Post # 1
Getting married next year. Things are coming together well, but one thing I am genuinely worried about is people is bringing uninvited guests. I’m aiming for an intimate (90-100) person guest list for a number of reasons. I want to spend a bit of quality time with out of town friends vs barely having enough time to shake hands with each person, the venue only comfortably seats 100, I’m only close to a small number of people, I want to be generous with a limited budget, and I can’t afford an open bar/large helpings of food for more than 100ish… etc. etc. The point is, I’m not trying to be stingy or exclusive; I’m trying to be practical and ensure close family and friends have a good time. In talking to my sibling who was married a few years back, some of the uncles and aunts never RSVP’d and then showed up with their adult children as well. In reading other etiquette boards/similar forum posts, the overwhelming response is “be the bigger person and offer them a seat.” Seriously? Should I follow up RSVPs with a proactive “I’m so glad to hear you and Uncle Bob can make it; I’m very sorry I couldn’t extend the invitation to my cousins, but we’re working with a small venue. Anyway, again, so looking forward to seeing you!” type thing? I really want to prevent having to turn people away at the door or going way over budget. Any advice is appreciated. <3
Edit: FYI I am talking about family I have no connection to. I understand if it’s important to my parents to invite their siblings and their spouses, but all of their kids is way too much. I don’t know them. We’re not facebook friends. I might not recognize some on the street and haven’t seen the majority of them since childhood Thanksgivings etc.
Post # 2
It is not at all uncommon to have to follow up, both with non- responders and with those who add in extra guests, much as you decribed.
“We are so happy that you and Uncle John are able to attend the wedding. There must have been a misunderstanding The invitation was for the two of you. We are unable to accomodate the children. If this means you will be unable to attend, we will miss you at the wedding.”
Post # 3
Yea, I think it’s on you to proactively nip this in the bud. When you don’t have a response, follow up on it. If they make it sound like more people are coming, repeat who is invited.
If you do all that and they still bring extra people then I think you can turn them away – but that’s only because they received really clear messages about who was invited and decided to go against it. If you just send the invitation and never attempt to contact them and they show up with extra people in tow I think you’re in a much weaker position to tell them to leave without it coming across as really rude.
Post # 4
I had the same concerns, including people bringing young children. We made it very clear on both the STD and invitations who were invited. We addressed both to Mr. and Mrs. or John Smith & Guest and then on the RSVP provided a line that read, “__ seat/s have been reserved in your honor”
We had ZERO people try and add extra people. At this point, my wedding is this Saturday and if someone is rude enough to bring an extra person, they will be in for a rude awakening when they find out their univited guest won’t have a seat or a meal!
Post # 5
I would ask a family member (like your mother or father – whoever’s side the people you’re worried about are on) to stay on top of your suspects leading up to the wedding. For example, my husband has a cousin who is notorious for bringing her many young children places where they are not invited, so my Mother-In-Law made sure to somehow bring up that our wedding was adult-only every time they talked about the wedding. Kind of like you said – lament how the small venue limits your guest list and find ways to casually weave it in lol. We’ve all got those family members who manage to be dense beyond belief sometimes, so you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do.
Post # 6
The biggest help I’ve found got this is to mark the number of seats you are reserving with each rsvp. We are doing something along the lines of…
# of guests: ___ of ___ (we fill in the second line)
___ Dinner #1
___ Dinner #2
___ Dinner #3
Allergies or restrictions:________
Please respond by Xx ##, 2017
This way they get the idea, oh, we only have 2 seats, guess that means just us. And the fact that we need a head count for each dinner option will hopefully help with getting all RSVP cards back. Then it can make it easier to approach them if they put down extra meals. “I noticed you put down 4 meals, but I have two seats reserved for you.”