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How to Politely Tell Your Guests Things They Don't Want to Hear

When you invite a ton of family members and friends to watch you and your significant other exchange vows, you’re going to have to make some choices that not everybody will love, and that’s okay. While you want your guests to have a good time and enjoy themselves, at the end of the day, it’s your wedding and you can call the shots with your personal preferences and budget in mind. Here are a few ways to kindly tell guests things they may not be too thrilled to hear.

You don’t get a plus-one.” It’s perfectly acceptable not to give every single guest a plus-one. If you’re tight on money, one of the easiest ways to cut back your spending is by lowering the guest count, which usually starts with eliminating plus-ones. It’s also acceptable if you’ve never met the person before or if the couple hasn’t been together for very long. If a guest asks if they can have a plus-one, blaming the budget is the easiest way to politely say no. Try saying something like, “Unfortunately with our budget, we’re only able to invite a certain number of people. We wish everyone could celebrate with us, but it’s just not possible.” Hopefully, that will give them a better understanding.

“You can’t bring your kids.” Having a kid-free wedding isn’t something you should feel guilty about. It’s a perfectly reasonable request as long as you give people plenty of notice so guests with children can make other arrangements. Since it’s not proper etiquette to write, “No kids allowed” on a wedding invitation, we recommend you very clearly denote who is actually invited on the invite. Put the names of the specific invitees on your inner envelope, and list only the names of the people you want to attend on the RSVP cards. Hopefully the absence of the kids’ names will be a clear sign that it’s an adults-only affair.

“You have to wear X to our wedding.” Telling guests you want them to wear a certain kind of attire makes sense, especially if you’re hosting your reception in a glamorous ballroom or your ceremony is being held at a place of worship. The same goes for the other end of the spectrum: You wouldn’t want your friends and family showing up to your beach side wedding in a floor-length gown. Putting the dress code on your invitations is the best way to let guests know what you’d like them to wear. Simply including “black-tie attire” or “cocktail attire” somewhere will clue guests in. Not sure what the difference is between the different dresses.

“There’s a limited open bar.” Another easy way to cut costs? Not having a completely open bar with top-shelf liquor. You can still offer liquor by picking a few complimentary cocktails to serve, and then having a selection of beer and wine. If you serve your favorite mixed drinks as signature cocktails and give them a cute name displayed on a hand-lettered sign, guests won’t be able to resist ordering one! This, paired with the option of beer and wine will keep guests satisfied.

“You can’t use your phone or take pics during the ceremony.” While it’s flattering to have a whole crew of wedding day paparazzi, some couples want an unplugged ceremony to allow guests to focus on the proceedings at hand. People holding up their phones in an attempt to get the perfect shot may be distracting for other guests and could affect your photographer’s pictures. Display a decorative sign that reads, “We invite you to be fully present at our ceremony by turning off your cell phones,” as a direct but kind way to ask guests to put their phones away. They’ll have plenty of time to get snap happy during the cocktail hour and reception! Here are a few more ways to deal with wedding day paparazzi.

“You can’t sit here (seating reserved for relative, etc.)” You may have certain spots at the ceremony reserved for your parents, other family members, etc., so we recommend roping off the seats with decorative elements such as ribbon or something else that makes sense with your venue. You can also ask your calligrapher or stationer to make signs that denote the reserved seats. Whatever you chose, signage and decor are the best ways to politely and subtly keep seats available to whoever may need them.

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