10 Things You Should Do to Avoid and Handle Unexpected Wedding Guests

Wedding is a celebration and a ceremony which couples spend their time and effort on for its careful planning and preparation. But sometimes, no matter how you try to put everything in order, unexpected things happen.

Just like the unexpected guests that might surprisingly show up in your wedding. These people can be the guests of your guests, an invited guest who didn’t confirm his attendance or who initially said that he can’t make it. Sound stressful, isn’t it?

Of course, you should be ready on how to handle them! But before that, think of how you can avoid them in the first place.

Let us be your guide.

How to avoid unexpected guests?

Include an RSVP in your wedding invitation, RSVP is a French term that stands for “Répondez s’il vous plait” or “Please respond” in English, it obliges the recipient to reply, confirm their attendance and even send regrets if they can’t make it.

You have to be clear about inviting plus-one and the kids. Indicate in the invitation if whether you are allowing kids in your wedding or not. If they are allowed, designated seats should be given to them and anticipate that they could have their nannies which mean additional guests for you. You also have to be mindful as to whom you are addressing your invitation to. If you are only inviting one person, then only put the name of the guest and not the guest’s name with “and guest” or “and family”.

Send an initial and simple save-the-date invitation, 3 months before the wedding. Include an initial RSVP on it. Since doing this will still add up to your expenses, make use of social media in sending the initial invitation to save money, time and effort.

Send a formal and final invitation, 1 ½ month before the wedding. Include another RSVP on it, but this time set a deadline for your RSVP which is 3 weeks before the wedding. Include the number of seats reserved for each guest.

Call and send a text message to your guests, 3 weeks before the wedding. Remind them with the number of seats reserved for them. Explain your wedding rules well, if there’s any, like “No kids policy” or “No plus-one”. By the way, once is enough.

Make a final and updated guest list, 1 week prior to your wedding. Indicate the status of their attendance. Specify  the confirmed and unconfirmed guests. Your goal is to trim down your unconfirmed guests to 20% of the total no. of guests, so it would be easier for you to set an allowance..

Allocate seats and food for unconfirmed guests. Even though there are 20% of guests who didn’t confirm, it is best to allot seats and food for them. Count them in as your guests and assume that they will come to your wedding.

After all the given advice above, coming of an unexpected guest in your wedding is still possible. As they say, we have to expect the unexpected. So might as well, be ready.

How to handle unexpected guests?

Have a plan with your wedding receptionist- Hand over your guest list to your receptionist; it should include who confirmed and who didn’t; it should include the specific tables and chairs for the guests. For those who are not in the master list, the coordinator should know how to do the art of concealing. There are some instances when some invited guests are mistakenly not included in the guest list. The receptionist should know how to cover up on this certain situation and don’t let the guests feel that they are not included in the guest list. Ask the guest about his or her relation to the couple. Then quickly inform the bride and the groom, or other family members about their presence. Ask where the guest should be seated then lead them to their seats.

Set a buffer- Aside from the seat and food allocation given to the unconfirmed guests, it is also safe to prepare for a buffer. It is preparing for an extra, to assure the availability of food and seats for all of your guests. Setting a buffer of 10 percent from the total number of guests is enough.

 No detailed seating arrangements- It would be best to just set a general grouping of seats for your guests. Instead of assigning specific seat per guest, just make a general seating arrangement by their particular group. For example, assign the 20 seats on the left side for all of your college friends, and the 50 seats in front for your relatives. Just let your guest decide who they want to be seated next to, among the people within their group. Besides, detailed seating arrangement is not really unexpected guest, friendly.

 Certainly, you just want your wedding to go as planned and as expected.You always have to make sure to carefully avoid certain things from happening. But if unexpected guests still show up, just be ready enough to handle them. Follow our guide and for sure you can manage this matter so well.


I hope the 10 things in this blog helps you learn, on how to avoid and handle unexpected guests in your wedding. To help you create your wedding guest list the easiest way. Check this blog The Easy Steps on Creating Your Wedding Guest List .

Co-Author: Ms. Ana Marie Tueres, a professional event planner and the owner of Solutions Events. Solutions Events is an events and production company established since 2000. They handle a wide variety of events like weddings, social events, corporate events, and others.

Image Credits: bridal-palace.net| theidomoment.com| knot.com

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