The Uninvited: Has Your Guest List Reached Capacity?

Chances are, a guest who isn’t invited to your wedding will not be surprised. But for those who genuinely are, and at worst are even offended, we extend our sincerest apologies on the offending party’s behalf. It’s just one of those complicated “wedding” things.

Many couples struggle with the dilemma of whom to cut from their wedding-day roster. The economic, or social, reality is such that certain would-be guests will fail to make the final cut. There are many commonsense reasons for doing so including budget constraints, responding to those who are objecting to the union, or for undisclosed personal differences. Whatever the case may be, the human spirit neither craves nor thrives on confrontation. As such, breaking the disappointing news to ceremony hopefuls can be a difficult and humbling experience.

Our advice is simple. Do not delay the inevitable. While it is true that this task will temporarily dampen the festive atmosphere surrounding your wedding planning process, it is a necessary task nonetheless. So how will you deal with the uninvited when your guest list has reached capacity? The following tips will help you face this situation head-on, and move towards your special day with the stress-free optimism that every couple deserves.


Although you needn’t any justification, there’s something about having a reason that makes the situation seem slightly more manageable. Such reasons will serve to provide the couple with peace of mind rather than being communicated with the uninvited guest(s).

If your justification is based on budget constraints, do keep the following in mind. The contemporary marriage faces many odds including an increased rate of divorce – many as a result of financial discord. Give your union the best possible start by avoiding unnecessary debt before you make it to the altar. The months leading up to the marriage have a stress and apprehension all their own, and financial woes will do nothing to ease an anxious mind. With that being said, never invite a particular guest to appease the demands of another. If mom insists that your third cousin, twice removed, on your Aunt Francine’s, daughter’s, husband’s side, must be in attendance she can pay for them herself. This is one time where you will want to force a square peg into a round hole – your guest list must conform to your budget.

If your justification is centered around personal differences, don’t allow yourself to be intimidated or made to feel guilty. Immediate in-laws should be tolerated whenever possible, but no one has a right to diminish your special moment in any way.

If your justification is based upon the fact that a would-be guest is not in support of your union, we think a special word about alternative ceremonies is in order. If your ceremony can be classified by most as alternative or unconventional, there are some who feel it is their personal duty to object. Whether your “alternative” is a second or third marriage, same-sex union, or a non-religious affair, focus your efforts on comprising a guest list of those who are in support your special day. Just as politicians unapologetically cater to their constituency, approach your guest list in the same manner.

The Script

Now that the final numbers are in, it’s time to make those dreaded calls. And yes, we recommend that you call rather than communicating through other means. What will you say? Trust that you will find the right words to express your disappointment and convey your message as intended. For those who aren’t quite sure of what to say, the following are suggested scripts.

(Individual’s Name):

  • This has been a very difficult decision for us to make, and although:

We would love for you to be in attendance, our budget will only accommodate a limited number of guests…

  • This has been a very difficult decision for us to make; however:

This is our special day and we are reserving our guest list for those who are in support of our union…

Of course, you are free to modify and alternate scripts as necessary. At the end of the day, those who love you will understand and appreciate your honesty. Enjoy your special day with your final wedding-day roster!

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