How To Deal With Unwanted Wedding Guests

By Guest Contributor Dakota Murphey

How To Deal With Unwanted Wedding Guests

(Image: iStock)

Your wedding day has to be perfect – it’s the best day of your life! And while the bride and grooms’ families and close friends will be there to witness the start of their life together, what about the people you don’t particularly want to invite? Can you not invite some people?

What about those you just don’t like, or who turn up without an invitation? What about little children? Guests who drink too much?

These can be tricky situations to deal with, but with a bit of guidance, restraint and proper etiquette it is possible to handle even the most delicate of issues without letting them spoil your Big Day.

Invited Guests Who Ask To Bring A Friend

Don’t let any of your friends or relatives make you feel guilty because they want to invite a friend (or two) to your wedding. A good way to deal with this is to tell them that the catering numbers have already been confirmed and your beautiful venue just can’t accommodate any more guests.

If you struggle to turn down these requests in case you upset someone, then it’s probably best to ask one of your best man or someone involved in the planning of your wedding to oversee the RSVP’s and handle requests for uninvited guests.

Having said that, you should always carefully consider the circumstances of the request. If a close friend or relative of yours has become engaged, or moved in with a boyfriend, since the wedding invitations were sent out, then you should welcome them to your wedding and reception. Since there are always a few invited guests who don’t arrive even though they confirmed their attendance, you’ll have some extra seats available for just such an eventuality.

Guests Who Show Up Uninvited

How To Deal With Unwanted Wedding Guests

You may find that cousin Julie has brought along a friend to the wedding ceremony even though he or she wasn’t invited. Other relatives may appear with adult children who weren’t included on the guest list. Unless you know they’re going to cause problems, it’s best to accept their presence with charm and grace.

However, your wedding reception is a different matter. You’re quite within your rights to instruct your security personnel to turn these people away as well as anyone else who isn’t on the guest list. Be polite and explain that you’ve allowed for a fixed number of guests to be catered for, and that it’s just not possible to accommodate them without notice (see above).

Guests Who Get Too Drunk

Although you love your aunt Rose and uncle Robert dearly, Robert has a problem holding his drink. And because you don’t want him offending other guests, poking his fingers into your wedding cake, or acting like a complete imbecile on the dance floor, ask a member of your family to keep a close eye on him. If he really steps out of line, then have him removed as quickly and quietly as possible.

For very large receptions where alcohol is served, you could hire a few bouncers and let them discreetly remove any guests who become belligerent, rude, or too loud and overbearing.

Guests Whose Live-In Partner You Can’t Stand

 In today’s world, two people who live together without the benefit of marriage are generally accepted as a couple. To invite a friend or relative but exclude their live-in partner is not the done thing no matter how you feel about the live-in partner. He or she is still your friend or family member’s chosen partner.

It is therefore good manners to include them on the wedding invitation, and try not to allow this person’s presence to ruin your celebrations. Although it’s a courtesy for the bride and groom to welcome each of their guests at the reception, you don’t have to spend much time with each. Have a quick word, then excuse yourself and move on to your other guests.

Guests Whose Children Are Not Invited

How To Deal With Unwanted Wedding Guests

This is always a tricky one. Some wedding couples are happy to have children at their wedding, while others prefer the celebrations to be more grown up without the need for child friendliness. If you don’t want to invite children to your wedding and reception, make sure you clearly state this on the invitations.

While some guests will be happy to leave their children with a babysitter, others may be upset. No matter what, you should stand your ground and tell any parents who threaten not to come unless their children are with them, that you’re very sorry but that’s how it is, and you’ll miss their presence on your special day. Make sure to send your invitations out far enough ahead of your wedding date so that parents have time to arrange for a sitter.


Dakota Murphey; BA (Hons) Marketing graduate, freelance writer and Photoshop dab hand. When she's not running around after her two kids, you’ll find her relaxing in a nearby coffee shop, watching the world pass her by. If you enjoyed this article, see what else she's been up to on Twitter - @Dakota_Murphey.

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