First, I’ll cover the reasons you would limit your guests, and then I’ll cover how to write the RSVP. Limiting guests can be a touchy subject and can be the cause of a lot of stress when planning your wedding. I’ve seen more drama over the invite list that anything else. Make sure you and your fiancé discuss the guest list and are on the same page when it comes to budget, capacity and rules.
There are pretty much two reasons you want to limit your guests from brining a guest:
1) Personal Choice
Most etiquette guides will tell you that if you want to invite your cousin Jennie you must allow her to bring her unpleasant boyfriend to your wedding. Not allowing your cousin to bring her chosen plus one is the same as telling her you do not approve of her choice. I will say from experience working with other brides that not allowing someone at your wedding can make the event about the fact that “that person” was not invited, and has the possibility of taking attention away from your beautiful day. So make sure you and your fiancé talk about who and why you are limiting at your wedding and if the fuss will be worth it.
There are other reasons that many couples decide to limit the “plus ones” at their wedding, and its simple- Budget. It’s not that you don’t approve of your cousin’s boyfriend, but you just don’t want to fork over $35 to feed someone you’ve never meet. If budget is the issue, make sure you and your fiancé lay down some rules as to who can bring a guest, and stick to your set rules! Other guests will take note if you bend the rules for one family member and not others.
Tips to keep in mind:
If you are going to limit your guests from brining a plus one you need to set a rule across the board. I’ve had brides limit guests who live with their boyfriends to bring them; if they are not co-habituating they are not invited to bring a guest. Remember- you can’t allow one family member to bring a boyfriend and not another simply because you don’t like them. This is a quick way to bring drama to your wedding.
I’ve had some brides place guests that have the most concern about near the back away from the front tables. I’ve also had brides assign another family member to keep the guest in question busy and occupied during the event.
I’ve also had brides that wanted to limit children at their weddings and made a rule of “no one under 16 can attend”. Make sure your fiancé does not have any relatives that are 14 or 15 that would be hurt by such a rule.
How to write the RSVPs
Now that you and your fiancé have figured out where you will draw the line on who can bring a guest and who cannot you can start writing the language of the RSVPs.
I’ve had brides get pretty creative with these little return cards. They key is to remain positive and stay away from phrases like “Limited to invited guests only” or “Due to budget you are not allowed to bring a guests”
Here are a few ideas:
1) Write their names on the card
- This makes it pretty clear who is invited.
Please RSVP by September 1st, 2011
Mr. Robert Hawthorne ___Will Be Attending ___ Regretfully Declines
2) Write the number of guests invited on the RSVP
- This is good for families that say have a newborn and a toddler. Letting them know the invitation is only for 2 people makes it pretty clear.
Please RSVP by September 1st, 2011
___Out Of 2 Will Be Attending
___ Regretfully Declines
Some of the hardest work and planning comes from managing the guests list. Keep in mind that despite all your hard work and actions some guests will inevitably not listen and bring a guest or their child. Some will cancel and the last minute and others will let you know the day before they are coming. Remember you can only control so much, so let go as the wedding day nears and enjoy the day, it’s all about you and your fiancé (despite what Aunt Sally tells you).