Guest List Etiquette...help?

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KozakFindley Posts : 1 Registered: 5/7/10
Guest List Etiquette...help?
Posted: May 26, 2010 3:35 PM

Planning a destination wedding for next February in the Alps of Switzerland. Guest list is about 20 people, which includes only parents, siblings, and our very closest friends. We have decided not to invite +1's if our friends do not have spouses or fiances because our intent is that this is a very small, inimate event and we don't want "strangers." We also plan to have a party the summer after we return home for the rest of our friends and family. The groom's sister is throwing a fit that we are not allowing +1's. She is demanding that we allow her to bring a friend (who is not a friend of myself or the groom) and then saying we are being rude by not allowing her to do so.

Is she right? What are the rules of etiquette in this case?

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agd1017 Posts : 464 Registered: 9/14/09
Re: Guest List Etiquette...help?
Posted: May 26, 2010 5:57 PM Go to message in response to: KozakFindley

In general, I think that it's YOUR wedding and you should decide who is there and who isn't. That includes dates and +1's. However, you are asking your guests to travel half-way across the globe to attend your wedding. I am leaning towards allowing the friend of your sister to come.

I am having a destination wedding, though not as far as yours. We live in Iowa and are getting married in Las Vegas. We only want family and close friends to be there. However, some of my FH's friends are going to Las Vegas at the same time we are, and just aren't going to the wedding. The night of the wedding all the "young folk" (read: no parents) are going out on the town to party, and his friends will be there for that.

Maybe you can come up with a compromise?

Amanda and Eric
10/10/10

Amanda and Eric

 

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MikaylaK Posts : 53 Registered: 5/23/10
Re: Guest List Etiquette...help?
Posted: May 26, 2010 7:30 PM Go to message in response to: agd1017

I'd also like to hear thoughts on this, as I'm in a similar situation. I'm getting married in France, and a friend of mine back home says she wants to come WITH a firend. I already told her we are not inviting anyone with guest, but she doesn't seem to be listening to me. She even offered to pay for his dish, which is not even the point.

What do you do in such cases?

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: Guest List Etiquette...help?
Posted: May 27, 2010 3:46 PM Go to message in response to: KozakFindley

Ladies,

For an in-town or close-by wedding, it is perfectly acceptable to not entertain "guests of guests". You must invite spouses and fiancé(e)s, but you need not invite boyfriends, live-in people, dates or other significant others.

A person with a boyfriend can just not see that boyfriend that particular night. No big deal.

A destination wedding is an entirely different story, however. You are asking your guests to buy an expensive plane ticket, travel a long distance and pay for hotels and other expenses just to witness your wedding. This is not just a matter of a few hours on Saturday night at the local church or hotel. Your guests are committing themselves to days of their time and, literally, thousands of their dollars.

I cannot imagine anyone would go on such a trip to just attend the wedding, then turn around and go straight back home. If I were invited to such a destination wedding, I would combine the wedding with some other trip, such as staying in Europe for another week or going on to some other interesting location. In other words, I would make your wedding just one stop on an extended vacation. Furthermore, I would probably not want to go on that vacation alone, especially not if I had a boyfriend.

The guest with a boyfriend has the option of traveling with the boyfriend, then leaving the boyfriend alone for just the few hours she is involved with the wedding. Then, the couple could continue on with their vacation, independent of your wedding. That would be OK if you expect your guests to be available only for a few hours.

If, however, your destination wedding involves various dinners, parties and other activities over a few days (typical of a destination wedding), then it would be very awkward for the boyfriend to have to find something else to do during those times.

In other words, although I totally agree with the concept of not wanting "guests of guests" attend your wedding, I also think it a bit much to expect a person in a relationship to give up days of her vacation time and thousands of her dollars to travel to your wedding without her boyfriend.

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MikaylaK Posts : 53 Registered: 5/23/10
Re: Guest List Etiquette...help?
Posted: May 27, 2010 4:40 PM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

Thanks for that, AOTB :) I do realize it is difficult and all. Perhaps I'm just prematurely stressing about keeping a guest list short.

And yes, I do realize that for my friend it will be a big expense if she were to come (she plans to incorporate the wedding into her Euro-trip), and she wants to come with her best friend. I'll see how things develop as time moves on, because yes, I'd rather have her there with guest, than not have her because she's angry for not being able to bring him.

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: Guest List Etiquette...help?
Posted: May 28, 2010 12:03 AM Go to message in response to: MikaylaK

Dear Mik,

Yes, I understand your desire to keep the guest list small. For an in-town wedding, I'd be with you 100%. I think in this case, you might want to be a bit more flexible, since you are asking a lot of your guests.

Besides, he might be a really nice guy and become a good friend in the future.

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cyndi33 Posts : 2,585 Registered: 1/3/07
Re: Guest List Etiquette...help?
Posted: Jun 1, 2010 5:57 PM Go to message in response to: KozakFindley

If the wedding were local, then she would be wrong. Since you are making people travel as you are, then she's right. She shouldn't throw a fit, but I can assure you I would not travel like that by myself for a wedding. And I'd be pretty irritated if anyone insisted I do so. Destination weddings are expensive, and a travel commitment (and possibly forgoing vacation) for guests. I'd skip it in the situation both you and another poster described. It'd be fun with a guest, but otherwise no go. And even then, I'd not be thrilled if there was a bunch of wedding stuff I had to attend also. I'm not a big fan of group travel. And, that's what a destination wedding is, for the guests. So I'd try to be pretty accomodating to those who actually agree to go.

 Proud Member of P.O.O.P.,  People Offended by Offended People

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jmd22 Posts : 125 Registered: 7/17/08
Re: Guest List Etiquette...help?
Posted: Jun 3, 2010 1:35 PM Go to message in response to: KozakFindley

My fiance and I live in Southern California and are having our wedding in Northern Idaho (4 weeks from Saturday--ahhhhh!! :) We also wanted to keep our wedding small, and invited just family and close friends. Because it is a destination wedding, we knew that people would most likely not want to come by themselves, so we invited our single friends with +1s. I also made sure to personally tell these friends that they were more than welcome to bring a friend along if they wanted. I put myself in their shoes and thought about how I would have felt when I was single, if I was invited to a destination wedding, especially if I didn't really know many other people who would be attending. There will be a few different wedding-related events during the weekend, along with some free time as well, and really, who wants to do stuff like that all by themselves??

Obviously, your budget will determine whether or not you can afford to invite these extra people or not, but if not, just be prepared that a lot of your single friends may not want to make the trip!

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Moxiebaby Posts : 24 Registered: 6/18/09
Re: Guest List Etiquette...help?
Posted: Jun 11, 2010 3:18 PM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

I must have no sense of etiquette because it think it's totally UNacceptable to invite a guest without his or her boyfriend/girlfriend/SO/live-in love. How rude is that! "I'm getting married but you have to go stag to my wedding just because YOU're not getting married?" rude rude rude. Being married to your partner is not a criteria to bring a guest to my wedding. It's a party after all! The more the merrier!



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cyndi33 Posts : 2,585 Registered: 1/3/07
Re: Guest List Etiquette...help?
Posted: Jun 11, 2010 5:42 PM Go to message in response to: Moxiebaby

I agree, and we did not follow the no ring no bring rule. People can use it, and rely on etiquette rules to do so, in order to save money. But, since I would not attend a wedding solo, I also would not expect a guest to do so, and particularly not a destination wedding.

Although it is acceptable per etiquette rules to enforce no ring no bring, I would plan a wedding I can afford that would allow me to invite the plus one person, whomever that may be.

There are a lot of people out there who don't do so however. In that case, I'd just decline the invite if I were the guest.

 Proud Member of P.O.O.P.,  People Offended by Offended People

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: Guest List Etiquette...help?
Posted: Jun 11, 2010 6:10 PM Go to message in response to: Moxiebaby

Dear Moxie,

"I must have no sense of etiquette because it think it's totally UNacceptable to invite a guest without his or her boyfriend/girlfriend/SO/live-in love."

The problem is that the host then has to somehow distinguish between a Lifetime True Love couple who are living together and a Just Met Last Night couple who don't know each others' last names yet.

" It's a party after all! The more the merrier! "

Sure, and those with an unlimited budget can invite tons of people they don't even know. Why not?

Many couples, however, have to plan their wedding within a budget. That means they look, carefully, at the list to see who can be included. Many painful decisions have to be made. Many couples have to carefully evaluate each and every guest, since each plated dinner can be $75 to $100.

That means, in order to invite the guy you met at a party a week ago, my Uncle Fred has to be left out.

The Etiquette Bottom Line is No Ring No Bring. That's the minimum. You cannot invite a wife without a husband, nor an engaged man without his fiancée. If you have more money, then great, invite more people.

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cyndi33 Posts : 2,585 Registered: 1/3/07
Re: Guest List Etiquette...help?
Posted: Jun 11, 2010 7:02 PM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

True, but couples can also choose to budget accordingly, cut relatives they never see except at weddings or funerals, invite friends, etc, they DO like, and let them bring one guest. That's what we did. I know the rule exists, but I'd not go to a wedding that followed it because, I would be BORED TO DEATH if I had to go to a wedding by myself.

I know the rule exists, but I find it distasteful to enforce. There are always ways to cut costs so that you could accomodate some plus ones. Just because an etiquette rule exists does not mean it's a good rule or one that should continue to be a rule. This rule has nothing to do with politeness and all to do with cheapness, imo.

 Proud Member of P.O.O.P.,  People Offended by Offended People

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: Guest List Etiquette...help?
Posted: Jun 11, 2010 7:50 PM Go to message in response to: cyndi33

Dear Cyndi,

I actually agree with you. I would much prefer to host an event where inviting friends, relatives, sig-others, boyfriends, etc., is no problem. I am a great believer in looking at the money you have, making a list of the people you want to invite, then dividing to get cost per person. THEN, go out and plan an event that costs that much per person. Result: You invite the people you want to invite and you stay within budget. (1) Budget then (2) guest list then (3) party details.

A lot of people do it backwards, in my opinion. They have their "Dream Wedding" in mind, complete with $100/plate meals. Then they figure on how many they can invite, then make up a guest list. (1) Party details then (2) budget then (3) guest list.

Given, however, that people have limitations and given that even with ruthless budgeting, some couples are forced to trim a guest list, we have to ask ourselves? Who are the first to be dropped off? Any "casual dates" would be the first candidates for deletion, in my opinion, followed by short-term bf/gf, etc.

"but I'd not go to a wedding that followed it because, I would be BORED TO DEATH if I had to go to a wedding by myself. "

If I were single, and if I were invited to a wedding without a boyfriend that I might have at the time, I would ask myself how much do I want to attend? If I truly believed I would be bored to death at a party where I only know the bride (who is rather busy) and if I believed I could not make interesting conversation with at least a few of the other guests, then I would most likely decline the invitation.

But, stop and think. If the wedding is really that dreadful with a room full of boring people, would having a boyfriend along with me make it that much better? What am I supposed to do, sit and talk with my boyfriend all night? I can do that at home.

However, if the wedding had at least a few interesting guests, I do believe I could engage them in some kind of interesting conversation. A good party hostess (ie the bride's mother) might introduce me to a couple of people that she thinks I might enjoy. "I'd like you to meet my Uncle Fred. He collects stamps, just like you do." Well, at least I have something in common with Uncle Fred, and that should lead to Uncle Fred finding out that I went to Switzerland last year, and introducing me to his daughter who is just back from Zurich. (etc etc)

*****

The original post concerned a destination wedding, and the desire of various guests to bring someone along on the trip. As I mentioned earlier, this is an entirely different situation than an in-town wedding. I can attend an in-town wedding and spend a couple of hours talking to Uncle Fred about stamps and Cousin Dora about alpine yodeling.

I am not, however, all that thrilled at the idea of spending $$$ to travel to a distant destination then $$$ for several days' ground costs and have to do so alone, just because the bride wants a "small" wedding. If I am expected to pay two grand just to transport self and luggage to the wedding location, then I think the bride can be flexible about me bringing a boyfriend. The boyfriend need not attend the ceremony itself, but I would be really ticked off if the bride threw a fit upon seeing me and boyfriend at the hotel breakfast table or the hotel pool.

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cyndi33 Posts : 2,585 Registered: 1/3/07
Re: Guest List Etiquette...help?
Posted: Jun 11, 2010 9:19 PM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

AOTB, I agree.

And yes, if everyone there was dull, it'd be unappealing but, when I"m the single one around a bunch of couples the issue for me is I am not that outgoing, and, I'd be pretty uncomfortable being "the single one" and interrupting or being the 'third wheel', especially at a wedding which is romantic and well, that kind of event.

Honestly, to us it was just more important to have the wedding we could afford that would allow us to share the day with those closest to us (and it was a small wedding) and also, let our kids participate and finally, still have enough to pay for our honeymoon. We also wanted to feed the guests a full meal, and provide beverages that those who did drink and those who did not, could enjoy. And, offer a little bit of dancing for those who wanted it. Could of had one heck of a private, destination wedding on our own with lengthy honeymoon had we chosen that, but the priority was to include our families as well. So we made a compromise with a shorter honeymoon that would allow us to do both. For us, our compromise was something that mostly affected us, and not our guests. And, that is how we wanted it to be.

And, since the OP was about a destination wedding, there is even more reason to allow a guest to bring a guest, ring or no. In that situation, there is no doubt in my mind that I'd decline. Attending a destination wedding is a huge commitment to ask anyone to make, imo.


 Proud Member of P.O.O.P.,  People Offended by Offended People

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: Guest List Etiquette...help?
Posted: Jun 12, 2010 12:00 AM Go to message in response to: cyndi33

Dear Cyndi,

"couples the issue for me is I am not that outgoing, and, I'd be pretty uncomfortable being "the single one" "

My step-mother could talk to anyone about anything. She really had the gift of gab. I watched her in action at my grandmother's birthday party. She turned on the charm to one gentleman who resembled a clam his lips were pursed shut so tight. If she could get him to open up, she could talk to anyone.

Her trick: Ask people about their job. Then, ask all the questions you can think about that line of work. Worst case scenario: at least you'll learn a lot about some profession.

"Sword Swallower? My, that is so interesting. Tell me, how ever did you get into that line of work? I just know there's a story there somewhere."

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