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You Asked: She Invited Her Family to My Wedding!

Dear Sugar,

My fiancé and I are pulling together our wedding on our own with no help from a wedding planner and minimal financial help from our families. We are trying to keep our guest list reasonable so that we can stick to our budget. This has proven to be difficult since we both have large extended families, so we've had to pick and choose who we're inviting. So imagine my surprise when my fiancé's brother's wife called me to insist that her parents (who I've never met) be invited to the wedding to care for her 2-year-old child. It would be one thing if she was a direct family member, but they are a few degrees removed. To add insult to injury, my fiancé's brother's wife is already bringing a nanny, which makes her request even more outlandish.

When she first asked me about this, she did ask, however as I told her about our budgeting concerns, she became increasingly adamant, and ending up basically instructing me to invite them. Since we are paying for 90 percent of this wedding, I feel like I should be able to just say no, but I don't want to start off my marriage on the wrong foot, this is part of his family after all. I'm really told but most of all astounded by her query. Do you have any advice?
— Broke Bride Brooke

To see DearSugar's answer


Dear Broke Bride Brooke,

First and foremost, I must commend you and your fiancé for planning and hosting your wedding alone, I know that's not an easy task. Since you're sticking to a pretty tight budget here, I completely understand how you'd feel taken aback by this woman's request. Like you, I'd think having a nanny there to help care for her child would be more than enough, so something tells me there's more to her wanting her parents there. The etiquette for inviting quests is all very circumstantial, but at the end of the day, it's your wedding, not hers, so the choice is ultimately up to you and your fiancé.

Of course, starting off your marriage on the right foot is important, as is not burning any bridges, but it's even more important to not go into debt all because of one night — remember, it's about the marriage, not the wedding. So with that said, I'd talk it over with your fiancé, tell him how you feel and if you both see eye to eye, I advise you to say no to her. Now if your fiancé feels that it's important to have them there, unfortunately you're going to have to extend the invite — while this is your special day, it's his, too. I think we can agree that this was a pretty presumptuous request, but you should not, by any means, feel badly for saying no if that's the decision you make. I hope I was of some help, and good luck.

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lizadilly lizadilly 9 years
Yech. I'm a single girl, and the more I read about weddings the more I think "NO THANK YOU!" With two parents and a nanny, I think there are enough adults there that one of them can stay sober and take care of a kid. If she can't take care of her own kid than she either shouldn't bring the kid or she shouldn't come. If she can't accept that, put it to her this way: "I simply do not have the money to pay for your childcare. If you would like to donate the $X per head cost for your parents, THEN they can come." When she sees how much money you're really talking about, she may back down and realize what a twat she's being.
vanprooyen vanprooyen 9 years
We're having a "children's table" at our wedding in July that will be supervised by hired childcare professionals, who are only $75 an hour. I don't want kids running around the dining area like screaming during the toasts. Maybe that's something you could consider? $75 an hour might be cheaper than inviting the grandparents. It would be at my wedding anyways, where each additional guests costs mucho dinero!!!
jillerin457 jillerin457 9 years
I'm so relieved to see everyone in agreement on this one! If you're paying for YOUR wedding, some random kid and her random grandparents shouldn't have a say. And like the others said, why does a kid need to be at a wedding in the first place?
girlfriday girlfriday 9 years
oh and also - I'm totally eloping too.
girlfriday girlfriday 9 years
Damn that girl is BALLSY! Why can't the nanny stay with the kid AT HOME? Firstly, this is totally not your battle. Your fiance needs to talk to HIS brother. I hate how you already read in Dear Abby or whatever, how women have these problems with their mothers-in-law and I'm thinking "where is their husband in this?!?" Seriously. This is between him and his brother. And if your fiance's brother isn't man enough then your brother can address his sister in law. My belief that that we have to fight our own battles where our family is concerned. I would NEVER allow my (future) fiance to have to stand up to my bitchy sister in law. She's my problem.
Hannah426 Hannah426 9 years
I would absolutely say no. Like the letter said, it's not just about that one night, it's about the marriage as a whole. I know that inviting two more people isnt gonna cost that much more but still. You have to think about your future financial situation. Do you want to jump off your marriage being in some awful debt?
Lindsiita Lindsiita 9 years
graylen graylen 9 years
Umm, if she HAS A NANNY, why is she bringing the kid to the wedding in the first place????
0danielle0 0danielle0 9 years
Wow, she has a lot of nerve! Who brings a nanny to a wedding?! Tell her no.
PJ-PJ-PJ PJ-PJ-PJ 9 years
Wow, she sounds like she lives in her own little world & has no idea of what budget constraints are. It's your day. Stand your ground. Better yet, have your husband deal with it, since it's his family.
Bearwoman Bearwoman 9 years
Listen to Flowerelf person here. If you back down now, you might be opening a door for this woman to walk all over you in the future. Best of luck and congratulations, I hope your wedding goes well.
avettafawna avettafawna 9 years
Why is it always the women who have to deal with these problems? Talk about it with your fiance, and if he also doesn't want them there then confront his sister-in-law and/or brother together. I know that you don't want to cause family trouble before you even get married, but the reality is that you're not the one causing trouble, she is, and if she is so bossy as to invite other people to YOUR wedding, then she is probably a troublemaker that will continue to cause trouble even after she gets her way. It is not your responsibility to accomidate such a vile breach of etiquette on her part. For the record, I really feel for you. She sounds like a horrid nightmare and I would hate to have to spend the rest of my life dealing with her.
miriah15 miriah15 9 years
just say no!
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
It's your wedding. If you don't want her parents there and can't afford for them to be there than you have to say no. She's already got a nanny. If that isn't enough maybe she shouldn't come either.
stayplus stayplus 9 years
Look, you already have enough on your plate without this clown causing you unnecessary trouble. Who cares if you burn your bridges. You said that both of you have big extended families so you might not even see her at future family gatherings. Plus, this woman sounds like the type who thinks they have a god-given right to demand favours from anyone. So it's better to not be friends with her anyway.
ninjastarlett ninjastarlett 9 years
I've seen listings on craigslist and such looking for a sitter or two to watch several kids during the wedding. Maybe that's something you could consider?
lizzylu49 lizzylu49 9 years
Some people get so worked up about what to do with their kids when attending a wedding. Hire a sitter. It's one night. If you can't do that, then stay at home with them. If you're feeling generous, you could also offer to hire a sitter for people bringing their kids, but this is by no means required.
vmruby vmruby 9 years
Wow she has big ones......and the nanny is already invited!Sounds like she been overly indulged by someone and needs to be told that the universe doesn't revolve around her or her demands.Yeah, i agree with the others who said to tell her to leave the child at home with her parents.Talk to your fiance. It's his brother he should have stepped in already and put a stop to this ridiculous BS.You both need to stand your ground because there's a budget you have to stick to and she needs to understand that regardless.What part of she doesn't get to tell you who to invite to your wedding doesn't she get. If she refuses to accept it, then put her in her place and promptly uninvite her spoiled arse. I feel sorry for your future brother in law.If she carries on like this normally then his life must be a living hell....
Lele777 Lele777 9 years
I too paid for 80% of my own wedding and invited who I could afford. THat was our day!!! Nobody esles day to tell us how to do it!! We had a modest reception and all children left after they ate and saw the presents opened and sharing of cake including my six year old son!!! Then we had our friends spin records and danced the night away. there was no open bar. Our friends and family bought their own drinks throughout the night because they knew we were pressed for funds!!!!! family and friends should be understanding that you are doing the best you can with what you have. Thank God I have great people in my life.
MarinerMandy MarinerMandy 9 years
I am so flabergasted by the demands that people put on guest lists for weddings. It is your wedding and you have the right to celebrate the beginning of a huge change in your life with the people you choose. My fiance and I are doing a quicky, backyard barbeque style wedding. Because of the short notice, many of my family members can't make it, yet my future mother in law is insisting that we invite her neighbors and my futer father in law's friends from work...all people neither me nor my fiance know all the while not contributing a dime to the cost. I think weddings bring out some of the worst sides of people and it's important to compromise but to also stand your ground. You are allowing her to bring her child and a nanny, I think that is compromise enough.
Liss1 Liss1 9 years
I would tell her to leave the kid at home. But you should talk to your fiance about it and see how he feels.
7kimba7 7kimba7 9 years
The nanny is already coming? I would tell her to choose one- her parents or the nanny. And if she is bringing people to take care of the child, why are they attending the reception? usually when people bring "extras" to take care of kids, they watch them at the hotel while the parents party or something. I would probably tell her I would love to meet her parents and have them over for dinner or something, but unfortunately, you don't have it in your budget to invite additional people. If they would like to spend time with their grandchild and see the ceremony, they are welcome to attend the ceremony but not the reception.
cubadog cubadog 9 years
This is why I am going to have a destination wedding or elope. I do not want the drama. While family is forever that is no reason to invite people you do not know. I also agree with the kids free concept, I have never really understood why people insist that children need to be a part of it anyway.
linb linb 9 years
Uninvite the brother's wife. Problem solved. No babysitters needed - she can stay home and watch them herself.
Berlin Berlin 9 years
speak with her one-on-one, face-to-face...she'll be a lot less likely to be so pushy when she has to look at you, and stress that it is impossible to do because of budget restraints. may be marrying into the family, but it is your and your new husband that must deal with the debt afterwards, and you don't want to be starting off with THAT either! If you need to, express the concerns to your new mother in law for help. More than likely her parent's don't know that you are paying for it yourself and are having to stretch the list out, so it's probably just her being selfish. Does she know that you're having to cut people? You can't just assume that she does, a lot of people don't take budget constraints seriously until you let them know (like a child) that you are having to cut those that are close to you, so those that aren't certainly aren't going to be able to come. She'll tough it up, and if not, hell, it's YOUR day! She'll have hers. But again, I'd talk to her face-to-face, just you 2, and see if that helps any.
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