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Since we're at the beginning of another wedding season, we thought this would be the perfect time to address the perennial etiquette discussion of inviting guests with "and guest." Whether you're doing the inviting or getting invited, there are things to keep in mind to avoid a sticky situation.

Guests:

The rule is generally clear-cut: If your invitation doesn't include "and guest," then you're flying solo. Keep in mind that the bride and groom are tallying an exact headcount and paying per head. Showing up with someone unexpectedly or RSVPing with a guest will at most cause problems and at least lead to an awkward conversation.

There could be instances where the bride and groom may have overlooked your guest. If the wedding is being hosted by distant relatives or friends who live across the country, they may not know about your significant other. General etiquette suggests that your other is significant enough to require an invitation if you live together or are engaged or married. If you think that your lack of and-guest was an oversight, then definitely give the bride or groom a call.

Hosts:

In the interest of keeping your guests happy, here are a few things to consider during the invitation process.

  • If a guest is single and doesn't know anyone else who you've invited, it's courteous to invite them with a guest. This is especially the case if that guest has to travel to get to your wedding.
  • As mentioned above, if a guest lives with or is engaged to someone, their significant other should be invited. When inviting their guest, go the extra mile to find out that person's name (correct spelling and all).
  • Be prepared to receive an RSVP or two with an unexpected write-in. It's not necessarily a pleasant surprise, but one that most couples (present company included) have to face.