Post # 1
Let me begin by saying this: When my Fiance created our guest list, we tried very hard to incorporate everyone who we wanted, our parents wanted, family, distant family, etc. Our final list came out to about…250. Which is huge, I know.
Part one: The church where we plan on having our ceremony (it’s the church Fiance and I both attend.) can seat about 250 if it’s completely packed. Thus the problem. I recently found out that since our church has a “open to the public” policy when it comes to it’s members, (which basically means that if you attend the church, you can come whenever you want to/need to) and that this policy also applies to weddings.
Part two: My Maid/Matron of Honor and I know this family that attend our church with us and we…don’t like them. The mother is rude to anyone she feels like and gets offended if you do not act like her best friend. They’re also pretty snobbish, and NEED to be in on every bit of information, gossip, new news, etc.( TOTALLY christian, right? -sarcasm-) The family is NOT (I repeat, NOT) invited to either our ceremony or our reception.
Part three: My Maid/Matron of Honor and I were talking and apparently, this whole family (5+ people) plan on attending my ceremony. They’ve done this to other weddings, and they don’t bring a gift or even a card but attend the wedding so people think they are “connected” to whatever is going on. I’ve seen them do this recently at a friend’s wedding in the same congregation, and they showed up late like…. 15 minutes into the ceremony and then walked up and sat in the RESERVED FOR FAMILY section. (They were not, in any way, related to the bride or groom, that I know for a fact!) That to me is SO rude on so many levels. And now I have to worry about them and who else knows coming to my ceremony, taking seats that my guests (or god forbid, my FAMILY) should be sitting in.
Any tips on how to handle this? I’m moving to brighton (which is like, an hour away from where I live now in travel time) So I’m not afraid to piss people off and flat out tell them “Do not come to my wedding, you are not invited.” I just don’t believe that rudeness should be dealt with by being rude.
Post # 3
I would ask a good male friend to stand at the back of the church & instruct them that they can stand in the back if they wish, but seats are for invited guests only.
Post # 4
@Ms.VW: Agreed. I wouldn’t care who attended the ceremony, as long as they didn’t take seats reserved for my invited guests.
Post # 6
Hire bouncers. Bouncers with tasers. “Take one step closer, ma’am, and BZZZZZZZT“
Post # 7
so weird… and kinda sad. I would just ignore it unless they were being disruptive
Post # 8
You might not like what I’ll say… But you’re judging her for her “non-Christian” attitudes, then saying you don’t like her family! A family who are, from what you’ve said, yourbrethren in Christ and who it seems don’t have many friends. They might not get invited to many events, and feel like they are doing something nice by being there on your special day. You don’t know their motives so I wouldn’t be too harsh on them.
From someone who’s had a similar experience, id say it’s best to let it go. You can’t forbid people from coming to th church, but you can let it not upset you…
Post # 9
@Ms.VW: I’m going to chime in and agree with this also. Especially since you are close to max capacity seating, I’d make sure that anyone without an invite didn’t get a seat and if they wanted to stand and watch then fine whatever. Are you allowed to just not let anyone in that arrives after the ceremony has started?
Post # 10
@Ms.VW: I agree, have them act politely but to tell anyone who enters that is not an invited guest that there is a section reserved for them in the back
Post # 11
Hello date twin! I don’t think you can really stop people from coming or tell them they can’t since the church is open to the public. However, you could have ushers to escort people and then they can make sure that this family is out of the way and not sitting in the reserved seats.
Post # 12
Yes to what the PP said. Have an Usher to escort them to the last row.
And I know it’s upsetting, and easy to say, but don’t let it bother you. You’ll be so excited to get married, all of the festivities, and seeing your family and frends that you probably won’t even notice them.
If they show up to your reception…that’s a whole other story—you should have them physically removed!
Post # 13
Can you do a sort of ‘guest list’ for the ushers? And if they’re not on the list, they’re instructed to stand at the back?
You can point out to the ushers who they are and tell them to look out for them taking seats – but I wouldn’t tell them they’re NOT ALLOWED to be invited, even if that’s what you want.
And I agree to find some sort of way of now allowing people in once the ceremony has begun… that’s really rude.
Post # 14
Honestly I’d just let it go. During our ceremony we had a group of tourists walk into the back and stand and take pictures (very odd but whatever). I didn’t even notice until after the ceremony ended and my mom told me. In the grand scheme of things it didn’t matter, just like it won’t really matter if these people show up to the ceremony. I wouldn’t pick this one to battle.
Post # 15
Hate to say it, but it’s kind of the church’s call on this, not yours. Some churches feel everyone should be welcome in “God’s house” and I know that specifically a lot of Catholic churches feel that everyone should be able to attend Mass–Mass is the ceremony; the wedding is incidental. Sometimes congregation members feel really entitled to “their church” so that’s why you have them sitting in the family sections and shenanigans like that (which is seriously rude!)
So, since In My Humble Opinion, you can’t tell the church’s members to stay away, etiher beforehand or even at the ceremony, here are my suggestions:
-Create a “critical mass” by either telling the church that the ceremony is at 5 while you write 4:30 on the invite–that way, your posse will be there earlier and fill up the seats. People can then “save places” for others (which is kinda nasty in that middle-school way, but oh well). You can sweeten the deal by providing small refreshments or putting something extra in your programs (like a crossword puzzle or family anecdotes/albums or love mad-libs) to keep people entertained.
-Definitely at least put ushers (preferably people who know who you know vs. random people) by pews that are for family members. If people have a problem wtih this, give them the line, “Oh, I’m sorry–we have some elderly and disabled guests coming and we need to keep some seats available for them. Thank you for understanding.) No one’s gonna fight that.
-You can have ushers ask “bride or groom” in the back and if people admit (some people won’t), then you can tell them that non-wedding people are permitted to stand in the back.
One other thing–if your church can only accommodate 250 and that’s your guest list, you might call your priest/deacon/pastor whatever and subtly ask about fire code. They might be mroe inclined to help you.
Post # 16
I like Ms.VW’s suggestions, but if your church has an open-door policy such that any parishioner has the right to attend weddings, I can’t think it would go over well – with the family or with your church – to try and stop them from sitting down. The last thing you need is a scene at your ceremony, especially if they arrive late. Would it be possible for you to give your ushers or coordinator a good description or show them a picture of the family, and have the family directed to a spot near the back when they arrive?
Reminds me of the opening scene of Wedding Planner, where JLo’s assistant has to move a woman (“we have a dark tower choking the A/V”) – they told her she was on the preferred seating list and moved her far away.
ETA: Clearly I had this window open too long since other PPs have made similar suggestions!!