Kate L. Asks About a Guest List Out of Control

Have we mentioned that we love reader questions? Please share your questions about choosing wedding jewelry, wedding planning, and more with us at our Facebook page – or connect with us on Twitter and ask there!

This week’s reader question comes from Kate L. in Nevada – she’s having some trouble narrowing down her wedding guest list and getting certain guests on board with her version of the perfect wedding.

My fiance’s family is wonderful and has been so welcoming. That said, when we asked them for a must-have guest list they came back with a list of over 150 people! I think it wouldn’t feel so overwhelming if they were helping to pay for the wedding, but we’re actually footing most of the bill with my family contributing a little bit here and there. And we were actually hoping to have a wedding that’s a little less… opulent than they’re expecting. How can we bring this all up without sounding rude or ungrateful?

We think Kate L. must be a fantastically patient bride-to-be to have approached us for advice instead of going right to her future in-laws with a hasty counteroffer. Which is what a lot of us would have done in her place, truth be told. It’s not easy to stay diplomatic in the fact of people trying to hijack your guest list – yes, we said it – and to turn your wedding into something you don’t want it to be. Our kudos and admiration don’t solve Kate L.’s problem, however.

Kate L. may be feeling extreme pangs of anxiety right now because it’s hard to say no to your future spouse’s family, but what she needs to do is bank on the fact that they are wonderful and have been welcoming. This whole thing may be the result of a simple communication error. We don’t know, for example, if Kate L. (or her fiance) has actually sat down to with her future in-laws to share her ideas about wedding size. When her fiance asked for guest list input, did he specifically say that they were planning a small wedding and suggest an appropriate number of guests? And finally, we don’t know if the list Kate L. received is truly a must-have list or if the fiance’s family simply went overboard with their suggestions.

Make of it what you will, but we’ve found that a lot of wedding planning conflicts begin with simple misunderstandings that spiral out of control. Communication is often the answer, even if the very idea of having to bring up a contentious topic makes you feel like you’ve eaten a brick.