Bride’s parents paying for wedding and controlling the guest list

The bride and groom are to be married in Alabama in their college town. The groom is also from Alabama with a huge family there. The bride’s parents are from the northeast and have a small family. The bride’s parents are paying for wedding and have split invitations as follows: bride’s parents 80, bride and groom 80 and groom’s parents 50. 50 won’t even cover the immediate family, much less others such as coaches (the groom was outstanding athlete), pastors, friends of family. Is this a proper distribution of invitations? Both mothers had a recent meeting but bride’s mother refused to give groom’s parents any more invitations. The groom doesn’t want to get involved. Would it be ok for the groom’s parents to offer to pay for the extra guests they need to invite? Please help with some advice.

Rebecca Black, Etiquette By Rebecca

Dear Vicksburggarden,

Traditions change slowly sometimes. In the past, parents invited their friends to their children’s weddings as if these were social events for them. This is somewhat fair due to the fact that they paid for the wedding. This should not be the case today. Parents are no longer financially responsible for their children’s weddings anymore, which also means that they do not invite or plan. The couple invites, plans and are the only ones responsible for their wedding. However, since the bride’s parents are footing the entire bill, it would only seem fair that they receive part of the guest list. It also means that you were fortunate to receive 50 seats.

The couple does have some say in this, as they are “supposed to be” the ones inviting. But since it appears that they accepted the funds with strings attached, the list is as it is and no one should pressure anyone into changing it. That wouldn’t be fair, especially since you two have already discussed the issue. However, you could ask if it is possible to pay for extra guests. In fact, you could offer to help host(pay). Please don’t press the issue though. The parents were very generous to offer to pay for the entire wedding and it appears as if the couple agreed to the conditions.

Best wishes,


thanks for the advice. i guess the invitation list is what it is and will have to be respected. i would say though that here in the deep south the tradition of the bride’s parents paying for the wedding is very much alive. its just “not done” any other way. wouldnt look right for the parents to leave their daughter to fend for herself.

Donna, Wedding Queen, President; Top Wedding Sites

With the economy the way it is now, and couples living together before marriage and/or getting married later in life, all of this responsibility on the parent’s is changing. The parent’s have really already left their daughters to fend for themselves in most cases since they are usually living on their own by the time they decide to marry. And, in some cases the couple is better off financially than the parents. So, it makes sense that the couple pays or they get help from the parents in whatever way the parents can afford. We’re hearing this more and more, even from the ladies down south.