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How Do I Word My Wedding Invitations to Avoid Uninvited Guests?

Dec 11, 2007
Weddings require complicated planning on the level that makes D-Day look like a weekend camping trip. It all works as long as everyone follows the plan. Sadly, some people don't. One common situation is the problem of uninvited guests.

The Traditional Solution

The customary way of handling the situation is through careful addressing of wedding invitations. If a person receives a wedding invitation addressed to "Mr. and Mrs. John Doe III" it is understood that little John Doe IV is not invited.

Guests sometimes miss this subtlety and will RSVP for all three. This means the guest is either clueless or thoughtless.

Clueless is okay. Sometimes we all miss the point and a simple telephone call can correct the situation amicably.

Thoughtless is a little harder. Some people feel entitled and just assume that they can bring a child, friend, or random vagrant to the reception. Be firm and explain that there are only so many seats available and that extra guests cannot be accommodated.

Other Ways of Dealing With The Problem

There is some debate about the etiquette of other solutions. Weddings are extremely formal and emotionally-charged events and seemingly trivial missteps can seem tasteless or even lead to long-term resentment.

Rather than depending on wedding invitations, some reinforce the message by explicitly listing the guests' names on the RSVP card. The downside is that this is more work on the bride's side and some people will still blithely add names to what's on the card.

Some invitations have the line, "We have reserved ___ seats in your honor" to hammer the point home. There are wedding planners who feel such a bold statement is tacky, while others consider it completely reasonable.

The correct etiquette changes from region to region, so talk to your friends about what they have done at their weddings. You could also ask the wedding planner or the printer what the latest fashion in wedding invitations is.

Handle It But Don't Obsess About It

If someone RSVPs with extra guests, call and explain. Most people will realize their error and correct the situation. Sometime people have genuine conflicts, such as being unable to get a babysitter on the day. Don't make it your problem. Your wedding is the one day that you can confidently say, "It's all about me!" Make it clear that there is only room for the reserved number of guests and let them figure out the details.

You want your wedding day to be the perfect fantasy. You can get very close to that ideal, but problems will always crop up. It's up to you to treat trivial problems as trivial. If someone shows up with an extra guest, that's not exactly on the same level as the reception hall burning down. Shrug it off, move on, and enjoy your special day.
About the Author
Author is a freelance copywriter. For more information on
Wedding Invitations, visit
http://www.beeyondpaper.com/
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