There’s always a sticky situation or two that rears its ugly head when planning a wedding. Before you agonize about what to do when Great Uncle Joe shows up with his new hot toddy in tow (who wasn’t invited), consider your options.
I’ve always been a huge proponent of following proper etiquette, especially when it comes to the guest list, and there’s a reason for my obsession: Etiquette provides you with answers to those messy mishaps that you don’t want to deal with as you near the happiest day of your life. Someone else (namely Ms. Emily Post) has an answer already crafted so you don’t have to fret.
Now, don’t get me wrong, you can and should do what makes you most comfortable, but if you find yourself stumbling over a situation, read on. Below is a list of the top five questions I get from readers about what to do in these sticky situations.
1. What do I do when someone RSVPS with more guests than were invited?
Call the individual in question and apologize for the confusion before explaining that due to certain constraints (space, budget, etc.) the initiation was only intended for them. If someone shows up to the wedding with a straggler in tow, do what you can to find an extra seat—it’s best to avoid drama on the actual day—but be sure to have a candid conversation after the fact.
2. How do I handle guests who plan to bring kids, even though kids are not included?
Be firm on this one. Call the guests in question directly, apologize for the confusion, and kindly explain that the invite was intended for just the adults. If it’s an out-of-town guest and they plan to bring their children on the trip, offer to provide some child care recommendations, but do not bend on your plan. It’s not fair to other guests with children who do make other arrangements.
3. Do I need to invite all of my coworkers?
You do not have to invite all of your coworkers, but try to pick a logical place to draw the line—only managers or only those on your team. Whatever you decide, just keep it consistent and be respectful of those you decide to forgo inviting and try to limit talk of the wedding around them.
4. How do I decide who gets a plus one?
You should extend a plus one to anyone who is in a committed relationship, whether they are married, with a live-in partner, a fiancé, etc., even if you’ve never met the significant other in question. Single friends do not require a plus one, though it’s a nice gesture—just be consistent. My personal rule of thumb is anyone beyond college should get a plus one.
5. How do I get guests to RSVP?
If you sent an enclosure RSVP card, start gathering your numbers about a week before the cards are due. One of my biggest pet peeves is when people reach out before the RSVP deadline, so be patient. But be ready to divy up your list of nonresponders once that deadline hits. We made four lists: one for me, one for my husband, and one for each sets of parents. Phone calls are the most efficient way to get your answers in a timely fashion, but a kindly worded e-mail is always an option. Just be sure to frame the question cautiously—you don't want to embrass your guests who didn't respond. Simply state that you're calling to confirm that they received the invite and if they did, inquire about their plans. Easy enough, right?