How to Handle Uninvited Plus Ones
What to do when your invitees bring their own guests
By Cynthia Myers
Unwanted wedding guests may be amusing in the movies, but the reality of uninvited tag-alongs is anything but funny. From the minor inconveniences of not having enough food at the reception to major catastrophes such as family feuds, uninvited guests cause problems. Plan now to head off potential disaster and avoid letting uninvited guests put a damper on your special day.
- What You Need to Know
- Your "plus one" policy will significantly impact your numbers, so consider the additional space and cost requirements before designing and sending your invitations.
- It's important to draw clear rules for which significant others and family members will be invited to your wedding and which will not.
- However unpopular your "plus one" policy may be, it's important to make your guests aware of it and stick to it.
Word the invitation properly to avoid confusion. The wedding invitation should list the names of each person in the household who is invited to attend the ceremony and reception. If you have decided to allow "plus ones," then make that clear on the response card with a blank line for a guest's name. If you do not provide a space on the response card for an additional name, your invitee should assume that they are not invited to bring an additional guest.
Study the guest list for potential problems. Does your cousin Lydia always show up with an uninvited guest? Does your fiance's college roommate go everywhere with his children in tow? Enlist an intermediary such as a friend or family member to speak personally with these people and let Lydia know that her date of the moment is not invited, and that the former roommate should leave his children at home.
Avoid being caught off guard by guests who may request they be allowed to bring extra people to the wedding. Write a response to these requests and post it by the phone. Some examples: "I'm so sorry I can't accommodate little Agatha at our wedding. This is for adults only." Or "I'm really sorry you can't bring a guest, but the reception hall will accommodate only a limited number of people." Or "We could invite only our family and closest friends, and we can't make any exceptions. I'm sure you understand." Practice repeating these or similar words in a pleasant tone of voice.
Enlist a trusted family member, friend or your wedding planner to run interference. Point out potential problem people, whether on the guest list or not, and ask her to be on the lookout. Decide how to handle various situations. Be prepared to find extra seating for the cousin's date. If you suspect someone may show up specifically to cause trouble, alert your go-to person or persons that they should escort this person from the premises immediately, or be prepared to call a security guard or even the police.
About the Author
Cynthia James is a regular contributor to DexKnows.
Browse By Top DexKnows Cities
- St Paul
Plain white cards may be okay for last-minute plans, but creative wedding place card ideas can incorporate your theme into an otherwise dull detail.... Read More
Let the guest list deliberations begin! Start by creating a must-have guest list with your groom. Then add family, friends and business associates as your budget allows. For small and destination weddings, go with family and a few close friends. Stay flexible!
View your wedding checklist!
A chart that shows how many people a venue can accommodate, often with several seating configuration options.View the Full Weddings Glossary