We love the New York Times wedding etiquette column. There is always someone having some kind of drama involving guests, or invites or strange wedding gifts. This week, a bride from Montclair, New Jersey, wrote in with an all-too-common problem: what to do when a guests gives themselves an un-sanctioned plus one:
I invited a handful of family members to my wedding, each without a guest. The invitation envelopes were clearly marked with only the name of the invitee, with no “and guest.” Two of these invitees sent me response cards that indicated that they would each be bringing an uninvited guest and stating their guests’ names. Space is an issue at the wedding, as there is a maximum capacity of 200 at the reception venue. My fiancé and I did not invite a few friends who we wanted to invite because of this space issue, and yet these guests are bringing dates. I am uncomfortable confronting them, and my instinct is to be gracious and say nothing. However, I also resent that they are taking advantage of me and did not ask me if they could bring a date. What should I do?
We're of the mind that you should always assume that the bride and groom's intentions are fairly clear on the invitation. Meaning: If they wanted you to have a plus one, they would have clearly stated so on the card. But some people take liberties. Some people assume that if they're a close relative or a friend, that they can get away with bringing a guest. And we all know what they say about those who assume...
What does Times wedding columnist Peggy Post have to say about guests who bring their own guests? You're completely entitled to let them know that they're in the wrong. But do it in a polite and constructive way. Just because they've breached etiquette protocol doesn't mean you have to, after all. Explain that due venue constraints, you're up against your maximum guest limit, and that's why guests weren't allotted plus ones, nothing personal. Give these offending guests enough time to make other arrangements, but be firm — there's no need to buckle. It's your day after all, not your guest and his new girlfriend's.
But be prepared for some backlash: As Post says, "You might find that these two invited relatives have actually been clueless; there’s the possibility that they don’t know it is inappropriate to add a guest to their invitation. Or, they might be just plain nervy. Either way, have a plan for dealing with a negative response."
What would you do in this situation? Share your thoughts in the comments! [New York Times]
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