Last week, I fielded a query from parents of the bride who are footing the bill for a 250-person wedding. The groom's parents are divorced and both have remarried, which creates three nuclear families. "How should we divide the guest list?" they wonder. "Since we are paying all the expenses, can we decide not to split the numbers equally?"
I've heard people say that the guest list should be divided "1/3 to the bride's family, 1/3 to the groom's family, and 1/3 to the couple." If you throw in the fact that the groom may have two families, does that mean his parents have to split their 1/3?
Here's my radical suggestion: Don't split the guest list. At all. Every guest should be a guest of the couple, not of their parents.
Cousins on the bride's side? Obviously the couple would invite them, no? Old friends of the groom's dad? Surely they'd be important to the groom -- and therefore important to his bride. If the groom is close to his step-siblings and step-cousins now, presumably his wife will be close to them in the future -- and so they should be invited. However, the FOG's clients or folks the couple has never met? Off the list.
Hopefully, the couple will be cautious and considerate about bumping people important to their parents in favor of fleeting friends (or distant family that they haven't seen in years). But when it comes right down to it, who is this party for, anyway?
How are YOU dividing the guest list? Did you struggle with inviting a step-parents' extended family?