The Q: This is pretty basic, but any help with tact would be great. Basically, my fiance and I hang out with a group of friends, most of whom are single. As a rule, we only invited people with “guests” if they were engaged or have been living together. However, now that my invitations have gone out, I’m SHOCKED to see several of our friends have RSVP’d with a date, even though I know that they aren’t in a relationship, per se. I don’t want to be a big you know what, but I don’t want all these strangers around either. Is there a tactful way for me to tell these guys that they can’t bring a date, or do I need to suck it up and have these strangers at the wedding?
The A: First of all, let’s just say that YOU are not the wrong one here. Somewhere along the way people have seemed to have lost the concept that the person whose name is on the envelope is the person who was invited. If it says & Guest, awesome. If not, hopefully you’ll get placed at a good table and meet someone new. In the old days (before weddings cost a gazillion dollars) if you were single you got invited with a date. These days, single guests- especially friend guests- shouldn’t be offended or think its weird or, frankly, assume that it’s ok to just invite someone along. I understand why someone wants to bring a date, but they need to respect some simple rules of etiquette…. (sorry, I got on my soap box for a second there).
Anyway, to get back to the practical, brass tacks solution to this issue: call each guest individually and give them some nice, straight talk and explain the deal. Let them know that they will have all of your other single friends to hang out with and you really wanted it to be a circle of people you know. It’s awkward, but not as awkward as you think, as long as you play the “I want to know everyone at my wedding and it will be a blast with all of our other friends there” card. If they really, really, really think that this date was Mr. or Miss Right and not Right Now, hear their case and then you two can decide. I remember one of my friends trying to bring a date to my reception, and I said it wasn’t a good idea, and, well, a year later we planned their wedding (eek!) Oh, well, he had a good time anyway and them being apart during my reception clearly didn’t hurt their relationship.