Undesired Guest {Wedding Etiquette}

Monday, April 8, 2013
"The good guest is almost invisible, enjoying him or herself, communing with fellow guests, and, most of all, enjoying the generous hospitality of the hosts."- Emily Post
Finalizing your wedding guest list can be a challenge, especially if you have budget restrictions, but what do you do when you have to invite people you don’t like to your wedding?   This is a question a bride I know was recently pondering. The first question I asked is What Would Emily Post Do (WWEPD)? Then I asked what would I do under the advisement of Emily Post circa 2013? 

Family gets a pass because they are family (and you can’t exactly pick them), while other guest -- like coworkers or your future husband’s old college buddies are harder to prioritize.  Some individuals can be a nuisance but what about those that just behave badly?  How do you tolerate the wild and crazy unwanted spouse of a groomsman?  

We all have a few people in our friendship circle that can be described as unpredictable but what if that person is married to someone in your bridal party?

Proper etiquette and just plain old courtesy dictates that you invite the groomsman’s spouse.  When you invite someone who is married, engaged or in a live-in relationship, it is proper to invite the spouse or partner.  The good news is you have options that can help minimize the risk. 

Gauge likelihood – You don’t like her and there is a chance that she doesn’t like you. She may not want to attend your wedding anyway.  Finding out level of interest may be helpful.

Talk to the groomsman - In this case the unwanted guest is married to a friend of the groom.  A friend to friend conversation may be necessary!  Chances are if she is as bad as you think her husband knows and has been here before. Take stock in the fact that you only have to put up with her for a few hours (he is married to her for eternity).  Your future husband should just have talk with his friend and explain that you are concerned about the unpredictable nature of his wife.  The invitation may have been extended for both of them but unless he can guarantee she will be on her best behavior it might be best if she stays home.  If that is too uncomfortable for your future husband to do, go to plan B.

Adjust your seating chart accordingly (Plan B) – If attendance is definite, you can integrate your wedding party into general seating and just have a sweetheart table.  Or seat her in the back with other undesirables. You stay away from her and she stays away from you!

Share resources (House Rules) - you can take a buckshot approach (or be more direct if you prefer) and share resources for all guests aside from hotels, parking info and itinerary. Post Do’s and Don’ts on your wedding website for your guests based on your style or have a house rules sign at your venue (like restaurants use).  Make it fun and less antagonizing. Huffington post has a great article, Wedding Etiquette: The Do’s and Don’ts of Being a Guest!   Just make sure she gets a hard copy! 

Avoidance- Throw etiquette to the wind, and just don’t invite them (it’s your wedding you can do what you want to) or as a last resort if it is too late, you can provide explanation for rescinding an invitation. Blame your budget, blame the venue, or blame the weather (whatever works for you).  Off Beat Bride has some great tips including 10 blunt-but-loving ways to tell people they're not invited to your wedding.

Positive Perspective – aside from physical altercations (highly unlikely) what can one person really do to ruin your wedding day? It is a party so enjoy the moment even the not so great parts of the moment.  Enjoy the fact that you may have a crazy story to tell once it is all said and done.   Find the positive and don’t sweat the small stuff or the unwanted guest. Charles R. Swindoll said it best “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it”! 

Just remember you are getting married! The thought of unwanted guests can be a stressor but it doesn’t have to ruin your big day! 


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