Etiquette Emergency: 7/24/14

author , posted in Etiquette/Support
{Top Image via Nikki Meyer Photography}Guest List Standby Q.  Is it appropriate to have fill-ins for your guest list?  We can only fit a certain number of guests at our venue.  As we receive rsvp regrets, is it ok to send an invitation to guests who didn’t make the initial cut?  Our fear is that th... read more

{Top Image via Nikki Meyer Photography}

Guest List Standby
Q.  Is it appropriate to have fill-ins for your guest list?  We can only fit a certain number of guests at our venue.  As we receive rsvp regrets, is it ok to send an invitation to guests who didn’t make the initial cut?  Our fear is that they’d know they weren’t on the initial list by getting a late invitation.  Would it be better not to invite them at all?

A.  It is quite common to have an A and a B guest list.  The A Guest List will have those traveling the greatest distances as well as those closest to your heart.  The B Guest List will be those who may not have made the original cut.  The A list invitations are sent 8 weeks prior, followed by the B list 6 weeks prior.  The number of B listers invited is based upon the responses you have so far from the A listers.  This is an art, not a science.  You should have a feel for how many of your A list will actually attend and then send the B list out together in a group.  Do know that the industry standard is for about 10% of those who responded “yes” not to show for one reason or another on the day-of the event.

 

Meet and Greet Wedding
Q.  My fiancé and I are paying for our own wedding but both have parents who want to invite their own friends or distant family members to our wedding.  It is very important to us that we are only surrounded by people we know and love on our wedding day.  Neither of us want to be celebrating with people we don’t know.  How can we tell our parents without upsetting or offending them?

A.  As you are quickly learning, weddings are about more than just the bridal couple.  Out of respect for your parents, explain that you have a very strict budget and are carefully watching the numbers for your big day.  Share with them who is already on your guest list (relatives, home-town neighbors, family friends, etc.).  Then offer them a specific number of invitations they may extend, such as 6 or 8.  Remember to stay calm during this discussion.  If they ask for more, ask for their list and let them know you will think about it and get back to them.  Then decide if they are being reasonable, if you can afford to invite more guests, and/or if you are willing to extend more invitations if your parents are willing to underwrite the cost of those guests.

 

Unruly Guests…
Q.  We have a guest or two who tend to get a bit unruly at events (especially if alcohol is served).  Unfortunately, they either close friends or family members who must be on our guest list.  How can we make sure these people behave appropriately at our reception?  Or, in the case that they do get too rowdy, how do we get the situation under control without causing a scene?

A.  It is not just you, there is always one (or two) in every family!  While you will not be able to control for every eventuality, you certainly can take a few different precautions in advance.  These include, but are not limited to:
Be sure to serve some carbs before the bar opens.

  1. Limit your alcohol choices to beer and wine.  If you want hard alcohol, have one signature drink to be served after the appetizers have started.
  2. Provide the bartenders with pictures of your unruly guests in advance and advise the bartenders to serve those few guest slowly and weaker drinks.
  3. Include another family members as watchers to keep an eye on what the unruly guests are doing.
  4. Have a plan, whether it is a quick ride home in a taxi or the local constable on speed dial, know what actions you are willing to take when things get crazy.
  5. Trying talking to the person in advance.  Mention that you love him/her and that as a gift to you on your wedding day, you hope they will keep things festive not frenetic.

 

Jodi R. R. Smith is a nationally known etiquette expert and author. She is the president of Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting. You are invited to email her your etiquette emergencies at Salem@Mannersmith.com

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