What to do when an uninvited guest RSVPs for the wedding you didn't invite them to attend

Updated Oct 12 2015
Awkward Family Photo Session-5623
I'd love to come to your wedding! Thank you so much for not inviting me! Photo courtesy of Photo Madly's intentionally awkward wedding photos

So, we've talked about How to tell your guests they don't get a +1. We've gone over 10 blunt-but-loving ways to tell people they're not invited to your wedding. But what happens when a non-guest takes it a step further, and actually RSVPs to your wedding? You know, the wedding you never invited them to. What happens then?

First: don't dodge

Clearly, there's been a misunderstanding. There are very few people who are rude enough that they bully their way into your wedding by RSVPing when they weren't invited. Not saying that there aren't folks like that, of course — but chances are pretty good that somehow this person really did think they were invited, likely because of something a family member or friend said to them.

The worst thing you can do when there's been a misunderstanding is propagate it by not being up-front in how you deal with it. Yes, it's going to suck, but you can't put it off. When you hear from Aunt Madge that she's coming to the wedding you didn't invite her to, you need to address the situation quickly and directly. Don't put it off, and don't use platitudes.

Second: stand your ground

Be genuine, but be firm. Here's an example of something you could say:

Oh, no! I'm so sorry: there's clearly been a miscommunication. Due to budget/venue size/whatever limitations, we're keeping the guestlist quite small. This means we just can't invite everyone we'd like, as much as we'd love to — we do not have room for you on the guestlist. I'm so terribly sorry that we can't extend an invitation, and even more sorry about this miscommunication. I hope you can understand."

You can also try genuinely expressing your surprise. Own up the awkwardness of the situation, while also standing firm: THIS IS NOT HAPPENING.

Oh my goodness, this is catching me off-guard! This is awkward and difficult, and I'm so sorry to have to say this, but we don't have space on our limited guestlist for all the family and friends we'd love to have there — we aren't able to invite you to the wedding. I'm so sorry — I feel just awful about this situation, and I wish there's something I could do, but the venue size/catering arrangements/whatever are fixed, and I'm afraid it's just not going to work. I hope you can understand.

Third: be gracious and appreciative

Remember that these people want to come to your wedding because, well, THEY PROBABLY LOVE YOU. Sure, sometimes there are weird family power dynamics at play that have nothing to do with you, but ultimately, these people are people who care about you — and who presumably you care about, too. (Otherwise, you'd just say "Fuck off, you weren't invited.")

Find as many ways as possible to be loving, appreciative, and gracious in your conversation. Repeating, "It means so much to both of us that you want to be at the wedding" and "It's so disappointing that this won't work out — I'm so glad you got in touch" can go a long way towards softening the blow of what boils down to, "You can't come."

For those of you who dealt with this kind of thing, how did you handle it? Copy 'n' paste responses are especially useful!

  1. We are a long way from our wedding (we're waiting til after my college graduation in 2 years), but even since the hypothetical wedding-talk stage, we've been running into this problem: I am not close to mother for a number of reasons, including some deep personal issues that I fear could disrupt celebrations; these same issues seem to be keeping her from realizing we feel uncomfortable around her in the first place. Is there some way to avoid inviting her, even though her grown children and parents are likely to be there? I'm worried about how very transparent our tight-budget excuse will be (though it's not untrue for other uninvited relatives). Any advice? Please?

  2. I have the exact same problem!! A distant uncle decided to invite himself to the wedding, and at first I was not happy with it at all – he's very loud and obnoxious (and a little bit racist, as well!!), so I was very unsure whether he should come or not. In the end, we decided to invite him, as we still have some space for extra guests, and he will be good company for my dad… I'm still not crazy about the idea, but my gut tells me to just go with it… 🙂

  3. I loove this site and reading these tips that would make me feel less awkward in my day! We decided we will have a May wedding, but still, I created a secret group in FB and decided that the people who we will add are those people who will be invited in the wedding and reception! ^^ this is what I posted!

    Hi guys! So we've finally, and I say FINALLY to have our "happily ever after" this year and we would like YOU to be part of this happy occasion since you have been part of our long engagement and our lives! ?

    However, the ceremony will be relatively SMALL, only relatives, close friends who've known us through our 9-year relationship. So we would really appreciate it if you keep all of this as a SECRET, to keep the solemnity of the occasion.

    So with this, I will request that only the people who will be invited by me or by jhaye would be able to attend along with those who will receive the invites. I will say it upfront too, that inasmuch I would like to invite you with a DATE, I would not be able to so if your date is not someone we have met before nor a part of our relationship.

    Another, though we looove kids, we would like to have an ADULT only ceremony for this time, since we would like you to enjoy this day with us without the distraction of your very cute kids. We'll make it up to you on the 1st birthday of our son/daughter, promise! 😉

    And last, and I wish I didn't have to do this since I would love everybody to be there, but because of limited budget and accommodation, we will stick to the rule that: friends whom we haven't seen or have communication in the past year, and relatives who we haven't seen for the past 2 years, will be..well, i'm so sorry. I know it is inevitable that someone would really feel hurt not to be invited, but please don't gauge our friendship with it…

    We'll announce the official date as soon as it's confirmed, and we'll see you there, okay?:)

    I posted it in the group page BEFORE I INVITED anyone in the group so that they will understand everything upfront and to have an understanding and to lessen conflict as we near the date!

  4. My fiance and I decided to have a small wedding with imediate family,Grandparents, Aunts & Uncles and CLOSE friends. We both agree that unless someone plays a role in our everyday lives; why would we have them share in our big day? Besides, we're paying for the wedding and college for both of us on our own we can't afford to invite all of his Great Aunts like his mother is demanding. I have 24 cousins alone it's not my fault I come from a large family… as it is I'm only inviting the two cousins that I'm close to.

    We decided to send Save the Dates and Invites to the people we want to attend and on the day of we're going to mail out annoucements to everyone else we care about… We we told his mother this and she seriously yelled at me saying, "You can't do that…"

    Needless to say that is EXACTLY what we are going to do and we even told her she has to uninvite the people she invited on her own (especially seeing how she hasn't even offered to pitch in with the wedding.)

    Sadly, we're talking about having a guest list and former military family members stand as bouncers and turn away any party crashers! I hope it doesn't come to that especially with our wedding taking place four hours away.

    I've learned the hard way the word "wedding" flips the crazy switch in some people. I have to stand strong with this or little by little she will try to over step her boundaries into our relationship even more than she already has, but that's another story…

  5. *name adjusted from what it is on Tribe to avoid a chance of in-law drama
    This has happened to us. There has been so much drama and back and forth on our guest list and the size of our wedding. My FH was on the fence about inviting his extended family, and intially his parents said to do whatever we wanted but, combined with him wanting to see his aunts and uncle, and his cousin inviting the extended family to his wedding, we've ended up inviting his aunts and uncles. One of his aunts is the wife of his mom's brother, who passed away. We invited her and as she's been dragging her feet about RSVPing, my FH's mom emailed and asked her if she knew her plans yet. She replied, somewhat passive-aggressively,that the RSVP deadline hasn't been reached yet (although we sent the email months ago, and most guests have made their plans and RSVPd) and that she and her daughter don't know their plans yet and will respond by the deadline. We never invited her daughter, the cousin, whom my FH has not spoken to in ages and doesn't like all that much. According to my future mother-in-law, it's assumed that unmarried children are included in invitations (alas, if we had gone with paper invites we could have been more specific), I don't see why that should be assumed. His cousin is a grown-ass woman (though apparently doesn't act like it most of the time) and should not be a package deal with her mother. If we wanted her there, we'd have invited her. I'm deferring to my FH, who doesn't want to cause drama by saying no, but we're both hoping they can't go. We've had a few other people play the +1 card, and since we generally have allowed S.O.'s to be included, we feel kind of stuck. Only now my future brother in law asked if he could bring someone, and my FH has not seemed to be able to get a straight answer about whether he was asking about 1 person or more! Aaargh!!

  6. First of all, I totally agree with the author's statements.
    Second of all, this is my first post to OB in over 4 months of reading. I love the site and gave up theknot and all other bridal sites the moment I started reading it.
    Third, and most importantly, I got only about halfway through the comments. Many were spot on. However, as an orphan, I am really sick of the "my parents want this and I doooooooon't" mentality. Weddings include your family. Deal with it; decide what is important to you and what is negotiable. I'd love my dad insisting on his aunt being there, no matter the cost, if he was here to do the insisting. I'd love my mom having a melt down about my tattoo showing (which she'd never do! 😉 ) if she was here for the meltdown.
    My fiancee and I haven't decided how to recognize my parents (who have been gone 14 & 3 years) at the joining of our families- which is what a wedding is. Cherish even the annoying points of family members. That's what makes who they are and they factored into who you are. You are lucky to have them in your life. I'd deal with seating chart arguments and family meltdowns, in a heartbeat, to have my eccentric, ridiculous, wonderful family at my marriage. I just hoped I might put things into perspective for all of you.

  7. We flat out do not have any more space at our venue. My mother would "never presume" to invite someone without our blessing but instead invited my cousin's girlfriend to the island but not the wedding. So either we have to include her or she sits by herself through rehearsal dinner and wedding while everyone she knows on the island parties with us. How do we stand our ground on this one?

  8. This is happening to me right now. My wedding is in 15 days and counting. We have a very limited space and tight budget for our wedding. The venue capacity is almost met with our guest list. We are currently getting grief from my Fiance's family due to a cousin who wasn't invited. It was an overlook on my Fiance's part. Plus my fiance has 27 more family members coming to the wedding, than I do and my parent's are paying for the wedding. His family thinks that his cousin needs to be there even though he wasn't invited. Excuse me, but I think I have the right over him on inviting someone from my family to the wedding. Plus it's rude to invite someone to the wedding this late, when they weren't on the list in the first place. My fiance doesn't even talk to his cousin and hasn't seen him in like 2 years. What is disrespectful is that on the invitation to my fiance's aunt and uncle the invitation was only address to them, but the RSVP card had their names + his cousin name and another person. I have only noticed this from his family, but some of my cousins didn't get invited to the wedding and they understand why they weren't invited and I am not getting any grief from them or my aunts and uncles. His aunt puts her son on a pedestal, but she must can't read either and rude to self invite 2 people to our wedding without asking us if there was a mistake on the invitations. To me it's a slap in the face. If they can't respect our wishes then maybe they shouldn't come. This wedding is about my fiance and I starting a new life, not about her son! This is not a family reunion and its a wedding. My fiance says he will back me on this, but he is now trying to side with his dad on this. Plus at our wedding, we will have a checklist of those attending to be checked off and those not on the list will be asked to leave. We can't even make room due to the room size and it will take away from the DJ. If people can't read an invitation on who it is addressed too then maybe they shouldn't come. It's completely rude to self invite someone to a wedding when all they need to do is pick up the phone and call and ask if there was a mistake on the invitation, but those who don't are only looking out for themselves and being disrespectful to the bride and groom.

  9. I can't comment any more on the Offbeat Bride page, only share! I haven't written anything bad, but if someone could let me know why this happened that would be so nice… I can't 'like' anything!

  10. I actually had the opposite problem.. I had a big family that I sent a ton of invitations out for a relatively close destination wedding in a bordering state and had a lot of rsvps of yes and (maybe? Not even an option listed!) so I had no idea who really was coming or not, blew our buffet food budget out of proportion because I was worried a ton of people would show up. And out of the 150 I was expecting? Well that magically turned into maybe 40 people in all. Yeah, I was a little sad but it was overshadowed by an awesome day of sunshine for a cool reception lunch.

    Oh and as for people who wanted to come but couldn't make it? Second reception all up to whatever the family wanted to do. We had over 100 people show up for a bbq/pool party/game time awesome. Irony? We DID run out of food. I just chalk it up to eh, thats life!

    And to never over-estimate food again. I'm feeding a party…not a country.

  11. One of the ways to avoid this is for couple to be very deliberate and purposeful when making their lists. It is always going to be strange for instance, if a tight circle of friends or family has one or two glaring omissions. People will notice, people will talk and you have to be prepared for some hurt feelings. Is it avoidable and should you have to invite 'borderline' folks? Maybe not, but you do have to take ownership and be prepared for the reactions, and assess beforehand if it is worth it.

  12. My mom asked me to invite her elderly widowed aunt to the wedding, so I said sure no problem. This morning I get an RSVP back for 7 people. This aunt took it on herself to invite her adult son and his two kids, plus her grandson and his wife and kid; I've never met them. I had to call her up and tell her the invite was addressed to her not the additional 6 people. Well, now she isn't coming.

  13. So, what do you do when you've addressed an invite to a single person (rather than a Mr. and Mrs. and family) and when they fill out the RSVP, where it says 'Name(s) of Those Attending' they add their name and a date's name? There was no mention on the invite that they could bring a date. The fill-in was for the addressee(s). How does one handle such an awkward situation? My daughter has received two RSVP's for her wedding where the invitees took the liberty of including a date.

  14. This situation is stressful, we recently had a friend add a plus one (his new girlfriend) one month before our wedding without asking us. At this point we've already made all the arrangements with the vendors for the amount of confirmed guests we have and are keeping our ceremony intimate. I let him know that we couldn't accommodate plus 1's because of these reasons. He responded letting me know that he had already booked their flights and that they had planned a whole trip around our wedding location. This put in a bit of a spot, I obviously felt frustrated that he didn't ask me first but sympathetic to their situation. So I compromised letting him know that she can come but we cannot guarantee dinner for her since the food has been plated per guest and that would mean us shelling out extra $. He understood and was very apologetic for not noticing the numerous reminders I had sent about us not being able to accommodate plus ones. We were lucky that our venue had the extra space for her but I know this is not always the case. Ask before you invite people!

  15. I had this happen less than a month after I was engaged. A friend if a friend heard our mutual friend (one if my bridesmaids) ask about the wedding and just inserted herself into the bridal party then Into the grooms party. I politely told her that we already picked out who we wanted and it's final. I've had several people do this. I have yet to have anyone just invite themselves as a normal guest, though.

  16. I had 2 people crash my wedding. My husband is 9th of 10 siblings and has over 70 nieces, nephews, and greats. Plus he is in tue AF and is a firefighter. His family members were all in town for a reuinion that week. We invited 400 knowing we could only fit 275 if we wanted to keep a dance floor (it was a swing dance/1940s themed wedding so that was a must). That was after cutting 200 from the list. The crashers weren't invited because they were cousins and we had to cut out most cousons. They showed up in shorts and made a big scene. What was I supposed to do? At least they were fun guys. And they just ate everybody's leftovers. So I just danced and laughed with them. Oh well…

  17. I was definitely surprised how many people attempted to add guests to our wedding. Nobody who completely didn't receive an invitation, but some attempts to add uninvited plus ones and children. We handled them differently depending on who they were. My family is large so on my dad's side of the family, we invited only aunts and uncles, no cousins. My clueless aunt (whose invitation was clearly addressed only to her and her husband) added her adult daughter, my cousin, when she RSVP-ed. In that case, I just bit my tongue and didn't say anything and we made room for her. Doing otherwise would have upset my dad and probably the whole clan and it wasn't worth it.

    My husband's boss clearly realized he and his wife were invited without their teenage son (who we don't know and who would have had a terrible time at a wedding with no other teenagers) but asked if he could bring him. My husband was able to put him off with a "I'll have to check with my fiancee" response, and then we just never got back to him. He got the message and didn't bring the kid.

    One of my husband's coworkers suddenly acquired a 2 year old child (her boyfriend's ex showed up and said surprise, you have a kid, and I'm leaving her with you) between the time they RSVP-ed and the wedding. She texted my husband and just said "put us down for three" without even asking permission. I wanted to be sensitive to the fact that they were adjusting to a huge change in their lives and hadn't figured out the whole babysitter thing yet, but also wanted to stand my ground since none of his work friends' kids were invited, so we offered to have the kiddo stay (at our expense) with our good friends' kids and their sitter (who we know) in their very nice, kid-proofed house. She remained non-committal, and then just didn't show up at the wedding, which was perhaps her passive-aggressive "screw you" for us saying no to the addition to their RSVP, or maybe just flakiness–I don't know her well enough to know. But I nevertheless feel good about how we handled it–sensitive to their situation but also fair to us.

    Another of husband's co-workers, a nice guy but completely hapless and socially awkward, said to us at a party right before our RSVP deadline "Sorry I haven't RSVP-ed yet, I'm just waiting to see if I want to bring a plus one or two." I did not feel bad at all about coaching husband to take him aside and explain he didn't get a plus one (and certainly not two!). I get the sense he's used to having everything spelled out for him, and as far as I know he didn't take offense when my husband informed him that it was going to be just him (and a table full of people he knows from work, some of whom were coming w/o significant others, so it wouldn't be an uncomfortable place to be date-less).

    My husband's very close family friends (the wife was his "first girlfriend" and he calls them "aunt and uncle") were by far our worst RSVP-ers. We invited the couple and their two adult children who don't live w/them on the same invite because that's how my husband wanted to do it (I now wish I'd sent separate invites to the adult kids). First, she said the kids wouldn't be coming, so could she use "her" "extra" two seats to bring their friends from church, another couple, who husband and I kinda know, but not well enough that we'd invite them to our wedding. We ignored that request because it was so ridiculous, and she eventually got the message and RSVP-ed late just for herself (her husband was out of the country on business). Then a few days before the wedding she emailed me to say her daughter would be coming and instructing me not to tell daughter that her mother had failed to include her in the RSVP. After having a private temper tantrum, I squeezed daughter in at a different table than her mom because it was the best I could do at that point. I really wanted to tell her to go to hell because I was in full-on stressed out bride mode by that time, but it wasn't worth the tension it would have created with my new in-laws.

    I think of this issue, like all others in wedding planning, as one where you have to pick your battles. "Don't dodge" and "stand your ground" are good advice as far as they go, but I think "ask yourself whether it's worth it" has to be step one in each case. Even if your answer every time is "yes" because you feel very strongly about limiting your guest list, it's worth asking yourself the question.

  18. I have to no idea of what to do. I have an old friend who was rather parasitic to me growing up. Much of my attachment to her was based on guilt as she was also generous. We drifted apart years ago, and barely talk now. Seeing me in a public place a few days ago, she invited herself to my wedding in a way that felt like a mild threat. Astounded and unsure if I wanted to let her make a fuss in a public place, I weakly nodded as she rattled on about where she is living now. It's a place I used to know, so I didn't have to write it down and make a show of my commitment. I found out later that day that thanks to family inviting people, we're now over our agreed to limit at our venue. I've been so down, thinking about this problematic person coming to my wedding. My partner, and even my mom likes her as much as I do. I was such a coward to let this girl do this to me. I have no idea of what I should do. I can conveniently forget to add her to my guest list and let her fuss later. Or, I can tell her sorry, but I have to uninvite her. It would be terribly rude, but she was very rude, too. Or, I can deal with the consequences of being a fool. I would greatly appreciate input.

  19. I need some serious advice. Numerous people on my guest list have RSVP with a +1 even though their invitation was addressed to them only. I'm not quite sure how to handle it. I have enough room for more people but budget will not allow me to feed all these people. How do I go back to them and tell them they cant bring a guest??

  20. I have a weird problem: instead of sending save the dates, we made a Facebook event. As I'm getting notifications of people replying, I see that one of my friends, who I did NOT invite, said she would go! Facebook added extra people to our guest list! The event is invite only by either me or my fiance. We made sure that it is private and that nobody can invite themselves or other people. Besides, these extra invites were random friends of mine who nobody on my guest list knows anyway. The next day Facebook added ANOTHER friend to my guest list. I have since gotten this under control, and luckily there was only one Facebook addition who said she would go. Do I let this slide? We were friendly in high school, but haven't really kept in touch since, with the exception of simply being Facebook friends. She did actually get an invitation, but she shouldn't have. It was a technical error and I don't know what to do.

  21. Yeah… This happened to me. My husband's parents have big families but they appear to have fallen out with almost all of them, so the guests on my husband's side were mostly friends. However there was this one cousin in a second degree who my husband and I had socialised with a few times over vacations on his parents' hometown, so I even insisted with him that she come. She's widowed, so it would be only her. Right?
    Wrong. My mother-in-law took it upon herself to invite her daughter, her son, his wife and their daughter. Of these, he'd only met the cousin's children when they were… well, children. We didn't even know their names. We had cut off a number of people we would love to have at our wedding and there it was, a family of 5 we had no interest in having. You'd think my mother-in-law would have payed for the reception costs, since we had clearly told her the invitation was for the cousin only. Wrong again!
    My husband was furious but being a non confrontational type he didn't say anything to his family. I didn't want to butt in because I already had those types of issues from my side to resolve.
    The result was that we had them come to the wedding, which they couldn't appreciate because they didn't know us, so I have a multitude of photos of smiling happy people and then a few of 5 long faces… Argh

  22. I'm currently trying to cut down our guest list a bit right now. A few friends from college whom we haven't seen for a few years, or who caused major drama, or who we really weren't that close to but who were mutual acquaintances through other friends (or ex-flatmates who I didn't exactly part with on the best terms…). There are a few family members who are not on the list – an aunt and her family because we can't stand her husband and her grown-up kids are a bit stuck-up/annoying, and an uncle who my dad hasn't spoken to in 30 years — his son is a grey area because while we get on really well, we haven't been in touch too much lately.

    I posted the following on Facebook a month or two ago, in a fit of the Grumps before weekly archery practice:

    "People keep asking stuff about the wedding and crap. Right now I'm a bit mentally bogged-down with other stuff (like work), but here's the most recurring FAQ answers.

    8th of [date], pending venue approval.
    [Venue] Hotel, [town].
    Yes it will be a civil ceremony.
    No there will not be flowers.
    It will NOT be "Mediaeval".
    The dress is red. And I bought it.
    We're trying to keep numbers down so don't throw a fit if you're not invited.

    Now if you don't mind, I gotta go for my bow-therapy appointment."

    May come across as harsh when it comes to the numbers part, but the comments were appreciative and humorous – and mostly from people who won't be invited.

  23. I actually just dealt with a situation like this! My Dad's friend was angling for a plus 5 at my 75-person destination wedding. He would be the only guest bringing a date, his two kids, and both of their spouses. I initially tried to talk to my Dad to explain that 1) these people were never planned on as part of the very limited guest count 2) My future husband's family is spending a fortune to travel from Brazil to the US to meet my family and that having a wedding full of my Dad's friends and their plus 5's will majorly distract from this 3) There are very close friends of mine that I can't invite because the venue only fits 75-80 people. 4) **Most importantly** I've never met this guys kids!!!!!

    My Dad's response was that he gave his word and that these people have to be invited at whatever cost, he also offered to call some of his close friends who have invites already in the mail and "talk them out of coming." So after a lot of pondering I figured I would just reach out to my Dad's friend and explain in the most courteous way possible that I would ask if he only brings a plus 1.

    Hi (Dad's friend),

    (My Dad) let us know that you're planning on coming to the wedding in April! That is great news. Regretfully, we must inform you that we are currently way over the maximum number of guests that can be allowed a seat at the reception, due to the limited size of the venue. The reception that we booked was intended to be a small intimate group of about 75 to keep costs affordable. If possible we would ask that you limit your additional guests to just one person at this time.
    As we get closer to April, I would happily accommodate the rest of your family if we can get some other guests that are traveling internationally or cross-country to cancel. We will keep you updated and we are very sorry about any inconvenience.


    He actually responded very quickly and reasonably! The only problem now is that this guy always travels stand-by and in his response he mentioned that he won't know if he can come until 1-2 days before!!!! Makes it tough to give the final guest count guarantee to the caterer five days before the wedding, but at least no "Dad's friend party of six." This guest is already a huge thorn in my side!! haha

  24. We've had the awkward convo of uninvited guests also. Our ruling is that if you are a long term couple (married, dated for quite some time ie. we've met the SO) then you get a plus one. Otherwise, no plus ones. We physically cannot fit more people on a boat, and we'd have to spend an extra 5-6 thousand dollars to add even 1 more person. My MOH, who is normally a very logical person, was super upset about this. Why? She's not dating anyone, has said she's not interested in dating right now….she was upset because she wanted a mutual friend to be her plus one. This friend has her own invite to our wedding. *facepalm*

    My mother has also finally got the point that this is not her wedding, it's N and mine. Therefore, in our 100 person max limit she cannot have 75 guests, including ones I've never damn well met and ones she knows I do not like (very, very matriarchical and rude and demanding – this woman tells me I am a horrible human being every time I see her). But apparently now she doesn't want to invite anyone. Alriiiiighhhtttyyyy. I foresee this being a huge pain in the ass, but whatever.

    Definitely waiting on the RSVP add-ons. Thank goodness our wedding website only allows you to RSVP by database name – if I haven't entered in your name, you can't RSVP! But we're doing paper RSVPs too, so that'll be funsies.

  25. When we first got engaged and started to tell everyone, my FI's ex-wife not only immediately invited herself to the wedding, but also came right out and asked me what kind of Bridesmaid Dress she should buy!! I was as polite as possible since his kids were right there too. But I couldn't believe it. I just told her we aren't in a hurry so I had no idea about dresses yet. You could of pushed me over with a feather lol!

  26. Honestly, I was looking for a way to say "Fuck off, You're not invited. You're a cunt, and your kids are abhorrable and there is no way in hell that You are coming." In a less direct but still just as spicy way.
    This did not deliver

  27. All of this advice is better than what I *actually* did, which was call my husband-to-be and start screaming "fix it, FIX IT, FIX IT" (in my defense… it was one of 2 meltdowns, and the other was when my fiance missed his plane home for the wedding… but I digress) It was his family: people I could not have picked out of a crowd, and people we were specifically told would be out of town, so they would be "natural" people to not invite. Apparently they assumed, and RSVP's anyway. To a wedding with 60 people, total.

    Because there were limits as to what others were "comfortable" with telling them, my MIL ended up disinviting another people to avoid a confrontation. The whole thing was ridiculous, and it still embarasses and enrages me that people who actually got invitations were asked not to come.

    But: the benefit of small venues is this: they have a fire code, usually, that they HAVE TO ADHERE TO. And they're probably going to look at the list you give them, and act accordingly, because the last thing they want is a fine from the FD. This works as another scapegoat that isn't you (eg, "this was our dream venue, but the dang FD says we cannot have a soul over 60…") or as a last minute enforcement if you legit have someone try to crash. I'd also suggest assigning someone assertive, but kind, in the bridal party to act as a temporary bouncer if the venue won't help.

  28. Hoo boy. My fiance and I have had this discussion. There's ONE person that we know of that dislikes us, but I have a (hopefully irrational and fruitless) fear that she would try to invite herself and show up just to cause problems. Hey, it's happened before at other gatherings! This is why we're going to have a trustworthy person to be our bouncer and toss her to the curb if she tries! Luckily, the other people that I'm not inviting don't care about us either way!

  29. How would you guys handle this? Mother-in-law invited their family neighbor (they don't hang out with this family at all, they don't talk often, they're just neighbors). She ran into the mother who said she and her husband couldn't make it but they were sending their son and his girlfriend who my fiancé and I barely know besides for him growing up next to the kid. When my MIL commented they weren't invited, the woman responded by saying that he and his gf will represent them since she and her husband couldn't go. The balls on this woman! (Unless she's super spaced out and doesn't know any better) but how would you handle this?!

  30. Hello:

    I have a question that I cannot find an answer to. A friend of mine for over a decade is getting married. I used to work with him but no longer. We stay in contact mostly by texts but it is infrequent. Still, I really like my friend and I feel he likes me as well.

    I received today an invite to his wedding. I've met his intended and we got along fabulously. The invite has only my name on it. It is quite a distance from me and I would have to pay for transportation and accommodations at a hotel for 2 nights to partake in the festivities.

    I just don't want to go that distance by myself and sit with strangers and party with mostly strangers. The wedding couple will be way too busy, as should be expected, to really talk with me. Would it be acceptable if I wrote and asked for an invite fo my best friend and told them that I would pay for that friend?

  31. I sent invitations out to all of my guests, clearly stating how many seats we had available for each person's party. I sent one to an older distant aunt and gave her three spots: one for her, one for her husband and one for one of her children who would be driving them (they're elderly). She never rsvp'd so my sister volunteered to call her and find out if they were coming or not. When she called, my aunt told her that she would be there but her husband could not attend. So she asked if she could bring 9 of her children and grandchildren instead. I said no, our venue was too small and we couldn't fit that many additional guests (especially since I don't know her children and grandchildren that well at all) but that I could compromise and she could bring just her children (3 total) if she wanted since her husband couldn't attend (no grandchildren invited though). She then told my sister she would be bringing all 9 anyway to the wedding and the brunch we're having the next morning, despite my having told her no. My aunt then immediately told my grandmother that she couldn't come to the reception dinner because I told her she wasn't invited. So now my grandmother thinks I excluded her her from the events. :/

    So my question is, how do you handle +9's?? Especially since it's very important to my grandmother that she attends.

    • Speak to your grandmother directly and explain the situation. She'll probably be mortified by her daughter's behaviour. It's important that she hears about the situation from you, as well as from your aunt, or she's going to get a skewed impression of what's going on.

      In terms of the plus nine, I do wonder how old the grandkids are. If they're not old enough to be left alone, I can understand why inviting all of the adults without them would be an issue (since they may well be each other's babysitters). If they can't leave the kids, then they may not be able to be their monther's chauffeur, which could be the crux of the problem. If you aunt assumes you know this (you know, with your psychic powers every bride to be gets with her engagement power ring), then she may think excluding the grandkids is your passive aggressive way of uninviting her.

      Are you able to accommodate them at the brunch, but not the ceremony? Or at a separate 'plus nines' party that evening or the next day? If they all want to travel together, if you can make time for them they may appreciate that though only aunt is invited to the wedding, it's not because you don't want to spend time with the rest of them as well. Play up the fact you wouldn't have a chance to spend any time with them at the wedding and they'd only know each other, and wouldn't they rather have a special private party with yourselves.

      • Thanks for the advise! The grandchildren are all in high school or college. When she mentioned to my sister she was bringing them all, she said it was because "none of them wanted to miss out on the party" or something like that. :/ I tried to make it clear to her I would love to have them all there but the reception venue was just not big enough (the space fits 70 and with them we would have 75) but she is bringing them anyway.

        I spoke with my grandmother and she understands (and was shocked) when I told her the story. But I hate for her to be disappointed if my aunt is unable to be there, whatever the reason (even if it's justified). It's a tough situation.

  32. I'm having a somewhat similar situation occur…. I'm from a small town- but I have a huge family. The majority of people invited are family and "close" friends. Still, with that we are at 250 invites. Our venue capacity is 250. We are doing a destination wedding to limit the amount of people who will make the trip from home….but nonetheless, I'm catching a lot of crap from people about their +1's. I had someone (who I don't consider a friend or even someone I particularly like) ask me point blank if she was invited to my wedding….I said No, sorry- I have certain family members not invited because it's gotten too large and we are having a hometown celebration for everyone we can't accommodate. That should have nipped it in the butt…right? But now, she's latched on to a very close friend and said she will be his +1…. I haven't even given anyone a +1….my invitations haven't been sent out yet even.. Basically, because this is a "big deal" in a small town where it's sort of a competition of who is/isn't invited…it's become a little crazy with having people walk up to me and tell me they are coming when I haven't even invited ANYONE yet, officially. Ultimately, I've been very blunt about it… The guest list is too large and I'm not allowing +1's unless they are in a very serious relationship with my guest. I'm not sure how else to handle it- but nonetheless, I am very irritated that people who I'm not even friends with are going out of their way to be invited to a party that they CLEARLY are not supposed to be at and they know it. I'd love some feedback if anyone has any.

      • "Advise" = Doing something. i.e. you advise someone.
        "Advice" = The thing you give. i.e. gave them advice.

        I advise you to not give out random advice.


  33. So here is a challenge for you… My fiance and I have had to narrow down our wedding list due to budget mostly. My mother is paying for most of the wedding and the venue we have chosen seats 90 TOPS. We have about 115 invites going out but because most of my fiances family is from far away and we have a Sunday evening wedding we are assured that we will make the cutoff.
    The issue is I was speaking with my soon to be Mother-In-Law the other day and she told be how she had rented a home near the venue and that she was staying there with (she gave names) 8 guest 2 whom we are not inviting. I asked my fiance if he told his mom about the guest list and who we were inviting to which he responded "No, why? It isn't like she is paying or planning the wedding" To which I had to inform him that she has invited at least 2 people without asking us that were not on our list. Neither of us knows what to say or how to go about asking her who else she has invited without our say so. Anyone have any suggestions?

    • It is your fiancées responsibility to get the message to your MIL… if you are cutting it close on numbers she needs to be aware it isn't a free for all… there were some people who came to the town we had ours but weren't invited… they just hung out and partied with everyone.. surprisingly- you may find you have extra space in the end and the random extras she's invited might be able to join after all… but she needs to know it's not her place to invite. It will all become more clear once invitations are sent out and certain people don't receive them. I specified on my invites how many seats were reserved on that invite. Good luck!

  34. We're having a very small(50ish) backyard wedding at our house. I put on the invitation to please refrain from bringing uninvited guest as space is limited and we both could only invite 5 or so of our own close friend so we had to leave alot of people we know out of thye wedding. I made it very clear in the invitation. Well FH"s aunt let me know through facebook who all in their family is coming and included her sons new GF of less than a year who we have never met. My friends and family know that I will be super pissed and to not bring a guest but Ive only met his aunt once and hes not even that close to her she was basically only invited out of formality as being family. I am not sure how to deal with this

    • Ultimately, I came to realize….there will be people you didn’t want there (or care to have there either way) who will end up coming. At least a handful will rsvp and not show up, and at the end of the day…it all works out. I had family invited who rsvp‘d and didn’t show up (and didn’t tell anyone they weren’t coming). I had a friend invite a girlfriend who I hated… (they broke up and she ended up in my photo album)… life goes on, good memories are had and we all “Monday morning quarterback” the entire thing for a few weeks… but honestly, the numbers end up not mattering as much as you think they do, and the people who are there were meant to be there and everyone will remember the good parts and not the annoying or stressful parts.
      The only thing I wish was different about my wedding day is that I wish I had “been there.” I wish I hadn’t stressed as much about the numbers, the uninvited guests or the no-shows….
      If 15 more rsvp that you have room for, don’t worry… the venues are used to it and they will accommodate at the end of the day. Breathe easy and enjoy the ride! Marriage is beautiful!


    • I think it depends how much this is really going to impact the day. If you feel realistically, 1-2 extras won't harm, its worth remembering that it might not be worth commenting on.
      If its going to cause an issue, or you feel will still bother you 2 years after the wedding, a version of the above could help:
      Oh, no! I'm so sorry: there's clearly been a miscommunication. Due to budget, time and venue limitations, we're keeping the guestlist quite small and have therefore only invited those we can actually accommodate. This means we just can't invite everyone we'd like, as much as we'd love to — we do not have room for any extras on the guestlist. I'm so terribly sorry that we can't extend an invitation to son/gf/ the rest of your family at this time, and even more sorry about this miscommunication. I hope you can understand and do let me know if this impacts your original RSVP for yourself."

  35. I'm so grateful to this site for wonderful articles (and comments) like the ones found here. My invitations just went out, and already I'm having issues. I actually had a coworker (and employee, actually) tell me that she was bringing some of her friends whom I don't even know because they have another wedding earlier in the day. I was so WTAF that I didn't say anything… and still haven't.

    My other issues is that I don't speak to my mother. She's very bad news and would make me so unhappy if she were a part of my life. She is so into drama that I can totally see her just showing up. I'm already on edge about it. My brother and his family know she's not invited, but with wedding websites and such I'm sure she can discover the details. Luckily, if she does pull a stunt (and the wedding is a plane ride away from her, so it would mean some serious planning on her part) I will have the people I love most around me to help me through it

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