(Closed) +1 nightmare!

posted 7 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
514 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2011

Ok, breathe, it’s going to be ok!

You haven’t sent out invites yet, right?  So don’t panic yet 🙂

Whether or not people listed plus ones on the guest list can be fixed by just deleting the plus one (or “and guest”.  Is your FI’s sister single or has she not been involved in weddings much?  I’ve found that people who aren’t accustomed to wedding planning assume that everyone should be able to bring a guest to a wedding.  I’ve been guilty of this myself!  So maybe she just assumed that you would let family members bring guests?

The rule is you really do have invite spouses, fiances, and live-in partners.  This annoyed me before, but now that I have had a wedding I’ve realized its more about keeping the wedding to people you know or are at least the significant others of people you know (and give you a chance to meet their SO if you hadn’t), then about oppressing single people.  

That being said, if you really want to keep the wedding small and don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings (which, btw, is pretty much impossible with a wedding, but it can be minimized), then stick to the rule.  Thirty-five people does not allow much wiggle room!  

Just be honest!  Say that you would wish you had room for them to bring a guest that’s not a SO, but you just don’t have the space.  Smooth things over by saying how much you hope to have them (and a guest 🙂 over for dinner or a visit sometime.   

Post # 4
1843 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

You need to communicate to both of your families so they understand where you’re coming from.  I would probably have your fiance communicate with his family as that may be better perceived.  If you’re paying for the wedding yourself, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to tell guests (especially family) that there are no +1s.  I do agree with ginnyc – all spouses and fiances should be invited.

Post # 6
955 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

This issue is always a tricky one. People might get offended and there’s nothing you can do about it. 35 is a tiny wedding so stick to your guns – it’s your wedding. 🙂

Post # 7
9029 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

Just repeat over and over that you are only inviting X amount of people. If anyone asks for a +1 just politely repeat we can only have X amount and we have already reached that number.  People act dense when it comes to guests lists, its very frustrating but dont back down.

Post # 8
1696 posts
Bumble bee

Yes, as Ginnie says, don’t panic — it’s going to be ok!

Etiquette is your dear friend on this problem! Because, etiquette says you should not invite anyone you don’t know, nor anyone whose name you don’t know. You really do need to invite spouses (etiquette, being coy, assumes that people who are sleeping in the same bed are “secretly married”) and fiances. That means you need to find out their names and (ideally) get someone to introduce you ahead of time or at least in a letter. And for those rare fiances who are not living together, you need to send each party his invitations to his own address.

This works in your favour with your sister-in-law. You thank her for the list (of course) and add the actual close relatives to your guest list. Then  for the ones that say “and guest” you call her up and ask who the guest is. After all, *you* wouldn’t want to be called “and guest” when you have a perfectly good name, would you? You wouldn’t want to be included in an event just as someone else’s accessory, to dangle prettily on his arm knowing that it was he that your hostess wanted and not you, would you? Chances are good that Sis doesn’t know the names of the guests (and can’t find out) so you just send the invitations off to the close relatives whose names she does know. If she suggests you “just include ‘and guest'”, you blush prettily and say “no, no, I couldn’t do that to his guest; how rude it would be to call her that.” In my experience, expressing gently-bred sentiments confuses people enough that they don’t know how to argue with you. Remember, just because *they* don’t understand where you are coming from does NOT oblige you to change, or even to explain. Why would you give up the strategic advantage of having a confused opponent?

For the few people that she does have names for — and addresses — you ask her how they are related. Because, of course, you aren’t inviting anyone who is more distant than the uncles and aunties you have already cut. So she needs to explain the relationship to you so you understand that they are, in fact, closer than your auntie. If she succeeds, I imagine that you will be all to happy to invite the person. In the meantime, you get to smile and be gracious and helpful — while she spins her wheels trying to do the impossible.

Yes, I am a passive-aggressive old biddy. But why is passive aggressive wrong when dealing with people who are insensitive, bossy, and aggressive?

Post # 9
106 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

I definitely agree with the above posters. Don’t worry! First, you and your FH get to decide on the size of the wedding and the guest list – not his sister! (Unless she’s paying for the wedding, which it sounds like she isn’t).

So, politely thank her for helping you out iwth the list of names and addresses – that is a non-trivial piece of help! Then say that because of the size of the wedding, the only +1s allowed on either side (stress that this is totally equal for both your family and FH’s) are spouses/fiances/live-in partners. You can also add, that since it’s a small wedding, no one will be left out or feel the need for a companion – they should mostly already know each other! If her guest list is too long, then just ask your FH to cut out however many names he needs to in order to have your total guest list counts right.

Then emphasize to everyone involved that there will be NO EXCEPTIONS (on either side of the family) – unless someone gets engaged and/or married between now and your wedding, in which case you’ll happily accomodate the addition.

If you’re fair and even, no one will complain – just don’t make ANY exceptions.

We did this, and while a few people asked to bring dates, they certainly understood why we said no when they showed up to our 40-person wedding! Good luck and don’t worry!

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