Authored by: Rinette Emerson
December 14, 2012

Unexpected wedding guests are not uncommon. A few “unfamiliar” faces at your ceremony aren’t a big deal, but unwanted guests (an ex or psychotic aunt) at your reception are another story.

To help avoid any confusion as to who is invited, write the names of the guests on your invitations rather than inviting "The Smith Family". Otherwise, “The Smiths” may think that their children and their children’s dates are invited.

If you do have a few unexpected guests show up, here are a few suggestions which may come in handy:

1)    The most polite thing you can do is ask your venue to set additional place settings and prepare extra entrees for the unexpected guests. If this just isn’t possible, ask the guests to return after the meal to enjoy the dancing. 

2)    Ask a family member to keep an eye open for anyone they don’t recognize. If they are not sure, ask him to check with you, your spouse and both sets of parents to see if the guest is truly invited.

3)    If the guest is unwanted, let someone else -Best Man, Wedding Planner, Security or Venue Manager - handle the situation. Don't hesitate to remove unwanted guests from your reception, as they may have one-to-many and become unruly.

4)    If you are afraid you will have a “wedding crasher”, hire security and give him a photo of anyone you suspect my attempt to cause a scene.

Getting upset only ruins your wedding day, so don't show any irritation or anger at the situation - take a deep breath, smile and be gracious. Remember, you have waited a long time for this day, so don’t let an unexpected guest take away from your celebration.

Have you attended a wedding when an unexpected guest showed up? How was it handled? 

About the Author: Rinette Emerson

Prior to Enduring Promises, Rinette worked with clients on strategic communications, online development programs, corporate branding and helping clients "get found" online. After officiating her first wedding, many years ago, Rinette was hooked - and now she is a sought after wedding Officiant. A little-known fact about Rinette...she is an amazing artist! You can follow her on LinkedIn.


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Wow Jenny, that is something that one would never even have thought of. Thank you, not only for bringing something like that to our attention -but also a very practical way of dealing with the issue.
December 27, 2012 | Enduring Promises

At the last two weddings my fiancée and I attended an "invited" guest spent a little to long at the bar and so become an "unwanted" guest. Both became very loud and rude. We watched as, in both cases, the Best Man stepped in and spoke with the two involved and then escorted them to the exit. In each case the Best Men were polite, very firm and clearly trained on the fine art of eviction! So it's not just the unwanted or uninvited guests that can and do cause trouble. Thanks for bringing this challenge to light.
December 26, 2012 | Jenny

Wow! Thanks for your response Shannon. I guess one can never be too careful!!
December 17, 2012 | Enduring Promises

My husband and I attended a wedding last summer where a very "unwelcomed" guest - an ex-boyfriend - made an appearance. The bride had a feeling that the jerk might show up, so all the groomsmen were on full alert. He waited until the bride was at the front and then tried to sneak in the back. Fortunately the groom had given the guy's photo to the facility manager and he was stopped at the door. Good suggestions because you're right, unwanted guests do show up to weddings more often than one would expect and it's better to plan ahead than to get caught off-guard!
December 16, 2012 | Shannon