The Road to Mrs. – Guest List Invitations and Seating, Oh My!

It is amazing how many presumptive inquiries Mr. DrummerBoy and I began receiving after announcing our engagement. Questions like “Have you picked your colors yet? I like to try and coordinate with the wedding party” and statements like “I hope you’re inviting a good proportion of single men and women so that I can meet someone.” Ummm…Really? Despite these being some of the less subtle inquiries, it became clear that given our chosen budget and venue not all who expected invites would make the final guest list. Many websites offer several tips and strategies for deciding who to invite like this handy flowchart above Triple B posted on their Facebook page last year.

Although helpful, ultimately the bride and groom have to decide who they want to share the day with. For Mr. Drummer Boy and I, we decided that this includes his family (mostly aunts, uncles and close first cousins), my family (all 10 of them), several of my close friends (I am a social butterfly.) and a handful of his friends.

The next question was how to handle the infamous +1’s? In addition to having an adult-only reception, we decided that we would limit +1’s to those guests in known long-term relationships. Perhaps not in line with etiquette, it just didn’t seem right having strangers (read: random dates) attend such an intimate event when we are unable to extend an invitation to several family members and friends.
Once our list was finalized (with about 150 people), I was still a little uneasy about the fact that there were several people who I knew would love to celebrate with us and have been very supportive throughout our relationship. So once again throwing etiquette to the wind, I made the decision to invite a few uninvited wedding guests to my bridal shower explaining our dilemma. I’m happy to report that these invitations were met with genuine excitement and understanding. Next up, invitation drama…stay tuned!

How did you make decisions around your guest list? Did you follow etiquette or rebel like us?

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  1. So how are you wording the whole plus one thing on your invites…Great idea just sure of how it word work…

  2. Bridgette Bridgette says:

    Jackie, I’m curious too. ;-)

  3. Hi ladies! I’ll be sure to share in next week’s post where I’ll talk about all things ‘invitations’…stay tuned ;-)

  4. People have to remember that ‘etiquette’ is not meant to make anyone feel badly. It is a system of traditions which were passed down to ensure clear communication and understanding in social situations. Unfortunately, a LOT of it was not ‘passed down’ in our community. The issue of +1 is easy- if your name isn’t on the inside envelope, you’re not invited. Sorry but, I’m not sorry. Each couple has a budget and venue’s legal maximum occupancy to consider and guests should NOT presume to be invited. My wedding is much larger than B’s and I still will have to be clear about who is invited to the reception. When guests presume they can bring a +1, they can incur additional expense for the bride and groom since venues will often demand cash or card to pay for those extras on the day of your affair. How gauche to have to deal with such a mundane matter on your wedding day…(that’s a little plug for having a good, problem-solving wedding planner on your side).

    Kudos to B for having the courage to break the tradition slightly but also be kind enough to explain the arrangement. This goes a long way toward preventing rumors about who was invited to what and why.

  5. I actually had the same issues when it came to invitations. The wording on our invitations actually states there are _ seats reserved in your honor (already typed in). I felt the same way about having random plus ones when certain family couldn’t be there. Good luck with the wedding invitations!!

  6. When we got married we decided it was our day and we invited who we wanted and did not invite people we did not want to spend the day with period!

  7. Avatar Zenobia Hatcher-Wilson says:

    Thank you Ronda: “The issue of +1 is easy- if your name isn’t on the inside envelope, you’re not invited.” The answer is very simple but I agree the bride should not have to deal with this situation. When you receive the RSVP cards back with additional names or numbers a call should be placed by the wedding planner or the bride or groom’s mother (depending upon whose list the offender is on). It requires tact but must be done so that unintended numbers do not show up at the reception.

  8. Everyone: listen up when “Aunt Zee” is talking!
    I’m glad for that advice so that if people try to improvise on the response card, I know who to delegate corrections to.

  9. Avatar SpikesDtr says:

    What I know for sure; you can’t please everyone. The one that gets hurt when you try, is you. It’s your day, “do you.” Diplomatically, of course.

  10. Bridgette Bridgette says:

    Thank you all for the thoughtful feedback to Nae’s post. Your responses have confirmed that I will personally post more specifically about the “plus one” wedding issue in the near future.

  11. Avatar Carla A. Nelson says:

    This is one of the best articles I’ve read and can use!! My fiance has so many relatives that live in the area and they are all close. Family cookouts are mini reunions, so when it comes to deciding who is on our list, we had to stop at 300! Yes I know that’s allot, but we don’t know how to pare it down any further! I like your idea of inviting those to your wedding shower that you cannot invite to the wedding. I reaaly like your suggestion of the guest +1 – you are so correct about bringing a “new” or “casual” date to such an intimate and private affair. This one is a keeper!

  12. I think it’s perfectly fine to limit +1’s. Your friends will understand that you have a budget to adhere to. I will say that when I’m invited to an out-of-town wedding, I like to bring a guest and make a weekend trio out of it. PLus, your out-of-town guests will be able to split hotel and gas bills.

  13. Hmm, this can be tricky. I had a total of about 250 to attend my wedding…which was half of what my parents wanted. We probably invited 300 which was a huge compromise and you better believe that I STILL my mother talking a bit of junk about not inviting everyone on her list, lol. I can GUARANTEE that everyone you invite will not be able to make it. That is when you are able to implement your backup guests in to the equation. My mother was even calling people the week before letting them know that a few family members wouldn’t be able to attend and that they could come. You better believe that we had at least 20 people from List B (for lack of a better term) that showed up with a week (or less) notice. Everyone was just happy to celebrate with us. We still had about two tables that were empty due to things that happened the day of that didn’t allow them to be there.

  14. Bridgette Bridgette says:

    @Carla, Heather & Karen – Thank you all for commenting. I have just come to the conclusion that in these situations, someone’s feelings are probably going to get hurt. Even if you had an unlimited budget and guest list, somehow, someway, someone would be offended. I think at some point you have to choose your battles. I’m thankful my fiance and I have come to some sort of agreement on this and our mothers have, too. We have bigger fish to fry. Too much focus on the minutia of a wedding can take away from marriage planning. I know that might seem weird coming from a bridal blogger but marriage planning always trumps wedding planning at the end of the day.

  15. “marriage planning always trumps wedding planning at the end of the day” THIS sums it up quite nicely! Thanks all for your feedback ;-)

  16. It has not been an easy task but you two are working it… Even though we have family all over the country, they understand… I support your decisions.. Love Mom


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