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we all know how awkward it can be to have surprise guests show up to a party...

But when it's your wedding? We all know the deal: you're inviting your cousin to the wedding, but you really don't want to invite his girlfriend. It's not that you don't like her, you just need to keep the guest count down. Maybe you have to do it because of the venue size, maybe it's because you know the easiest way to save money is to reduce the guest count.

Whatever your reasoning, the question remains, how do you make sure that extra guests don't show up? Whether it's young children, significant others or some random person you don't know, I am going to help you make sure that you don't have unwanted tag alongs. But, we're going try to do it without ruffling any feathers.

First, lets make sure we don't step on any toes.

There are certain circumstances in which you just have to invite the extra people. There are some where it's nice, but not necessary. There are some circumstances where you just have to put your foot down.

  • Engaged and married couples should always receive an invite, even if you aren't close with the fiancé. At my wedding, I chose couples dating for longer than 2 years to invite as well.
  • It is a courtesy to give an "and guest" for those who will be traveling distances by themselves, but not really required.
  • You might want to invite the wedding party's significant others as a courtesy as well. Even if they aren't engaged.

Now, on to the tools to make sure you aren't getting extra guests:

1. THE ENVELOPE WORDING

If you have an inner envelope, you'll put the "and guest" and children on there, if they are invited. If you don't have an inner envelope, include that information on the outer envelope.

2. SET CLEAR RULES AND COMMUNICATE

Word travels fast. Tell your bridesmaids and close family members that you trust "hey, if anyone asks, we aren't inviting children under 13." or, "we're only inviting children of immediate family members." Chances are, if someone is feeling uncertain, they're going to ask one of these people first. Then, they can simply tell the truth.

3. PROVIDE CHILDCARE

If you're really worried, and don't want young children at the wedding, contact a childcare service (that is EXTREMELY well respected) to provide childcare at the hotel or reception venue. Include that information on your invitations so that your guests can plan ahead.

solutions that don't cut it:

  • Some people will put "we have reserved 2 seats in your honor" on the RSVP as a work around. This is not my favorite option. Many guests will find it a little pushy. Also, it doesn't guarantee they'll bring the right guest (they might bring their random friend instead of their boyfriend or girlfriend). If you have in mind who you want to invite. Simply invite them.
  • Putting the policy,  such as "children at reception only" on the invitation or RSVP. Again, it will sound a little unwelcoming. It's like saying, "seriously, don't bring your kid."

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