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What to Do When You and Your Parents Disagree on the Size of the Wedding

The number of people you invite impacts every other element of the day.

Contributing Writer
guests enjoying outdoor reception with hanging lights
Photography by: Branco Prata

Everyone has a vision of their ideal wedding size, which refers to how many guests will be invited. Your vision might be a cozy group of 40 people max while your parents are thinking along grander lines and a triple-digit guest list. How can you make peace? Try these ideas.

 

Related: How to Decide How Many Guests Each Family Can Invite to the Wedding

 

Express yourself.

If you've always been of the mindset that an intimate wedding was the perfect way to start a marriage, explain that to your parents. Maybe it's because you and the groom only have a few close friends or, like everything in your life, you prefer to keep things simple. But don't put down their vision; instead, listen to their reasoning of why they want to supersize your wedding. Try to reach a compromise where both sides get some of what they want.

 

Recognize that money is power.

Yes, even with a wedding. If you want a big blowout and your parents are paying, they have a considerable say in how many guests you have (and, in some cases, who will be invited). Also if you're not shelling out the bucks, it'll be hard to justify why your parents should go into debt just so that you can invite every member of your high school lacrosse team, whether you still keep up with them or not. If you're paying, the power is yours. That doesn't mean that the entire guest list is of your choosing. Let Mom and Dad invite a reasonable number of their own guests. In many ways, it's their wedding too.

 

Party on again.

If your parents are the ones thinking big, you might suggest holding a second, mini reception in their hometown when you're back from the honeymoon. Let them do all the planning and inviting—it's a way of including their friends and neighbors without impugning on wedding vision.