No Extras, No Exchanges

by epi on April 4, 2012

Q: My wedding is weeks away, and we have just started receiving response cards.  I was astonished to open one to see that a couple included their daughter and live-in exchange student on the reply.  The invitation was addressed to only the parents, and we did not want their child and exchange student to attend.  (We did not invite any children to our wedding.)  We do not wish to ruin the friendship over this, but how do we clear things up as firmly as possible?

A: Along with your goal to clear things up “firmly,” I’ll add “pronto.”  The longer you wait to address the situation, the more awkward it can become.  You, or the host of the wedding, will need to speak to this couple directly, either in person or on the phone and not by e-mail or text.  It’s amazing how many invitation recipients don’t understand that an invitation is intended only for those whose names are on the envelope.  That’s it: it is often no dates, no friends, no kids, no pets.  Whoever calls the couple should make a big effort to overlook their cluelessness.  Use a calm, friendly and understanding tone, and stick to the facts: “We’re delighted you can join us at our wedding.  But there seems to be a mix-up, since your response card includes the names of your daughter and exchange student.  Sorry, but we cannot accommodate any extras, as our guest list is very tight.  I hope you understand.”  Be prepared for any possible reply.  The invitees might graciously accept the reality.  (Phew — a happy ending for all.)  Or they might become huffy.  Some even try to bully the wedding hosts into inviting their children.  In such a case, you can go the extra mile by explaining that, even though little Susie is a peach and you’d like to meet the exchange student sometime, you’re not inviting any children and you cannot make an exception.  It wouldn’t be fair to other guests who also have children.  If they take the ultimate umbrage by becoming angry and threatening not to come at all, so be it.  The rudeness would be theirs, not yours.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Melissa May 21, 2012 at 12:11 pm

I have a friend getting married in the near future and she wanted me to ask (she chose to remain anonymous) how to properly invite certain people that she works with to her wedding without hurting the feelings of those that she cannot invite. Their budget is limited and she works for a rather large company. She just wants to invite her closest co-workers but doesn’t want others angry at her. What can she do?


neecie June 8, 2012 at 8:36 am

How do you respond to an RSVP that is 2 1/2 weeks late and includes more than the invited guest after the final count has been given tot he hall and the seating chart has been finalized? Every attempt was made to contact this person before the final arrangements were made.


Alicia June 8, 2012 at 8:52 am

Call the person up today. Let them know that only the invited people are able to attend but that you would like those people to attend. Maybe they will back out for everyone if they still want the invited people to attend let them. Then call the catering company they will have a way to deal.


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