It may be hard to turn surprise guests away but If you think it’s cool to just let it slide, you may want to think again.
Earlier last month, my husband and I decided to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary with friends and family at a restaurant in Mount Vernon called “The Steam House”. The evening was wonderful and the staff was great. Our guests really enjoyed the food and danced to the music all night but we were taken back by a few guests who chose to invite others without our knowledge. This almost resulted in us having to pay extra for the unexpected guests. The restaurant owner who has a very nice personality decided to overlook the extra expense after giving us the bill at the end of our event.
However, this personal experience left me to think about how many of my clients may have been through this ordeal and how they solved the issue or avoided the problem in general.
I must start out by saying that it is not polite to invite others to an event that clearly requests only your attendance. If you do not know whether this is allowed, please call the host ahead of time and ask if it is alright rather than showing up to the event with extra bodies.
Here is some insight as to what can happen to a host at an event when this happens:
- The budget that the host manages to pay for will now cost them extra. I have heard stories about some halls holding the host “hostage” for the evening until the all of the extra expenses are paid. Not everyone is as nice as the restaurant owner we dealt with.
- The venue accommodating the event now has to find additional seating and most times food for the extra guest(s).
- That extra guest(s) may have caused another guest who has RSVP’d to now have no seating. This might become a problem especially if that RSVP’d guest is an elderly family member who now has to look for seating or ask someone else to give up their seat.
- Most likely the extra guest(s) you have invited may feel out of place or cause the host to feel uncomfortable because they weren’t invited by them.
This list can go on and on. Is there a way to try to make certain that only your invited guests attend your parties and other events?
I have spoken to a few people who have experienced this problem and they told me that it left them with no other choice but to manage the issue of their own event since they didn’t have a planner or couldn’t afford one (you will want to consider hiring a planner for big events like weddings). One customer told me that on her wedding day she had to leave the reception and ask the invited guest who unknowingly brought one or two extra guests to leave or chip in for the extra cost. It didn’t go over well and almost caused a scene on her special day.
So what can a host do in a situation like this?
Having someone delegated to keep a guest list can help with resolving these issues before entering the venue. That delegated person could be a family member or friend who has great knowledge of the guest list if you can’t afford to hire someone. Most of the time, family members or friends are happy to help out especially for a wedding. It allows them to be a part of the celebration. That time they spend checking the guest list can be a gift to the host. You should have a well-typed guest list for them to follow and give them permission to ask any guest(s) that aren’t on the list to leave if you haven’t invited them.
It can turn out to be a touchy situation if you have made any errors on your list. You will want to double check your list to make sure that there are no errors. Poor Aunt Sally will not be happy if she RSVP’d and you made a mistake while putting her onto the list.
Do let any extra guest(s) know that they won’t have to stay at the door the entire duration of the event and should join the festivities with all of the other guests or after a certain time of the night. At this time the guest list observer should let the hall staff know that all guests have arrived or where to find them for late arrivals. Also remember to invite the person who handles your guest list to a rehearsal party or send them a special thank you for giving their time at the door or card table.
We hope that you have a wonderful time at your special events this summer.
Sherry from EMY Flowers