YOU ASK! WE ANSWER! YOU DECIDE!
By Callie Gordon, Lillie-Beth Brinkman, Helen Ford Wallace
QUESTION: I am facing an issue currently with my daughter’s wedding.
We sent out formal invitations with the specific names of people invited on the inside envelope. We also included a response card and a place for the number attending. However, several of the groom’s guests are responding with MORE than were actually invited. Do people not understand if the invitation says John and Jane Doe that is exactly who is invited and not the three other people in their family? We are tight on our venue for seating as well as the cost per person to host these other people. When told of this trend, the groom’s mother indicated she might not have done a good job on her list!
If this continues, I have thought I might send those guests a note just saying, "We are sorry for any confusion, but the guest list given to us only included _#_ of guests for their family and since we are very tight on seating at our venue, we will need to ask that they stay with the exact number of guests that were listed on the invitation."
I was hoping we might get back several no responses to accommodate the extra guests, but so far that has not happened. I don’t want to be rude, but people should know etiquette on wedding invitations!
CALLIE'S ANSWER: People should understand that the individual or individuals on the invitation is who is invited to the event. I would chalk this up to the fact that people don't know the etiquette. Ask the groom's mother to call those individuals who were on her list to let them know. "I am so sorry for any confusion, but the venue has a limit as to how many can attend and only BLANK and BLANK were invited." People should understand; if they don't - yuk.
LILLIE-BETH'S ANSWER: Not everyone knows this etiquette, and it's a common problem for wedding hosts, so this is a good topic for this column. So chalk up the rudeness to ignorance (because it's much nicer and takes less mental energy to think the best of people instead of believing initially that they are imposing extra people out of selfishness, even if it's true). And then don't feel bad about calling them or having the groom's mother call them to tell them gently and apologetically that you are sorry, but that you only have room for the number of guests who were included on the invitation. (Note: Spouses should always be included on wedding invitations, and generally fiances and longtime partners, too.) Then enjoy your wedding and try not to let others' imposition dampen your enthusiasm for the happy event or your graciousness as a host.