfortable maximum number. At 200, no tables would have to be set up on the dance floor. This is the final RSVP we are hoping for.
My MIL just asked me if she can add at least 10 more people to the list, knowing our venue size and that I have already sent out invitations. She wants to invite the neighbor that babysat my fiance back in the day, people from her bible study group, and a bunch more that my fiance doesn't even know.
Bottom line is we cant, not only for budgetary reasons but there just isn't the space to allow for it! This limitation on guest additions goes for everyone, we aren't singling out my fiance's side. There are friends we couldn't invite as we had to consider who was closest to us and who we absolutely wanted to invite. She keeps asking me if anyone has RSVP'd as declined so that she can tell me who to add, while I'm kind of hoping at least 20 decline so that we can get closer to the smaller guest count we want!
How do I tell her we can't accept any more guest list additions?

25 Comments

Latest activity by Yoice, on December 7, 2019 at 12:21 AM
  • MAMW
    VIP August 2013
    MAMW ·
    • Flag

    Have your FH tell her no, in whichever way he chooses. He doesn't need to mention anything about budget, space, etc. The answer is no, the guest list is final, and there is nothing to discuss. He doesn't have to be mean but he also doesn't need to say a lot to get the point across. Since it's his mother, he should 100% do the communicating with her. It makes it harder for her to make you or your parents out to be the villains.

    • Reply
  • Shelly
    Devoted January 2021
    Shelly ·
    • Flag
    Just tell her you don’t have the room. I’m assuming if she isn’t involved financially she hasn’t looked at the contracts or know the max number allowed. I would tell her that you’re already over the max and sorry but there’s nothing you can do as invites have been sent. She doesn’t have to know they can put tables on the dance floor to accommodate a larger guest count. I would have your FH handle it lol. Sorry this is stressing you. Best of luck! I’m sure it will all work out.
    • Reply
  • Emily
    Expert September 2020
    Emily ·
    • Flag
    I legit just had to do this talking with my FMIL. I'm at Save the Date stage though, maybe invitations will be a whole new thing. She and I are close, I've been around for 10 years. So if you aren't calling her on your own, maybe it's a job for your partner.


    That said, I called and just told her the # situation. I didn't get into money, but I'm in the same boat as you. I told her we could swing 2, but not the estimated 30 that was pending. I joked that I told my partner not to make new friends in the next 9 months, because we can't add any! Lol She seemed to take it well and chuckled.
    Good luck!
    • Reply
  • Caytlyn
    Legend November 2019
    Caytlyn Online ·
    • Flag
    “I’m sorry, we cannot accommodate any more guests.”
    • Reply
  • J
    Master 0000
    Judith ·
    • Flag
    Have your FI politely say, I am sorry to disappoint you, Mom, but we cannot invite any more guests. In fact , if at least 30 guests we already do invite, do not decline, we will be in serious trouble. We have no space to put them in the dining area. Mom has been an adult a long time. She undoubtedly understands NO. And that you cannot invite more people than you can seat.
    • Reply
  • KiwiDerbyBride
    VIP May 2015
    KiwiDerbyBride ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment
    This. Don’t explain, she’ll just try and find a way around your explanation. If she says ‘but why?’ The answer is ‘we are at capacity and no more guests can be accommodated.’
    • Reply
  • Pirate & 60s Bride
    Legend March 2017
    Pirate & 60s Bride ·
    • Flag
    A firm, “No, that’s not possible.” If she persists you can suggest she host a cake & punch reception at her house or church a month after the wedding to invite any of her additional friends and you both will show up as guests.
    • Reply
  • L
    Lady ·
    • Flag

    Your FI needs to be the one to talk to her, but I would just say "The invitations have already been sent and we will not B-list anyone, there is no more space for invites".

    • Reply
  • Chanie
    Dedicated April 2021
    Chanie ·
    • Flag

    She sounds like my mother. My mom wanted to invite her hairdress and I told her no, we have a guestlist of 200 and I am hoping it will be closer to 150-180 as many family members are out of state and might decline. My mom asked to know a list of declines as well so she could invite more guests (which I will not be informing her of lol). I will be allowing some people to bring plus ones tho if I have a few declines mainly people with new relationships who their partner was not originally invited. My venue holds 300 so space isnt the issue , but I would like less people so we can save $$ on catering/bar etc.


    I would just kindly tell her that the space is limited and you guys would like the guest list to be primarily family and CLOSE friends. It might be an awkward conversation but she will understand (well hopefully she does).

    • Reply
  • Catherine
    VIP November 2019
    Catherine ·
    • Flag

    I think your FH should be the one to do so. you've already sent out invitations and you've reached to maximum number of people for your venue. best of luck!

    • Reply
  • Cher Horowitz
    Master December 2019
    Cher Horowitz ·
    • Flag

    Be firm and stick with your original guest list!

    • Reply
  • Mcskipper
    Master July 2018
    Mcskipper ·
    • Flag
    “Our guestlist has already been finalized”
    • Reply
  • Bolt2020
    Savvy August 2020
    Bolt2020 ·
    • Flag
    I would have your FH tell her that unfortunately the invites were already sent and there would be no room at the venue.
    • Reply
  • M
    VIP September 2019
    Mrs. Bubba ·
    • Flag
    Being invited doesn’t guarantee attendance.


    Let her invite those people.
    I had several people RSVP yes and then not attend.
    Some didn’t even bother to RSVP.
    • Reply
  • Lisa
    Dedicated February 2021
    Lisa ·
    • Flag
    Simply tell her, “no we can’t invite the much people”..At the end of the day is you and your FH wedding is no offense to her
    • Reply
  • Natalie
    Devoted July 2021
    Natalie ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment

    I agree and it will definitely be coming from my FH!

    • Reply
  • Natalie
    Devoted July 2021
    Natalie ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment

    Of course invites do not guarantee attendance, that was never something I misunderstood. The issue is we have already invited 20 over the comfortable max guest count for our venue, so it's simply because of the limitation on space that we cannot add any more guests. Even if 20 people decline to attend (which we are sort of hoping for) we will have barely made the comfortable 200 guest count. For that reason, we aren't interested in replacing declined rsvp's with new additions either. I was looking for advice on how to say this to my MIL who is sensitive, I wasn't asking if we should or shouldn't allow guest list additions.

    • Reply
  • Natalie
    Devoted July 2021
    Natalie ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment

    Thank you for your input! I agree Smiley smile

    • Reply
  • Natalie
    Devoted July 2021
    Natalie ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment

    She was told the capacity for the venue when we hinted to her the first time she asked to make additions to the guest list. I guess my Fiance will just need to be more firm the next time she asks. Thank you for your input, I really appreciate it Smiley smile

    • Reply
  • Natalie
    Devoted July 2021
    Natalie ·
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    Will do, thanks for your input!

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