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Why I don’t regret excluding Extended Family from my Wedding

Posted on October 13 2017

One woman recounts her controversial decision to exclude extended family from her wedding (and we give her mad respect).



CAPTIONS: Immediate family and close friends only

The thought of impending nuptials sends most people into micro-planning mode, with the guest list hanging over some like a small dark cloud. The thought of inviting your overly critical aunt or semi-acquaintance second cousins seems daunting (and costly) but they’ve already commented how excited they are about the wedding on all your social media posts announcing your love by way of your ring photo. While it might not be easy to limit guest count to your ideal list, many brave women have taken that route.

Take Vivian Wu, a San Francisco-based product designer, who looked ahead toward her big day knowing that her close family flying in from Taiwan would not match the numbers of her fiance’s large extended family that lived near by.

“I didn’t think of weddings as a big party growing up. And I definitely wasn’t one of those girls that overthought the whole thing. I knew my family would be the five of us, my close knit family unit flying in to meet my fiance for the first time. My husband is Irish with a bunch of family in driving distance. It felt off balance,” said Wu.

Knowing that something intimate where their immediate families could bond for the first time (they hadn’t met the previous five years they were together), and their close friends could enjoy themselves, the couple decided that a three-day weekend celebration on a Northern California estate would create the environment for something more special.

“We totaled at 54 guests. Everyone there was included in every aspect. It was us saying thank you to all the people that had gotten us to where we are today. We thought about eloping, but it didn’t really fit.”

And that’s exactly what they got. More in the style of an extended big dinner party, they ate together, spent afternoons hiking and took the time to relax. But it wasn’t all kumbaya vibes. Telling those discluded is never easy.

“When you say immediately family and a few close friends you realize “close friend” is subjective. And because the size of the wedding was held to venue capacity I would have even liked five or ten more people there. What made it easier is that we were super upfront about the fact that we were only inviting select people. No passive aggressiveness is key.”

We asked Vivian to give us advice for those looking to minimize head count (and cost) in a way that yields such peacekeeping results.

“There is an expectation around big life events that serves as a reunion for family. That was a main concern from our relatives, but we feel like it might have detracted from the main purpose of celebrating the people that are important to us. We also knew that having less people would allow us to not have the banquet-style ceremony that lasted one night and felt too short. Remember that your budget is your budget, big or small. How you spend the dollars is up to you."



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