We'd rather have a full guest list of people we love and know well than to have to cut our list to accommodate those who want to bring people we're not familiar with. We'd love to have children there but, you know, we don't have very much money so sacrifices needed to be made. It was difficult but we both felt like we made the right decision for ourselves and our wallets.
We haven't sent out our invites yet, just our Save the Dates, but I recently had to have a very difficult and uncomfortable conversation with a single relative who expected to bring a guest. I could tell my relative was upset and I felt bad so I said your guest is more than welcome to come to the ceremony and/or the reception after dinner. I explained that our budget limits who we can invite, particularly with catering. My relative has since informed me that they will then both not attend dinner and just find a restaurant in the vicinity.
Although that makes me feel uncomfortable I think I need to respect my relative's decision. I do, however, wonder how I can ensure that our other guests will respect our decision to not include plus ones. Is there any way we can politely address the issue when the invitations go out? We plan to specify "adult only reception" but how do you handle plus ones? I thought of including a "FAQ" page on our website for issues such as this, but then what if some people never visit the site?
Sorry such a long e-mail, and thank you in advance for your help!
Yes, the dreaded plus-one situation. I have been in your shoes. It is quite the dilemma.
Matt and I felt the same way you do. We wanted only our nearest and dearest at our wedding, but denying people the opportunity to bring a date can be awkward and rude.
First, we tried to proactively address the situation by inviting people in clusters. For example, we intentionally tried to make sure that everyone who was invited had friends that they could hang out with. I sent out an e-mail to each group of friends saying something like, "Hey all, I just wanted to let you know that you are the folks we invited from Stetson University, in case you want to room together, carpool, etc." That way, everyone knew right away that they would know other people at the wedding (without having to ask all of their old college friends if they were invited, too).
But even then we had to respond reactively. People would ask us directly if they could bring a date. We responded as honestly and tactfully as possible by saying, "We're really sorry, but we're intentionally having a small wedding and limiting it to the people who are close to us. We invited you because we consider you a really good friend, and we hope that this doesn't discourage you from coming."
In the end, we made a couple exceptions. One of Matt's friends invited someone without asking us. The friend bought her plane ticket before we even found out. Also, Matt invited only one of his colleagues. We let him bring along his girlfriend, so he would know someone. She ended up being completely awesome, and I loved meeting her.
Definitely don't stress about it if a few people slip through the cracks. On the other hand, don't be afraid to stick to your policy! There is something really powerful about populating your guest list with people who are truly connected to you.
2000dollarwedding kindred spirits, what are your thoughts on this situation? What have you done the same or differently?