So, the invitations are out and you are now receiving your RSVP cards back. As you sift through the replies, you see a "plus 1”. Oh boy. Did this guest not see that the invitation was addressed to “Mr. John Smith” and not “Mr. John Smith and Guest”?

When putting together your guest list, you have carefully calculated not only how many people you would like to have at your wedding, but also, what you can afford and what the venue can hold. You might have even had to sacrifice certain family members because of these reasons, so what do you do when a guest asks or tells you they're bringing a guest that was not invited in the first place?

Guests should know that weddings are personal and private moments that are special to family and close friends and unless the date is a significant other (a spouse, a long-time girl/boyfriend or a fiancé), asking to bring a casual acquaintance is in poor taste of the guest. However, some guests sincerely do not know this and assume that it is okay to bring a date.

Dates are not the only surprise guests. Sometimes guests ask if their children are invited as well. Here's how you can handle this situation:

First and foremost, stand your ground and don’t back down. If you succumb to family and friends and sacrifice your own feelings, your wedding will just be a stressful and negative experience for you.

Be tactful and polite when you speak with the guest and tell them why you have to refuse their guest. You want them to know that their presence is very important to you but, unfortunately, you're not able to accommodate extra people for whatever reasons there may be (budget, space…etc).

Keeping the reason general (as in, "There is not enough space", rather than “I don’t like your new girlfriend”) makes it a problem that is yours and not personal towards that guest.

Consider the reasons why the guest might be asking to bring their child. Is it because they're having a hard time finding a babysitter? Maybe you can help make child-care arrangements.
Never feel that you are being rude or in the wrong for not wanting uninvited wedding guests. Weddings are intimate and personal and should be respected as such.

Written by Rita Wong, Rita Wong Events

Rita Wong is a wedding and events planner and owner of Rita Wong Events. Based in Montreal, Rita also plans many weddings every year for brides living in Toronto and abroad. She is a dedicated follower of new trends and her goal is to give each bride a wedding that is fresh, unique, and a personal reflection of who they are. She now shares her professional insights with