African American Weddings

Uninvited Attendees

While my FI and I come from large families, church families and have too many close family friends, not everyone is invited to the wedding and reception. We are a young couple and we simply cannot afford to formally invite (and honestly, feed) everyone. WE DO NOT EXPECT A GIFT FROM THESE PEOPLE. Has anyone had to deal with uninvited attendees being turned away at the reception? I am only formally (to include by mouth and in writing) inviting those who are invited to my reception to the ceremony. However, the church (BIG and Baptist where EVERYBODY is somehow related) will announce our ceremony to the congregation/members. The church is a public place so they are welcomed by the church to attend all events held there. I have no problem with this. Also as a 25 year old, most people my age don't know nor abide by proper wedding etiquette. Its impossible keep all ceremony details (time, location) just between us and the invitees (people just talk to much nowadays). What do you do when people just show up? More specifically when they assume they are welcomed at the reception? Also, how do you deal with those who don't RSVP? Fill the spot with others or reallocate the funds? I'm trying my best to stay within proper etiquette. I've come to the realization that the truth of the matter is, either people will feel slighted or just won't abide by proper etiquette themselves (my younger acquaintances) but I want to make sure that I am not in the wrong about anything.

Re: Uninvited Attendees

  • Hi there!

    First do not invite ANYONE by mouth, this will lead to more assumption on the part of people with no physical invite that they are actually invited to wedding ceremony and reception. People will feel slighted because they arent invited to the entire shebang but that is their cross to bear and not yours. To lessen the showing of uninvited guests I suggests these options:

    1) Plan your wedding on a date and time that is not convenient for the whole congregation and their momma to show up. Maybe a  Friday night? no one will be expecting it and they would have to make it extra out of the way to attend if they do not have a formal invite unless they are Inspector Gadget

    2) Include everyone by inviting the whole church congregations and having a simple cake and punch reception in the fellowship hall immediately following the ceremony. Do a first dance and mingle a bit ( maybe an hour).  Then have an intimate full out (invite only ) reception dinner at a separate location.

    3) Assign someone to check names at the door ( I think this is kinda weird and seems like you have high security) or strictly assign tables to guests. There will usually be no assigned seats for the unwanted guests and you can have your planner escort them out  and explain.

    If people do not RSVP you can invite others to fill their spot or you can use the money for extras at the reception... extra appetizer? upgraded drinks?
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  • I totally agree with number 2... 

    J was right on the mark with that one.. in that case you can have ppl still enjoy some cake and punch with you and your hubby and still be able to go to you reception with your personal invited guests

    Lilypie - H1jI

    Daisypath - MFL5

  • I would suggest while they announce your wedding to the congregation that they also mention that the reception is private and by invitation only. I've been in churches when announcements such as this were made.  I would also provide my planners with a list so if someone shows up who isn't on the list they can be politely turned away. I wouldn't spend too much time worrying about offending people, they will be offended no matter what you do.  They can get over it or not... 
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    M1ssJ[Deleted User]
  • Thanks! I like the idea of the small cake and punch reception. On other non-cultural boards I was told that the church announcement was me searching for an "etiquette loophole" for being rude and not wanting to feed everyone. i was also told it seemed a bit gift grabby. This is simply not so. Any event held at our church is basically made known to all members. However, while I don't mind them coming to see us exchange vows, we do have a guest list and a budget for a reason. And i do have a coordinator who I'm sure will have no problem politely turning any uninvited guests away. I guess knowing that some people have an "Imma go anyway" mentality and other just flat out can't hold water has me bracing myself for calls,texts, Facebook messages, emails, insta comments, etc. 
  • Welcome "home" these other boards don't understand certain things and sometimes I wonder what world they live in. People are going to do the messages, comments, etc no matter what so if you decide not to do a cake punch thing ....practice the phrase " We are having an intimate reception to accomodate our budget"
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  • Yes as she stated "WELCOME HOME HUN" they always say o you are being gift grabby about this and that but whatever.. we all have had our bouts with them and we just decide to stay here were the women aren't judgmental nor biased and living in this perfect world bubble.. I honestly had a very small intimate wedding with just friends and family and we went to a restaurant where everyone had to pay for themselves... Lord if i had said that on another board i wouldve gotten struck down by the mighty hands of the Brides lol lol...

    Lilypie - H1jI

    Daisypath - MFL5

  • While I believe in etiquette... I also note that many etiquette rules and books are written by WASPs (nothing against them) but etiquette is cultural.
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  • I also think @M1ssJ 's #2 suggestion is a good one. I went to a wedding where that was done. The bride & groom stayed at the church during cocktail hour. It worked out fine.
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