Posted By Darlene on January 26, 2015
Being a wedding planner for 16 years, I’ve heard a lot of stuff! A LOT! But what never ceases to amaze me is the regret list I hear from brides about their weddings. And the list hasn’t changed in all these years. That’s 16 years of brides experiencing the same post-wedding blues. Why is it still happening??
I’m not talking about regrets over their fiancé (HA), but regrets over wedding planning decisions that were made that they got stuck with and were unable to change. What breaks my heart the most is knowing that their regrets could have been prevented if they had only sought out the advice of a wedding consultant. That’s why I am here. That’s why I started my own company – to be that person that couples and families could go to when they are unsure about the “what-to-do” and “what-ifs” of wedding planning.
A recent BRIDES article highlighted 7 real brides and their biggest post-wedding regrets. You can read the whole article here. They asked brides to reveal their biggest wedding planning regrets. I’m going to feature them here in a series of posts with my comments and suggestions on how the situation could have been prevented so you can keep from having these similar regrets over your wedding. Plus, you will also find out what MY biggest regret was for my wedding!
Regret #1: Not specifying who’s invited on the RSVP card
“Although it was written on the envelope, we had numerous people add on significant others we didn’t even know existed and children that we’ve never met before. My parents wouldn’t let us un-invite them because they thought this was rude.” —Bridget, 29
Just WHO is being rude here? Certainly not the bride, or the groom or their families. The guests who invited the extras are the ones being inconsiderate and presumptuous.
Preventive maintenance – Know your invitation etiquette. On the inner envelope of your invitation is where you list just exactly who is invited. If you are inviting a married couple, both of their names are listed individually on the inner envelope. If you are inviting a married couple who happen to have young children or adult children living at home, and the children are not invited, you just list the individual names of the couple and none of the children. If the children are invited, then you list all of their names individually on the inner envelope.
After the fact - You can’t “un-invite” someone who hasn’t been invited. Right? Remember that. I would have suggested to this bride and her mother that they learn to say “no.” It is not rude to say no to someone adding a friend or children when the RSVP comes back. If you are addressing your invitations correctly, you are already saying no on the envelope by listing just the couple without their children’s names or listing a single person’s name without a “and guest.” So if you get a RSVP back with unexpected additions, call them on it. “I’m sorry. We are not having children at our wedding. We sent out the invitations to our wedding early with hopes that it would leave you enough time to plan for childcare.” One former bride said she simply told some people that they “only invited those people to whom the invitation was addressed and cannot accommodate uninvited guests.” Done. No explanations. And you are NOT being rude. At all.
Now – what the guests should have done is contact the bride or her family when they didn’t see their children’s names on the invitation, or a “and guest” if they were a single person, instead of adding extras without permission. THAT is rude. Listing each invitee individually on the inner envelope of the invitation will help keep your guest list from growing unexpectedly. But we can’t control people so expect that some of your guests will not “get it” when it comes to RSVPing.
One way to really get control of RSVPs and help your guests “get it” is to write it out for them. What do I mean? You state on your RSVP for a single person, “One seat has been reserved in your honor.” Then have a “___accept” and “___regret” space for them to reply. Below is a GREAT example from Mrs. Mongoose on WeddingBee that I thought was a very good idea. It’s polite, crystal clear, and should help eliminate any guessing or self-inviting issues that might arise.
Unfortunately, there have been those occasions where the single guest will come with someone anyway and to that I say SMILE and go with the flow. You can’t change what has happened. And it’s not worth it at that point to let their rudeness get in the way of your day. I’ll just have the staff go ahead and make a big deal to them about finding space to sit (God help them if space is tight), and getting ANOTHER chair, ANOTHER place setting, and mentioning that theirs will look different from everyone else, and they may not get filet mignon but rather fish after all the invited guests have gotten their dinners. So….. Please don’t be THAT guest!
Happy “no-regrets” Planning!