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Am I allowed a wedding guest?
May 27, 2009 9:35 PM   Subscribe

I've received a wedding invitation and I'm clueless on a point of etiquette. The invitation and reply cards are made out to "Mr. Indyz", not "Mr. Indyz and Guest." Does this imply that I am not expected or allowed to bring a guest?

It seems that wedding invitations are usually addressed to "Mr. and Mrs." for couples, or "Mr. X and Guest" if the invitee is single. I'm not sure if the "and Guest" is implied in my case, or if I am being politely requested to not bring a guest. I am single and have no problem attending solo, but I do have a friend that would enjoy being my date (and that I would enjoy taking).

I would just call the couple and ask but they are the most polite people in the world and would almost certainly tell me I could bring guest, even if they meant otherwise by the invitation.
posted by indyz to Society & Culture (33 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
A single name on the invitation means you're the only one invited and that you must not take a guest. And please don't put your friends on the spot by asking them about this.
posted by orange swan at 9:38 PM on May 27, 2009 [8 favorites]


They would have included "and Guest" if they invited you to bring a guest. You have been invited to attend without a guest.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:38 PM on May 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


no guest!
posted by lockestockbarrel at 9:40 PM on May 27, 2009


The person or persons listed on the invitation are invited. No one else is.

(Incidentally, the formal etiquette protocol for allowing single friends to bring dates is to ask them who they would like to bring, and then invite that person. "And Guest" is a recent invention used to help us cope with our ever-growing circles of acquaintances and our indecisiveness.)
posted by decathecting at 9:43 PM on May 27, 2009


No guest. This is your invitation to bag a bridesmaid. Enjoy!
posted by torquemaniac at 9:55 PM on May 27, 2009


Or a groomsman, right, Torque?
posted by thebrokedown at 10:09 PM on May 27, 2009


OK, need to be the opposing voice here. If you use the two envelopes with one inside the other, then you put "and Guest" on the inner envelope. However, if you're all into not using twice as many envelopes as necessary for your wedding, putting "so-and-so and Guest" as the top line of the mailing address is weird and awkward. I addressed all my invites to people in relationships to both members of the couple, but for my single friends I got in touch and made it clear to them that they were welcome to bring a guest.

It's possible, though unlikely, that if the couple getting married only had an outer envelope and no inner envelope on their invitation, that they forgot to get in touch with you and let you know your guest was welcome.

That being said, I agree that you should assume no guest is welcome so as not to put two already stressed-out people on the spot.
posted by crinklebat at 10:09 PM on May 27, 2009


As someone recently engaged and reading wedding blogs (even though I know I shouldn't), those message boards are full of brides complaining about people RSVPing "extras," including children and mystery dates who appear on those cards even though they're not invited. Those brides are seeing every extra person as a very real expense, especially where dinner is concerned. If your friends haven't specifically indicated to you either in the invitation or by some other communication that you're welcomed to bring a date, you should fly solo.
posted by BlooPen at 10:28 PM on May 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


A single name on the invitation means you're the only one invited and that you must not take a guest. And please don't put your friends on the spot by asking them about this.

See, I thought so, too. Until a couple of years ago, when I got an invitation to my cousin's wedding, addressed ONLY to me. So I, of course, assumed that there would be no Boyfriend of Scody attending. Therefore, I went to the wedding solo. Whereupon my cousin, his brand-new wife, my others cousins, and my aunt all said, "why didn't you bring your boyfriend? We've been dying to meet him!" I said, "the invite didn't say 'and guest,' so I assumed he wasn't invited." To which they replied, "oh, that's silly! Of COURSE he was invited! You should have called to ask!"

So there's a wrench in the works for you.
posted by scody at 10:54 PM on May 27, 2009 [6 favorites]


No Guest. You're flying solo.



We invited our single friends to our wedding in this mannor (all were friends with each other and fit nicely together at the "singles table" because the numbers keep climbing if they all bring guests and at $100 a plate, I REALLY don't want to pay for someone's "friend". However, since invitations can arrive months in advance, if your situation changes are you are seeing someone seriously, I'm sure that the Bride and Groom would be happy to invite them and may even make the offer.

In response to scody, if you have a long term partner and they were not included, follow up because there may be a mistake. But it sounds like you are considering a "friend" as a date. So this doesn't seem to apply to the OP.
posted by saradarlin at 11:21 PM on May 27, 2009


Or a groomsman, right, Torque?

Indeed. My age is showing as I was going on traditional perceptions. My bad on the oversight.
posted by torquemaniac at 11:43 PM on May 27, 2009


Just to cut to the chase, a wedding seems a weird thing to take a just-a-friend to.

Frankly, if you really want to bring the date, I would ask them. If they are so unable to have an honest exchange with you on the matter that they lie to you about their intentions, at that point their dishonesty becomes their problem.

Like Scody, I don't think that you can assume that the invitation definitively implies NO DATE FOR YOU. If I had to bet, I would bet that way, but I wouldn't bet much.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:16 AM on May 28, 2009


Weddings are frickin' expensive! If you ask if you can bring a guest, as you point oit, the couple will undoubtedly say yes, because to do otherwise would be rude. You don't want to put your hosts in that situation, so you don't ask and you don't bring a guest, with the exception of saradarlin's changed situations or clear mistakes. If you know the couple really well, than there may be a little more wiggle room here, but really, I'd give them the benefit of the doubt.
posted by zachlipton at 12:46 AM on May 28, 2009


Look, the fact of the matter is that there is unfortunately no great golden book tended by angels in the sky which dictates matters of etiquette like this. There may have been a time when all matters of etiquette and tradition like this were understood and universally agreed upon, but that time is long gone.

You can assume that you aren't allowed to bring anyone else—or you can assume that it's just fine to include a guest on your response—but neither of these options is really going to guarantee that you've understood the intention. The only solution is to find out; or, at the very least, to inform yourself enough to know that you're making an educated guess.

The only real solution in this case is to call the couple and express your congratulations and delight: “Wow—I'm so excited to see you guys get married! When did you get engaged? How did this all come together? What are you planning for the wedding? I know it can be hectic—has the planning been going well? It's going to be so much fun!”

If it is the general goal to keep the wedding as small as possible, this fact will almost certainly be revealed in a brief, general conversation about the wedding itself. In fact, that's almost always the first thing that people mention when you ask how the planning's going—either “oh, we're just shooting for a small wedding” or “gosh, it's crazy; all these people to get in touch with!” Err on the side of caution, of course.

If this kind of conversation doesn't give you a very good idea of what they intended, then you can lead the conversation to more personal facts. Ask questions that are likely to get answers that tell you what they want you to do, taking care to keep them neutral: “So, what's the plan? Can you recommend a place to stay, maybe a hotel?”

There are lots of ways to tactfully find this information out without coming right out and asking it.
posted by koeselitz at 3:17 AM on May 28, 2009 [6 favorites]


I've worked in stationery for years, and there are no ifs, ands or buts about it. The couple will indicate if a guest (or your significant other) is invited. The thing is, weddings are expensive, and every head is an extra $50+, so likely they are trying to save money. But it could also be about size (they want to keep it small) or even capacity (the space can only accommodate 100 people, so those who aren't married don't get a guest).

I would not put them on the spot, because they will probably feel badly and then it could get awkward for them.

This gets far more awkward when couples try to have a kids-free wedding. In that case, they address the (inner if they are that formal) envelope to each individual attending and intentionally do NOT include the childrens' names. People often get upset about it when their kids aren't invited, but wedding etiquette is pretty specific: write all the names of all the people, guests, monkeys, and all, who are invited. If your name's not on it (nor is your "guest"), then you're not invited.

Don't take it personally. Don't find a tactful way to ask. Just go and enjoy and meet new people and catch up with old friends.
posted by cachondeo45 at 4:38 AM on May 28, 2009


No guest. We had this happen at my wedding - a single addressee wrote back that he was going to bring a guest. My mom had to call him to say that he couldn't.
posted by Lucinda at 4:51 AM on May 28, 2009


There may have been a time when all matters of etiquette and tradition like this were understood and universally agreed upon, but that time is long gone.

Yes, this. I have friends who seriously considered getting married in NASCAR pit crew jumpsuits. The idea of putting "and guest" on an invitation would have been absolutely foreign to them. Oh, their invitations? Were phone calls.

Use what you already know about these people (are they the kind of people who would know about the "and guest" convention?) and the mild social engineering koeselitz talks about to get your answer.
posted by Rock Steady at 4:52 AM on May 28, 2009


Though the above "no guest" answers are correct etiquette-wise as a general rule I'd like to add that it could be a mistake. When we made up the invitations for our wedding we put "and Guest" if we knew the person had a significant other that would like to come. If it's possible that your significant other has been overlooked, and if you feel close enough to ask, just double-check. There were a handful of circumstances where we neglected to invite people that we would obviously have invited, like when we forgot to invite one child of a couple but invited the other children.
posted by odinsdream at 5:29 AM on May 28, 2009


Clarification: If you are not currently in a relationship my suggestion is unlikely to apply.
posted by odinsdream at 5:35 AM on May 28, 2009


The thing is, weddings are expensive, and every head is an extra $50+, so likely they are trying to save money.


Understandable, but geez, I wish economically-minded couples would simply invite fewer guests and allow these people to bring dates--which, for me, was the only way I could enjoy some of the long and indulgent weddings I've attended. It may be news to the bride who is experiencing the world revolving around her and her special day, but nobody cares about your nuptials as much as you do and many people on the bottom half of your guestlist value their Saturdays much more.
posted by applemeat at 6:13 AM on May 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


I'm with applemeat.
If you have a significant other, I would ask if you can bring them. If they had known that you had one, it would have been rude not to allow you to bring them as your guest. I personally would never not allow my wedding guests to bring ONE guest. If you can't afford for your guest to bring their boyfriend or girlfriend, than you shouldn't invite that person in the first place. Invite less people or have a cheaper wedding, sheesh. Much to many brides and grooms surprises, weddings aren't the most super fun events of all time for the guests, they come to support their friends and family, so allowing them to bring someone just seems appropriate in every case. Plus they're getting you that $60 candle holder/shrimp fork/demitasse cup you were dying for.
posted by ishotjr at 7:16 AM on May 28, 2009


I'm working on my wedding this summer. We did our own invitations and didn't understand the etiquette so we ended up not indicating that folks could bring guests when we wanted them to. Also we screwed up inviting kids, we want kids, but because of our invites, folks think that we don't.

I sort of would suggest that you consider asking the couple but you have that bit about politeness.

It is a little odd to bring just a friend to a wedding. Is your friend going to light up the dance floor? Are they a conversationalist? Is your friend someone that the couple knows and likes? If so then try asking, if not, go solo.
posted by bdc34 at 7:19 AM on May 28, 2009


I didn't put "and Guest" on the invite because I didn't use an inner envelope and am now trying to get out the word that all my single friends should feel free to bring a guest. I did make a point of addressing the invitation to couples if they were living together. If it's a big wedding (150+) they may not be able to afford to have random dates tag along, but if you've been in a relationship for 6 months or more then I would think your significant other should be invited too.
posted by betsybetsy at 7:32 AM on May 28, 2009


I wish economically-minded couples would simply invite fewer guests and allow these people to bring dates--which, for me, was the only way I could enjoy some of the long and indulgent weddings I've attended.

This: by not allowing you to bring a date, they are inviting fewer guests, thus being economically-minded.

OP: is there another single friend invited that you know and could ask how to respond to this?
posted by wocka wocka wocka at 7:53 AM on May 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't think there's ever anything wrong with asking for clarification, provided you don't put pressure on the person to give you the answer you want.

Personally, I didn't want people I didn't know attending my very small wedding, so we didn't put "and guest" for single people, and wrote out each name for the couples we invited. But I wouldn't have been offended if someone had called me up and said "Hey, so should I bring a date to your wedding?" I'd have just said "No."

On the other hand, if someone had called up and said "Hey, so there's this friend of mine who would really like to attend your wedding as my guest. Can she come?"--that would have made me feel awkward. (But, I'm pretty straightforward, so I still would have said "Sorry, we have limited space at the venue.")
posted by Meg_Murry at 8:05 AM on May 28, 2009


The people who we invited as singletons (there were a handful) did not have significant others. They were all friends of mine from college who were friends with each other, and they all sat at one table. If they didn't have a good time it's their own damn fault.
posted by Lucinda at 8:11 AM on May 28, 2009


Here's how you get out of this:


(1) The earlier answers are correct. The person or persons listed on the invitation are invited, no one else. If your name is the only name on the invitation, then you are the sole person invited.

(2) If you seriously believe that there's been a mistake--as in, you're currently involved in a relationship to the point where having your SO invited would seem pretty obvious--don't ask the bride and groom about it. They're stressed enough as it is.

Instead, mention it to the maid/matron of honor or best man. Part of their jobs is to run interference in matters such as these. Don't make a big deal about it, just say, "Hey, I got my invitation the other day! It looked really great, can't wait for the big day, blah-blah-blah. Say, I was a little surprised to see that "and Guest" was left off my invitation, and I'm not sure if that was a mistake or deliberate--can you clue me in?" They should have the low-down for you.
posted by magstheaxe at 8:20 AM on May 28, 2009


Understandable, but geez, I wish economically-minded couples would simply invite fewer guests and allow these people to bring dates--which, for me, was the only way I could enjoy some of the long and indulgent weddings I've attended. It may be news to the bride who is experiencing the world revolving around her and her special day, but nobody cares about your nuptials as much as you do and many people on the bottom half of your guestlist value their Saturdays much more.

Sheesh, if you value your Saturday more than the wedding, rsvp no, send a card, and let them celebrate with people who are happy to be there!

That line of thought makes no sense to me. There are very few weddings that really are mandatory socially (your siblings? your parents/kids?), and then you can either negotiate the issue (b/c you're close) or take it like an adult and survive a single Saturday on someone else's schedule.
posted by Salamandrous at 8:37 AM on May 28, 2009 [6 favorites]


many people on the bottom half of your guestlist value their Saturdays much more.

I'm with Salamandrous. If going to this person's wedding is a drag, just send your regrets and a little gift and card. You're not doing them a favor by grudgingly eating their food.

Also, even when an invitation does say "and guest" it's not license to rustle up some bored friend- it's in case you have a significant other that the wedding party may not have known about.

Going to weddings alone is fun. You meet interesting people. I feel freer to mingle when I'm not worried about my date or guest being left out.

That said, I don't like the "singles" table. If being single is the only thing I have in common with everyone at the table, please seat me with some couples you think I might like.
posted by small_ruminant at 9:14 AM on May 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm with Miss Manners on this one - everyone should be invited by name. If you know someone is in a serious relationship, you find out the name of the boyfreind/girlfriend and send them their own invitation. "And Guest" is anathema. And if your invitation only has one name on it, then it only covers you.

I wish economically-minded couples would simply invite fewer guests and allow these people to bring dates--which, for me, was the only way I could enjoy some of the long and indulgent weddings I've attended. It may be news to the bride who is experiencing the world revolving around her and her special day, but nobody cares about your nuptials as much as you do

See, I eliminated the guests not so much because of cost concerns, but because I didn't think there should be anyone attending the wedding whom we didn't already know. It is a very personal and significant occasion, and I don't think there's any reason for strangers to attend. I understand this person wouldn't be a stranger to you, but they would be to the bride and groom. I still ended up with my brother bringing his current girlfriend of a whole month who he then broke up with 6 weeks later. I can't even remember her name now.

And scody, not to denigrate your family, but your cousins are idiots. You interpreted "one name on the invitation" correctly - they just didn't know the appropriate way to address them to cover the people they wanted to invite.
posted by timepiece at 12:24 PM on May 28, 2009


Lord, I have a story like scody's, and I still think it is flat out rude to demand that someone let you bring any old guest. Weddings are supposed to be fairly boring if you're not a participant in them, and if they can't afford to let you bring strangers they've never met and probably never will meet again, suck it up, be an adult, and go alone. If they can't freely afford random strangers to come, I feel like it's kind of shitty of you to insist that they spend that money, and/or make them think of some awkward way to say no to you just so you can have company.
posted by jenfullmoon at 2:10 PM on May 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I just had a situation like scody. I RSVPed without my SO of two years. He knows the couple, but to my surprise wasn't on the invite. I only found out recently at the shower where the bride implied that I was the one who didn't know the proper etiquette and of course he was invited!

I agree with everyone that has said that generally the rule is that this means you don't get a guest, but the problem is that the couple getting married might not do enough research to figure out this rule! Try asking around with other guests to see what they've heard from the couple.
posted by NHlove at 6:54 PM on May 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'd also say this means no guest.
posted by chunking express at 11:17 AM on May 29, 2009


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