You collected RSVP cards (you even numbered them so you'd know who forgot to include their name!), called and emailed to follow up, and finally sent that wedding guest count to the caterer. And then it happens: That person you were so, so sure wasn't coming to your wedding is making a beeline straight for you after the ceremony, to both give you a hug and let you know they couldn't find their escort card. Now what?! Here's how our experts say you should handle an unexpected guest at your wedding.
It's not an ideal situation, but thankfully wedding vendors are totally prepared to handle the arrival of someone you weren't expecting at your wedding. The caterer always has a few extra meals on-hand, and even if the plates won't match and the chair is a standard banquet instead of the gold chivaris you rented, it can be squeezed in at the one table where you had nine guests instead of 10. So thankfully, accommodating an extra guests isn't too much of a logistical hassle.
Of course, you're busy! You're in the middle of having your wedding! So don't take any of this upon yourself. Talk to your planner or the venue's banquet manager and let them know that you'll need to add a guest to one of the tables. Then let them take over: They can communicate with the other vendors, as well as gracefully let your surprise attendee know where he or she will be sitting. If the unexpected guest is a distant family member, but Grandma's table is full, see if one of your younger cousins wouldn't mind grabbing a seat with your college buddies so Aunt Mable can sit with the folks she knows. Sure, it might be a little cozier at that table than you'd planned, but that's what weddings are about, right?
Now let the pros handle it, and get back to cocktail hour!