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How To Avoid Unexpected Wedding Guests
On 2012-02-02 By Karen

After you've selected your wedding invitations, you start to stress about who will show up. Will guests RSVP? Will they bring extra people with them? Will I end up with enough tables and chairs?

No bride wants to have THAT wedding. You know...the one where people talk about you like a dog and how you didn't have enough seating and you ran out of food, etc.

There's an easy way to avoid the drama. It starts with the printing of your invitations. I suggest that all of my brides include a line where guests indicate the total number of people who will be attending. Granted, the invitation may only be addressed to Mr. and Mrs. John Smith. You would assume that only Mr. and Mrs. John Smith will be attending, right? WRONG. I've done sooooo many events where Mr. and Mrs. Smith show up with a couple of extra guests...maybe their house guests who happen to be in town the weekend of your wedding.

I like for guests to tell me in advance that they are going to do something inappropriate. That way, I have time to correct the issue. If Mr. and Mrs. Smith indicate on their response card that a total of four guests will be attending (instead of the two guests you were anticipating,) you or your planner can contact the Smiths. What you say to them might sound something like this:

"I'm so excited that the two of you will be attending our wedding! Unfortunately, we will not be able to accommodate your extra guests because of ___________ issues (spacing, budget, famine, plague....insert your phrasing of choice here.) I'm sure you understand. Again, we look forward to seeing you on our wedding day!"

Now, Mr. and Mrs. Smith understand that their house guests aren't welcome. Problem solved. Side note: I once had a couple indicate that they would be bringing an extra EIGHT guests to one of our weddings. This technique avoided a big mess!

Your next question might be, "What do I do if people just don't respond?" This is where your planner can really earn her fee! I call guests for my clients. I will call them twice and leave a message that sounds like this: "Mr. and Mrs. Jones, this is Karen Clark, the wedding planner for Daniel and Monica. I just wanted to touch base with you concerning their April wedding. We haven't received your response card and we wanted to ensure that we have seats for you."

If I haven't heard from guests after the two calls, my third call sounds like this; "Mr. and Mrs. Jones, this is the wedding planner for Daniel and Monica again. We didn't hear back from you concerning your attendance at their wedding. We assume that you will not be able to attend, so we have released the seats that we originally reserved for you. We're sorry that you won't be joining us for the event. We hope all is well and Daniel and Monica will be in touch with you soon!"

As a result of this message, Mr. and Mrs. Jones realize that they will not be expected at the event. Again, problem solved!

Make sure you use these techniques for your RSVP issues. They should help you avoided the dreaded situation where you have lots of guests that you didn't anticipate.

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Karen Clark is a celebrity wedding planner who publishes the "Perfect On A Penny" weekly e-zine. Get your FREE audio seminar: "5 Super Secret Tips That Will Save You $5000 On Your Wedding" at www.PerfectOnAPenny.com

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