Larry James' CelebrateIntimateWeddings BLOG

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Sorry! You Can’t Come to My Wedding!

Let begin here. Adult people should know that invitations are addressed “only” to those who are invited. If the invitation says “Ms. Sally Jones,” only Sally is invited. If the invitation says “Ms. Sally Jones and Guest,” then Sally may bring a guest of her choosing. That’s the rule! Emily Post and many others have made this clear for years.

It really is wrong for an invitee to add an uninvited plus-one. That is beyond rude and is manner-less. If you ignore the problem, your continuing resentment may bubble to the surface when you see these outlaw relatives on your wedding day. It’s entirely up to you whether you say nothing or speak up, but speaking up is the right thing to do.

WEDnotInvitedWhat do you do when an uninvited guest RSVPs for the wedding you didn’t invite them to attend?

Of the many Wedding Planners I spoke with, most feel that you have every right to call those guests and simply tell them that you’re sorry if there was any confusion, but they were not invited with a guest. I would hope they would understand, but if you get some push back, stand your ground, be firm. Some people are just clueless. If space or expense are an issue you will need to tell them you’re sorry but there can be no exceptions. You have the right to graciously not accept the uninvited.

It’s important to make sure your rule (no invitation means you are not invited or no plus one or adult reception) is communicated clearly to your guests, so that no one is left wondering who is invited and who is not. On the invitation itself, the wording on the inner and outer envelopes spell out your intention. Some will put on the bottom of the invitation, “Adults Only Ceremony and Reception,” however most agree that this is improper etiquette and you should assign this task to someone in the bridal party to pass the news. For the plus 1 issue, only address the invitation to who you want to invite and on the RSVP card, consider putting, “One seat has been reserved for you” instead of how many will be attending.

Here are two suggestions from Jordan McBride. You could say:

1. “We’ve always imagined our wedding as a very small gathering of loved ones. As one of my oldest friends, I really hope you can respect that. We’re looking forward to getting to know your new boyfriend when we return from our honeymoon!”

2. “We just received your RSVP in the mail and we’re thrilled you’re coming to our wedding! Unfortunately, our budget/venue won’t accommodate children, so you’ll have to leave them home for the evening. May I help you find a sitter?”

Ariel Meadow Stallings from says, “How you want to approach your response can depend on which angle you want to take. Whatever you do, don’t get into the specifics of how many people you’re inviting or how you’re choosing guests. Keep it vague and loving.”

Blame the budget ~ “Due to tight limitations on our budget, we’ve had to be pretty brutal in chopping down our guestlist. I’m so sad that you won’t be there with us on the day, but we look forward to catching up afterwards!” Read more responses at

What about non-responses to your wedding invitations? It is never safe to assume a guest is attending or not. People seem to have forgotten the importance of RSVPs, so the best thing to do is call or ask a friend to call and ask whether the invitee/s is/are attending or not. This precludes the awkwardness of having invited guests who haven’t responded show up and being unprepared. See more at:

Emily Post says, “Here is the last word is about RSVP – French for “Repondez s’il vous plait” or, in plain English, “Please reply.” These little letters are the not-so-secret code that you should call or write your host within a day or two of receiving an invitation to let them know if you can attend or not. All invitations have some sort of a reply mechanism – an enclosed card, a phone number, an e-mail address or a mailing address. A prompt reply is a basic courtesy.

If you feel you’ve done everything you can and you are still stressing out, assign this task to your maid or matron of honor. If you feel she may not be someone who can handle this gracefully, pass the crisis on to your wedding planner. That’s why you hired the wedding planner.

BONUS Articles: What to Include (Etiquette Wise) With Your Wedding Invitations
Répondez s’il vous plaît! – RSVP
How To Deal With Wedding Guests Who Don’t RSVP On Time
What to do When an Uninvited Guest RSVPs for the Wedding You Didn’t Invite Them to Attend?
Hiring a Wedding Planner: Why It’s a Good Idea
Sorry, I Don’t Need a Wedding Consultant… My Venue Has One!


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Copyright © 2014 – Larry James. This information is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website and Wedding Blog. Larry James is a non-denominational minister and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. You will find more than 475 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: Check Larry’s availability.

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