When Guests Invite Guests…And More Guests….And More

by admin on May 30, 2012

Out of kindness, my husband and I invited his mother’s best friend to our wedding (even though neither of us know her that well). When I asked DH’s mom for her friend’s address, she gave me her name, plus her boyfriend’s name. Now, my husband and I have never met said boyfriend, so I asked DH’s mom if the two lived together. She said they did not, so as we have a limited guest list, I only addressed the invite to the friend and not her boyfriend. But she RSVP’d herself and her boyfriend. Is there any way to uninvite someone we don’t know? I have been having such a difficult time with invites because it seems almost everyone thinks they are allowed to bring a date and are RSVPing a date. Some are even in the search for a date. How do you prevent this and is there anything you can do about it? Nobody knows that you are not supposed to bring a guest unless the invite says “Mary Jane & Guest”? Ugh.   0523-12
You cannot uninvite someone you never invited in the first place.   Your legitimate guests are placing you in a very awkward situation where you must either increase your reception budget to accommodate the larger number of guests or you must begin making awkward phone calls to people informing them that they cannot bring their added guest.
Your only option at this time is to call your true and legitimate guests that are RSVPing with added guests and inform them that you cannot accommodate the guest(s) they have added.   Here is how you say it,
“Hi, Tackatina!  I received your wedding rsvp in the mail and I am so excited and happy you will be celebrating with us!  Unfortunately we cannot accommodate your request to bring your boyfriend/date/girlfriend as well since we are having a small, intimate wedding and the guest list is very limited. “
If you meet resistance, whining, or an outright threat to not attend your wedding if their added guest is not welcomed, simply say, “I am so sorry you feel that way.   I had hoped to see you at the wedding but perhaps sometime after the wedding we can get together for lunch.”     And have no fear or trepidation in standing your ground because every single  time I have seen guests  having the audacity to get offended when they cannot invite their own guests to a wedding, it is because they are the most self-centered people on the planet who have no real regard for anyone but themselves and frankly, you will be better off without them in your life.

{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

BeachMum May 30, 2012 at 9:11 am

We had two situations like this at our wedding.

One was DH’s good friend. DH called him and explained that we weren’t inviting plus-one’s. We promised him he’d be sitting with some of my single friends and it worked out for him so that he had a nice time.

The second situation was a cousin of MIL’s. I heard through MIL that she just wouldn’t come unless she could bring her children. I had never met her and DH had never met her kids, and hadn’t seen here in over ten years. I told MIL that we were saddened that she felt that way and would understand if she couldn’t attend. She didn’t. (I actually believe that MIL fabricated the entire thing, but that’s a whole other can of worms.)

We had one person call and ask if he could bring his fiancee, who can only recently become a financee. Of course, we said yes.

It was lovely to have no strangers at our wedding — as in not one person who we would never meet again in our lives.


jess May 30, 2012 at 9:47 am

My sister’s MIL did this, kept inviting people to my sister and her husbands wedding. People even called up asking to invite their daughter’s boyfriend so she had someone to talk to (and the daughter had not even been invited!!!) This happened with a few guests, not just the one. My sis and BIL had just bought a house and were paying for the wedding themselves and simply could not afford the extra guests so my sis had to make the awkward phone calls and deal with drama queens and kings. The thing was the people asking to bring extra guests did not approach my sis or BIL as the invite stated, but approached his mother who said ‘why yes of course the more the merrier!!!’ His family is Greek so the big wedding thing was expected.
It did not help that the reception venue decided to do renovations a month before the wedding without telling the people booked in for weddings so my sister had to cancel and find another venue within 3 weeks of the wedding or face having her reception in a half stripped room with tarps covering the windows to hide the building site outside (which had been a lovely garden when they booked it). One bride turned up to her reception a week before my sister’s wedding at that venue, had not been told a thing about the renovations and spent her reception in tears. They managed to get a smaller but nicer room at another venue but it cost more and could only JUST fit the invited guests so extra would have been a disaster!!


Gracie C. May 31, 2012 at 3:18 pm

Jess – that is horrible!


Hal May 30, 2012 at 10:02 am

Do not have a wedding out of the experience of your invited guests. Many very nice people have never been to a formal event of any kind. To expect them to behave by the rules of formal etiquette is unreasonable. It will embarrass them. It already has when you feel you must explain their “mistake” in trying to bring an uninvited guest to your formal wedding. You are making the biggest etiquette mistake possible. Have a wedding in the style which your family and friends understand without having to educate them. I am sure you do not want to be labeled a snob.


Carol May 30, 2012 at 11:50 am

What it seems like you are saying is all people should style their own event to accommodate their stupidest acquaintance. That makes zero sense.


MMP May 30, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Hal- Are suggesting that couples should try to have a wedding they can not afford because some people do not understand that you do not invite guests to an event if you are an invited guest yourself? If no one explains the rules of etiquette to those who do not understand, how are they supposed to learn?
If you are a frequent commentor/visitor to this site, surely you know that Admin often advises to have a wedding you can afford. If that means no plus 1’s, then guests should abide by that request. If they cannot , then they should decline to attend.
I don’t see how telling someone that you cannot accommodate their additonal guest is a faux pas.


admin May 30, 2012 at 1:30 pm

It’s not just weddings, Hal. These people are the same ones who will bring uninvited guests to every party you host with absolutely not a single thought as to how this affects the host and hostess. My own daughter’s wedding was on the more informal side, very small guest list and we still dealt with people asking us to add other guests none of us had ever met. In essence they wanted a reunion of *their* family courtesy of my hospitality.

Further, it takes a lot of hubris to usurp the host and hostess’s right to determine who their guests will be and how much hospitality they can afford to extend.

And lastly, every etiquette guru for the past 150 years has stood behind the necessary action of informing very presumptuous guests that they cannot bring along their intended extra guests. Being polite does not mean lets rude presumptuous and thoughtless people walk all over you.


ferretrick May 30, 2012 at 1:30 pm

So, OP’s friends and family are uneducated hicks who have never attended a formal event, and OP is a snob? What an interesting assumption.


Lady Macbeth May 30, 2012 at 11:23 pm

So, what you are saying is that we should alter our expectations and subsequently market to the lowest common denominator? Reduce our standards in order to minimize learning? What is wrong with a little education when done in the most appropriate and polite manner possible?

P.S. Carol, I love the phrase “accommodate their stupidest acquaintance.” Absolutely brilliant.


Margaret June 1, 2012 at 12:39 pm

I think the point that Hal is trying to make is that a wedding is different in several ways. Yes, it’s certainly more important — but it’s also the blending of two families. If one family comes from a culture where all are welcome and expected at weddings, and it’s the more family and friends the merrier, well of course, the OP is not being rude, at all, in restricting the guest list – — BUT she’s not likely to start off on the right foot with her future in-laws. To try to accommodate their expectations – which are not unreasonable, just different – would be a kindness and a better start to a marriage. Doesn’t mean you have to even consider letting someone bring last night’s cocktail waitress.


Library Diva June 1, 2012 at 11:15 pm

I don’t think your comment applies to this scenario, Hal. Yes, if the fanciest venue the bride and groom had ever been in was an Applebee’s Restaurant, now is not the time to book the most exclusive country club in town that has a strict guest code even for rentals, and now is not the time to confront your guests with an eight-course meal with more forks, plates, spoons, knives and unidentifiable utensils than the housewares department at Neiman Marcus.

But not bringing along uninvited guests is a basic, basic rule of behavior that cuts across all levels of formality, from a backyard barbecue, to a nonhosted gathering at a bar in someone’s honor, to a black-tie affair. You just. don’t. do. it. Ever. If you don’t want to attend without your spouse or children, you decline. If you have company in town that weekend, you send your regrets. Haven’t you ever planned an affair? Even if it’s just a backyard gathering, it screws things up royally when you buy enough food and beer for 10 people and 20 show up.

The cost of a wedding can be upwards of $80 per person. Guest lists usually don’t include everyone and their mother, literally, for precisely that reason. Also, at least in the US, every public place from churches to restaurants has a legal capacity that determines how many people can safely congregate there. What if OP and her fiance were already flirting with it BEFORE everyone started inviting dates?

I agree that it’s not right to use etiquette as a weapon. But that’s not what OP is doing.


Hemi May 30, 2012 at 10:03 am

Admin is, as usual, spot on. 🙂 Phrase it exactly like she stated. If MIL gets offended, simply state that your guest list is small and would not accommodate an additional guest for her best friend.

It’s pretty much common sense that you don’t invite additional guests to someone else’s wedding. Why is this such a commonly broken etiquette rule?


Angel May 30, 2012 at 10:14 am

I completely agree with the admin. Frankly I don’t know where people get the nerve to RSVP and add a guest. Ridiculous!


Shoegal May 30, 2012 at 12:06 pm

I think this happens a lot. I was invited to a co worker’s wedding and he specifically told me before the invitation arrived that the invitation was just for me and not for me and an additional guest. He was desperately trying to keep the number down and was faced with a similiar situations.

When it is just a party/ bonfire/ picnic/ barbeque uninvited guests are sometimes very welcome indeed – but in the case of a wedding . . . when everything tends to be fairly costly and seats are often assigned- you can’t just say – the more the merrier. It is quite rude to assume that you can bring a guest or your children or a friend along unless the invitation is specifically addressed that way or you have the persmission of the host/hostess. Unfortunately, everyone assumes that it is “and guest” even if it isn’t stated that way.


Tiffany May 30, 2012 at 12:17 pm

I am very glad to see this because I’m having this fearful premonition that my fiance and I will be facing this issue when we send our invitations in August.


acr May 30, 2012 at 12:58 pm

“Do not have a wedding out of the experience of your invited guests. Many very nice people have never been to a formal event of any kind. To expect them to behave by the rules of formal etiquette is unreasonable. It will embarrass them. It already has when you feel you must explain their “mistake” in trying to bring an uninvited guest to your formal wedding. You are making the biggest etiquette mistake possible. Have a wedding in the style which your family and friends understand without having to educate them. I am sure you do not want to be labeled a snob.”

I disagree with this. Because if you take it to the logical conclusion, you then must lower your expectations to the lowest common denominator. This means that every wedding, unless all of the guests are charm school graduates and debutantes, would feature Red Solo cups, beer kegs and finger food.

Is it rude to have a 5-course dinner and then mock people who use the wrong fork? Of course. But we can (and should!) expect a certain basic level of etiquette and graciousness. That includes not inviting yourself or other people to events that aren’t yours.


inNM May 30, 2012 at 1:00 pm

@Hal: I’m having a problem with your comment on two levels. I want to preface this by saying that I understand one of the basic concepts of etiquette is good manners, and in that, you don’t use etiquette to attempt to embarrass your guests intentionally.
However, here lies my two-fold problem:

1. My bf, who I love dearly, and love that his family accepts me with minimal complaint, is very meat and potatoes, blue collar. They don’t go to many formal events in a lifetime. I, on the other hand, come from an upper-middle class family, raised by parents who believe in taking their only child to formal events to learn and mimic the formal etiquette traits; going so far as to have me take some formal etiquette courses. While my family will not disparage me for making my future in-laws comfortable, my in-laws, knowing my history, may feel insulted by the fact that I am “dumbing down” the formal event, as if they are the poor relations to be pitied, instead of giving a fancier event (about midway between the two cultures) which could give them an opportunity to rise to the occasion.

2.) “To expect them to behave by the rules of formal etiquette is unreasonable. It will embarrass them. It already has when you feel you must explain their “mistake” in trying to bring an uninvited guest to your formal wedding.”
I disagree. While I may not expect them to know exactly which fork to use at every stage of the meal, it is not unreasonable for them to have the basic tenets of formal etiquette, like how to eat with a knife and fork and not with their hands, or to chew with their mouth closed. Also, whether or not you have a fancy shindig or a backyard barbecue, as a hostess, you know how many people you can accommodate and how many mouths you intend to feed. It is just as rude for someone to bring an uninvited guest to either event. If I plan to host 10 friends at a barbecue, and each of the 10 friends brings an uninvited friend, I’m now feeding an extra 10 people I had not planned to feed, and must either find the additional budget or adjust my menu accordingly. Even in this informal setting, I am still tasked with explaining their “mistake” in bringing uninvited guests.

Within reason, we should encourage people to rise to meet the challenge, instead of dumbing down our etiquette standard just because they chose to focus on learning something else. We must never use etiquette to show off, or cause embarrassment or discomfort to others who do not know better. However, even with all this, a firm yet polite spine is necessary to ensure that, in forgiving honest mistakes, we are not encouraging bad behavior upon ourselves and other.


acr May 30, 2012 at 1:06 pm

When my sister got married, my dad invited all of his employees.

One employee RSVPed for herself and FIVE other people! Her daughter, her daughter’s boyfriend, her mother, her mother’s new husband, and her sister.

My sister’s wedding was a buffet, so there was plenty of room. But it was still weird. We all laughed about it.


Shannon May 30, 2012 at 1:50 pm

Dang, I will never understand people who want to throw their own mini-parties on someone else’s dime, or use a wedding as date night with a new paramour.

I get that it can be uncomfortable to be single at a wedding. All the couples are being so mushy, and it’s love everywhere, and nosy aunties are asking when it will be “your turn.” Having a friend along can be a nice buffer.

That said, we’ve all been the dateless person at the wedding. You just put the negative parts out of your mind and have fun with it – not being shackled to a date means you can hit the dance floor when you want, not share your favor, and go home when you’re good and ready.

But a lot of this stuff can be prevented with some good planning.

For my wedding, we kept it quite small – 90 people – and only invited those we were in regular contact with. So it was pretty easy to spread the word well in advance that it was a small wedding, we had a budget, and the bride has terrible stage fright and did not want a room full of strangers. We were not doing plus-ones for single guests for those reasons. Very few people argued with us on it because we had already set the expectation that they would come solo.

Additionally, when the invites went out, the RSVP card said, “(x) seats have been reserved in your honor,” which made it abundantly obvious how many people were expected to be in their party.


gellchom May 30, 2012 at 2:22 pm

I agree with the admin and the other posters who have said it is not okay to bring, or ask to bring, and uninvited guest, and that the hosts are within their rights to — politely — tell the offending guest that unfortunately they cannot accommodate the extra guest(s).

But I would not be as fast as some people to label anyone who does this as unpardonably rude and selfish. This thread alone illustrates that there are many communities in which weddings are indeed come-one-come-all, the-more-the-merrier events, or at least somewhere along that end of the etiquette continuum. After all, I would imagine that most of us have been to extremely casual parties where it’s not considered a big deal for someone to ask if they can bring someone, or even just show up with others (think college dorm room parties). Of course a wedding is not a dorm room party. But for some communities, evidently, weddings are considered open, community events, or at least they sometimes are. And church wedding ceremonies, I believe, are technically open to all (because no one has a right to exclude people from God’s house, I think is the reasoning), so in many communities lots of uninvited people do attend and even stick around for a cup of coffee afterward.

Does that mean that it was okay for the guest in this case to reply for two? No, of course not. But why go beyond that and leap to the uncharitable conclusion that she did so because she was a selfish, rude, jerk? Why assume that about your future mother-in-law’s very best friend? The OP says she and her fiance invited her “out of kindness.” But unless this was a very tiny wedding, it doesn’t seem to me to be such a huge sacrifice to warrant the self-congratulation that that phrase suggests. Even where the HC host their weddings themselves, in my experience, they typically allow their parents to invite a few close friends, even if those friends don’t know the bride or groom well. I cannot imagine excluding my mother’s very best friend from my own wedding, and I would have been shocked if my son and his bride had done so. Yes, of course, it’s “their day” — but your child’s wedding is a big day, too, and you want to share it with your best friend. If this were a tiny wedding, I would probably feel different, but the OP doesn’t say that it was.

That’s one thing. The other is that the OP only says she asked if the guest and her boyfriend were living together. I know that various people draw all kinds of lines of what constitutes a “must invite significant other,” and living together, which is itself an expansion of the “engaged” rule, is a common and useful line.

But it’s not a line set in stone. There are many couples, particularly older ones, who, although they do not live together for various reasons, are definitely social units (and of course conversely there are roommates who live together but aren’t social units). My own mother (82) and her boyfriend are one such couple, and I have several other friends and relatives in similar situations whom it would be a grave insult not to treat as a social unit. With couples like that, my personal guideline is to look at how they entertain when they are the hosts. Do they usually cohost things, perhaps even for each other’s families? If so, in my opinion, that is a social unit.

Perhaps that is the case with this woman — we have no idea either way, except that the OP very carefully limited her inquiry to “living together.” If so, the groom’s mother may have told the couple this, or she may simply have assumed that they would acknowledge the older couple’s social unit status. She may have told her friend something like, “Of course Petunia and Cuthbert meant you are supposed to bring Durwood …. Yes, yes, I know, I can understand you’re uncomfortable because his name isn’t on the invitation, but I spoke to them myself and told them that you two always socialize as a unit, so I know they understand and intend for you to bring him.”

Yes, there still would be at least one etiquette violation in this scenario, on behalf of at least one person. My point is just that it isn’t necessarily the result of anyone being selfish, rude, tacky, nervy, presumptuous, dramatic, or self-centered, much less deserving of being cut out of your life. For all we know, this is a very lovely woman who just made a mistake — and possibly an entirely innocent one at that.


Kimstu May 31, 2012 at 3:48 pm

gellchom, I think you misunderstood the Admin’s point. What she said was that guests who have the audacity “GET OFFENDED when they cannot invite their own guests to a wedding” (emphasis added) are the self-centered ones.

It’s not about merely responding to an invitation with an unsolicited “plus-one”, which as you note could easily be an innocent mistake. COMPLAINING about not being allowed as a guest to invite your own guests, on the other hand, DOES make somebody “selfish, rude, tacky, nervy, presumptuous, dramatic, or self-centered”. Hope that clears things up.


gellchom June 4, 2012 at 12:12 pm

That’s a good point, Kimtsu. Most of the admin’s most critical remarks were directed toward people who complained when told they couldn’t bring guests. “Dear Tackatina” threw me off.


MoniCAN May 30, 2012 at 3:25 pm

I have always wondered where people get the idea that they automatically get to include a guest or their family to anything they’re invited to.
Unless an invitation says “and guest” or “+1” or “and family”, the invitation is for the person(s) named on the invite only. Seems like common sense.
We don’t assume letters and cards are for everyone in the house if they’re addressed to just one person, why does that logic go away with invitations?

I’ve seen the reverse too, with someone not bothering to list all the invitees names:
A family friend sent a wedding invitation addressed only to my parents (Mr and Mrs X on outside and inside envelopes, nothing else). At the time I and my siblings (all over 18) were living at this house too. My mom thought bride had told her we (the adult kids) were also invited, but no invites ever showed up for us. Before she sent in the RSVP My mother called the bride and asked if we were still invited since it didn’t says “and family” on the invite. The bride said “Oh, heaven’s yes! We thought it would be assumed the whole family was invited!”

Hmm. Maybe that bride is the one who shows up at all our weddings and parties with uninvited guests?


Ashley May 30, 2012 at 4:11 pm

When my Dear Husband and I were married last year, I was terrified this would happen. We both come from huge families and have great friends. I only wanted family and close friends only. Our wedding was expensive, almost $13,000 and we did everything we could to keep the budget low: silk flowers, reception on a military base with the least expensive buffet, family member was the DJ, family friend did our photos et al.
On our RSVP’s, we wrote “X number of seats have been reserve for __________” and wrote in the names of the persons invited. It cut out a lot of drama as it was known who was invited. Now I did have random people call my mother asking for an invitation, but I told them our venue was full.


LeeLee 88 May 30, 2012 at 4:55 pm

My husband’s best man pulled this, but I was able to stop it, fortunately. We were out with mu husband’s family at a pub, and the BM was sulking the whole evening about not having a date to bring, so he invites some waitresses! One of them had the kindness to let me know what was up, and I was able to take him aside and tell him “NO”, while the other waitresses made hasty retreat into the kitchen. The whole night and onto the reception the next day, that was all I heard about, how he couldn’t have a date to the wedding because I’m so mean. Never mind that he never brought this up before, and never mind the balls on this guy to actually whine to me about it at the reception itself, no, I was obviously a jerk. I came to discover this behavior is actually normal for him, and he know idea why no one cars to hang out with him anymore.


Cat May 30, 2012 at 5:02 pm

The invitation is to a wedding, not to a free meal for all comers. I’d make sure both set of parents realize that you, and only you, will be issuing invitations. Anyone who chooses to invite someone else will receive a phone call explaining that you cannot accommodate their “whatever” at your wedding and reception.

I liked receptions better when everyone just got a piece of wedding cake and a drink. Modern TV shows have upped wedding receptions to something on the level that I would expect at Buckingham Palace. One bride was given three wedding outfits: one bridal gown and two different party dresses for the reception. That’s great if your Dad is Daddy Warbucks, but I wonder if we are so caught up in the party aspect that we forget that this is the joining of two lives and of two families.


W. May 31, 2012 at 8:28 am

My fiancé and I have all this fun to look forward to, I’m afraid…

Our wedding is mid-October, and we’ll be sending out invitations by the end of August, but as we had already decided on the date in February, we sent “save the date” cards to our family and a number of close friends.

An elderly cousin of mine, with whom I have very limited contact (and whom my fiancé hasn’t met yet), but whom we decided to invite as a favour to my father (who’s in his eighties and who hasn’t got many relatives left), called me as soon as she received the save the date card to congratulate us (nice of her, and I think it was the first time I ever spoke to her on the phone, we really aren’t close), and to state “I assume ‘the girls’ are invited too?”. By ‘the girls’ she meant her 29 and 33-year-old daughters, and apparently also her granddaughter (as yet unborn, but due next month)… I’m afraid I didn’t really stand my ground (the phonecall caught me by surprise, and I was even more surprised by my cousin’s assumption that our invitation would stretch out over three generations of barely known – and even barely born! – guests), so I just told her we would include ‘the girls’ in our guest list.

On a side note, my future MIL – whom I love dearly, by the way – has already provided us with an excel-file address list of her friends and colleagues she would very much like us to invite.

At this rate, I’m seriously contemplating providing name tags for our wedding guests!


Bint May 31, 2012 at 8:52 am

I had the opposite of this once. I was invited to a wedding, just my name, so I RSVP’d and prepared to go.

Then the bride emailed about a week beforehand saying, “I’m really looking forward to meeting C (my live-in boyfriend and now my husband)”

When I said I hadn’t planned to bring him because his name wasn’t on the invitation, she said, “Oh, of course he’s invited! I just didn’t know what his full name was.”

No idea why she didn’t ask me. I brought him and we had a lovely time, but er, no, he didn’t feel that wanted! that she couldn’t be arsed to find out his name!


Another Laura June 1, 2012 at 2:52 pm

Once I RSVP’d 1 to a wedding and then the bride asked if I would be bringing my boyfriend (now husband, but at the time we weren’t engaged or living together) I said I didn’t think he was invited, I didn’t remember his name or and guest on the envelope, but when I checked, sure enough it was. I was just not used to looking past my name at the time I guess. So we both went. She must not have known his last name though, because his place card was for “his first name, MY last name” 🙂


L. May 31, 2012 at 1:01 pm

I find this discussion interesting because I’m currently facing an odd (to me) situation. I’ve been invited to a wedding in August but my long-time, live-in boyfriend is not invited. Although we’re not engaged or married, we do consider ourselves life-long partners and everyone around us knows this. Needless to say, I will be declining to attend.


Bint May 31, 2012 at 2:19 pm

My husband’s been invited to a wedding without me since we’ve been married. He didn’t want to go and didn’t, but he’s been invited to weddings alone as my fiance and my live-in boyfriend.

Some people just aren’t very good at organising. It’s never offended me and I’ve never taken it as a dig at our living arrangements (we lived together for a long time before getting engaged). I just put it down to rubbish planning. The bride who invited him to the most recent one just assumed all the lads in the groom’s sports team were unmarried, and the groom never thought to tell her otherwise. So they missed off two wives, a fiancee and several live-in girlfriends!


Gracie C. May 31, 2012 at 3:54 pm

See Bint’s reply above – maybe she just can’t be bothered to find out his name.


crella May 31, 2012 at 10:34 pm

Hal, an invitation is the same, whether it’s a BBQ or a wedding…the guests don’t get to invite others to attend, period. It has nothing to do with ‘formal’ etiquette, or snobbery.


Enna June 2, 2012 at 5:57 am

Admin is 100% right on this one. Can’t believe the audacity of some people!


Vicki June 2, 2012 at 3:28 pm


There are worse ideas than name tags, if you have guests who aren’t likely to know each other. Two friends of mine did this, because they knew that even if they tried to introduce all of dozens of guests to each other (which, if everyone already knows a third of the guests, is still hundreds of introductions) people wouldn’t remember that many names. So everyone had that information, and a quick bit of context: I was identified as a friend of the bride’s, and this person here is her aunt, and this one went to graduate school with the groom, and so on. It wouldn’t work for everyone: this was a civil wedding, in a hotel garden. But it was just right for them.


abcd123 June 5, 2012 at 5:28 am

I would have to put it my two cents.

I understand that this website is for the western concept of etiquette, which does not necessarily apply in other cultures. One of this is the rules on invites and RSVP. Another is the idea of bringing “uninvited” and unexpected guests. So if you are planning weddings, you have to take into consideration the culture of the bride and groom and their respective families.

Anyway, I think the bride and groom brought the problem upon themselves. They invited a person, who they barely know, out of “kindness”. If they invited only those persons who they really know, they would actually know if these persons have a partner, which I believe that proper etiquette dictates should also be invited. I read through the comments, several mentions were made about uninvited spouses, fiances, and boyfriends. It appeared to me that invites like this are generally seen as offensive and declined because they don’t want to attend without their partners. The OP also mentions the she is aware of this mentality. I wonder why she did not consider this when deciding whom to invite or not.

In this situation, if they really invited her out of “kindness”, they should have been “kind enough” to find out if she had a partner whom she would like to attend with and “kindly” extend the invitation to that person as well. Afterall, she is the MOG’s bestfriend, not just some random stranger. Please put yourself in the BF of MOG’s shoes, she probably thought of declining the invitation however, this would probably strain her relationship with MOG. So she thought of subtly informing the couple of their faux pas through the RSVP. (I believe that the rule that you have be living with your bf or gf before you are considered a couple for invitations is ridiculous). Also, MOG also mentioned that BF of MOG has a boyfriend so the OP knows and if they didn’t want to invite that person then they should not have extended the invitation to BF of MOG.

If they really had a “limited” guest list, then they should have not invited people who they barely know in the first place. Next time, limited guest lists should only include really close friends and family of the couple-to-be only (and not the friends of MOG, MOB etc.) and to exclude people they barely know because they actually risk inviting a total stranger who they really don’t want to be in their wedding.


Mabel June 10, 2012 at 5:00 pm

My ex and I were invited to my boss’s wedding, but she didn’t include his daughter. Completely understandable; she didn’t know the little girl, and had no clue whether we would even have her that weekend. Turns out we did, but Ex refused to leave her with the neighbor for a couple of hours and go. He said the only way he would was if I called my boss and asked her if DD could come. I said no way, that wasn’t polite. So I went alone, and had a better time without him. 🙂

Off topic–the cafeteria company we worked for catered the wedding, and the reception was at my hometown’s city park. It was really hot that day and the turquoise wedding cake (sounds weird, but it was actually pretty!) began melting and the tiers were falling over. Gracious bride actually thought that was pretty funny and we all laughed about it. It was still delicious. 🙂


GirlOne October 20, 2012 at 5:07 pm

Im having my wedding in Nov. and I had this very problem with one of my closest friend. I have mentioned it was a small wedding under 40 guest, limited space, limited count on the venue place and wrote only 1 person in the invitation prior to sending the invites and all. We added to every invitation more or less “we are delighted for you to join us to our wedding, it will be very small, this invitation serves for 1 person only” (or 2 known couples) . And can you believe she actually called me stating oh i got the card so excited, but I will be bringing a guest (she is SINGLE!) as if she’s excluded form the fact that i WROTE ONE, and so i hear she might be bringing a friend we both know….but seriously?? it was in plain English!!! (Unliterary)….I hate conflicts really, and feel insulted by this, i couldn’t even answer when she told me this. I can accommodate the extra guest, but the lack of respect is irritating me. Why would anyone bother writing into an invitation a # the invite serves for, if they had no limit to it.

It has nothing to do with etiquette to have a +1, weddings are family and friends to celebrate the union of two people in love and share it with people you know. And each day its becoming more and more expensive. If people didn’t care whom it went they would do it in an public place and post outside ‘Wedding on X date – Come join us’ like a Garage sale. Its not an open party to bring whomever you desire, unless the couple are well provided for economically.


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