Ask the Planner: What Do I Do if My Guests Invite Guests?

May 23, 2018 by Just Marry!

Wedding Guest Etiquette

Ask the Planner is a series featuring real questions from brides, grooms, and anyone interested in learning more about weddings. You ask it, we’ll answer it! So don’t be shy about commenting with your own insights or questions, and be sure to stalk us on all of our social media platforms to discover different ways we address every topic in this series.


Our question today brings us into the somewhat sticky subject of wedding guest etiquette.

Q: “What do I do if my guests invite guests? A few of our friends were single when we sent out invitations and set our food and beverage budget, but they’re now saying they plan to bring plus-ones. How do I handle this?”

A: It’s rough on an engaged couple when their guests fail to follow the basic rules of wedding etiquette. Inviting someone to a wedding when that person wasn’t included on the wedding invitation is a huge no-no! If you find yourself in this predicament, you’ve got two options:

Option One: Extend your budget to include the unexpected guest(s). Note: We don’t recommend this if it’s going to cause you financial hardship or destroy your budget!

Option Two: Politely explain to the guest that your guest list is already set and the seating assignments have been made, and unfortunately your plans didn’t account for them bringing a guest. Be sure to let them know how excited you are to be celebrating with them on your big day and thank them for understanding.

We’re aware that the second option, while truly the best and most appropriate one, doesn’t always go over well. What we explain to our couples is that when guests get upset over their decisions, the problem lies with the person who is upset, not in the couple. This is YOUR wedding. Plan it the way that works for you and your budget. As long as you’re polite and offer a valid explanation, your guests should understand.

Curious about wedding guest etiquette or planning to attend a wedding in the near future? Download this handy infographic to learn more:

To give you a hint of what you’ll find in the download, here are a few wedding guest etiquette items that we didn’t include:

–          Wearing white. Plain and simple: unless the couple specifies otherwise, don’t wear white to a wedding.

–          Your phone. Please put away your cell phone at a wedding. It’s highly distracting to see guests with their phones out, possibly focused on the couple to capture photos or video. The couple will hire professionals for this or at the very least specify a single person to handle photos and video. Give the couple your undivided attention and keep the phone on silent and tucked away.

–          Sending your RSVP. Come on, folks…it comes with its own self-addressed stamped envelope! Send your RSVP to the couple to let them know whether or not you’re coming to their wedding even if you’ve mentioned it to them personally. After all, they might not be the ones collecting the RSVP cards.

–          Give them a gift. Even if you’re a member of the wedding party, giving the happy couple a gift is the polite and proper thing to do. Make it personal rather than expensive if you’re on a budget!

–          Participate in the activities. The couple spent a lot of time planning their wedding. If they have a guest book, sign it. If they have note cards out for you to write them marriage advice, offer it. If they have a photo booth with fun props, use it. If they set out favors, take one. Nothing will make the couple happier than seeing their guests enjoying everything they spent so much time and money planning!

If you have a pressing wedding planning question that you’d like answered by our team or you’d like to join the Just Marry! family, post a comment or e-mail us at and we’ll get back to you right away!


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