Wedding Planning

How to Handle Unexpected Extra Guests at Your Wedding

How to Handle Unexpected Extra Guests at Your Wedding


You’ve spent countless hours laboring over your guest list. Concessions were made. Deals were struck. Relationships were questioned (okay, maybe not that far…). So, when your wedding day rolls around and your guest count is off, it’s bound to be frustrating. Here’s how you can handle it.





Stay on top of your RSVP list.


When your RSVP request date has come and gone and a good portion of your guest list is still radio-silent, then you’ve got a problem. If you have your bridal party help with one wedding task, it’s this one. Have your bridesmaids check in with those you haven’t heard from yet.  For those they aren’t able to get a hold of, you’re going to need to make an educated guess. Your college roommate who seemed completely excited about your wedding but is known for being a little flaky? Pencil her in. That second cousin you haven’t seen since the Clinton administration? Yeah, probably not.  Do your best and then give yourself some cushion by setting a few extra places around the table for plus one surprises and guests that just assumed you were psychic.




You didn’t invite them.


From wedding crasher strangers to estranged relatives, it’s never optimal to look around the crowd of nearest and dearest to spot these unwelcome guests. So, how do you handle it if it happens?  For wedding crashers, normally just send over a groomsman to tell them to hit the bricks. Most of the time these people just want a good story, and when confronted, will leave a bit sheepishly.  If you suspect that a relative or friend who wasn’t invited will crash your wedding, let your groom know ahead of time (you don’t want to have to explain the Stolen Boyfriend Saga of 2008 when your frenemy walks triumphantly into the room).  Whether it is your father or a friend from high school, you have to decide which way to handle it–what’s going to interfere with your joy the least, so to speak?  You’re completely within your rights to confront them, but is that going to make you feel better? You could also set down a place setting at a far flung table and ignore them all night, but will their mere presence annoy you?  My advice is to send someone to politely ask them to leave, and to simply not interact with them directly that day.  They are there to spoil your occasion. Don’t give them what they want.




They are obstinately ignoring your plus one/no children policy.


I’m continually amazed at the number of people who turn a simple wedding request into some sort of philosophical oppression. Just because you were invited to a wedding and your kids were not included does not mean that the bride doesn’t respect the sanctity of family. It means she doesn’t want to lose her deposit because of juice box stains all over the floor.  So, when your loved ones ignore a request that was most likely based on practical reasons like your budget, it can be really hurtful.  If your brother ends up bringing his children, not only will you be hit with unexpected guests, but also a flurry of, ‘I thought children weren’t invited,’ for the rest of the evening. Thanks, bro.  The best way to handle this is to prepare for it.  Expect that a few of your friends and family are going to ignore the fine print, and give knowing looks to guests that come up to question it.  Your guests will figure it out and think the better of you for handling it with grace. And then at Christmas, you should give your brother’s children the loudest and most obnoxious toys you can find.