You’ve sent out your wedding invitations, and you’re excitedly counting the RSVPs that come back. But every so often, you also get something not-so-fun: an Awkward Question from a guest.
Can’t you just Google that?! you think about basic wedding etiquette. But alas, some guests are just lovingly clueless, and it’s up to you as the bride to answer their questions as politely as possible without having a total meltdown. In the weeks before your wedding, you have a lot on your plate, but you still need to be respectful and responsive to those you’ve invited to share in your day.
Here are five Awkward Questions guests frequently ask brides, and the best way to respond.
“Can I bring that guy I like?”
Your instinct: NO. OH MY GOD. I WOULD HAVE INVITED THEM IF WE WANTED TO.
The etiquette: Put the names of those invited on the wedding envelope, or “and guest” if someone is allowed to bring a +1. If you only write someone’s name, etiquette implies they are the only one invited.
What you should say: “I’m sorry, but we’re hoping to keep the wedding more intimate/working on a tight budget/at a smaller venue. We could only invite a certain number of people—we’re so glad you can make it, though!”
“What should I wear?”
Your instinct: I don’t care what you wear—I’ll be the one in the white dress. I also had to pick out bridesmaids gowns, a flower girl dress, and my groom’s tux—I’m done!
The etiquette: If your wedding has an out-of-the-ordinary dress code, like black tie or completely casual, you should say so on your wedding website. Otherwise, guests should assume it’s a formal event.
What you should say: “I’m sure you look great in anything you have. It’s a formal event, so just wear whatever you own that you’d wear to a fancier party! Typically, guests don’t wear white.”
“Can we bring our kids?”
Your instinct: Why did you throw away the envelope without looking first?!
The etiquette: If kids are invited, put “and family” on the invitation. Otherwise, they should assume no.
What you should say: “Yes, they’re more than welcome! We can’t wait to see them!”/No, I’m sorry, this is an adults-only event. We wanted to give you a child-free evening!”
Want to have a kids free wedding? Read more about how to tell guests kids aren’t invited here!
“Can I just tell you I’m coming?”
Your instinct: Um, no. Can you imagine if 200 people just told me they were coming?
The etiquette: All guests should send back an RSVP card. It will help eliminate any errors and keep you organized when giving the caterers exact numbers.
What you should say: “It would be really helpful if you could actually mail your card back. It helps to keep me organized during these crazy times! But if you lost it or accidentally threw it away, no worries; you can just let me know over the phone.”
“Why aren’t you having your wedding at ___ instead?”
Your instinct: Shut up.
The etiquette: Whether you’re having a formal wedding ceremony, a small backyard get together, or a Pinterest-perfect barn celebration, someone, somewhere, is going to hate your wedding venue. They’ll wonder why your wedding isn’t in your hometown, why you wanted it somewhere so fancy, or why you aren’t sticking to tradition. Have your wedding on the shores of Hawaii and there’s a good bet someone will glare at the sunset and wonder why they had to pay so much for a plane ticket. Take a deep breath and accept it. Hopefully they don’t voice their confusion, but if they do, they’re the rude ones—not you for hosting your wedding where you want to.
What you should say: “Our venue is really special to me and my fiancé and I chose it together. We’re really excited for our wedding and we hope you can make it!”
Especially if you’re having a larger wedding, you’re going to confront some awkward, semi-rude questions. Grin and bear it—you’re the hostess, and you can shake your head and laugh at the awkwardness in private with your bridesmaids and spouse later!