Wedding crashers – it was a great idea for a fun movie, but in real life wedding crashers are nothing but a headache. Having a plan to deal with wedding crashers is a good idea. You have the head count in to the caterer, the place cards on the table, and suddenly you are faced with extra people at the reception. This is a case where an ounce of prevention is definitely worth a pound of cure.
Wedding crashers usually fall into two categories: invited guests who never sent in their R.s.v.p. and then show up anyway, or tag-alongs brought by invited guests. The best way to avoid these situations is to be very clear with your guests from the beginning. Address the invitations with the names of the people you would like to attend – don’t use so-and-so and guest. Also be clear with the response cards. Fill in the names of the invited parties, and do not use the type of response cards that allow guests to fill in the number of people that they will bring. Too many people take this to mean that they can bring whoever they would like.
Follow up on your invitations. If there are guests who have not responded, it may be necessary to phone them several times (if they are rude enough not to reply to a wedding invitation, there is no guarantee that they will return a call in a timely manner). This unpleasant task does not have to fall to the bride – she can delegate it to her mother, wedding planner, or maid of honor. The bride should certainly not have to be the one to leave a message saying, “Since we have not heard back from you, we will assume that you do not plan to attend the wedding on June 4th.”, should it come to that.
Much more rare is the malicious wedding crasher. This type of unwanted guest is usually a jealous ex-spouse or former boyfriend or girlfriend. If you have that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach that someone from your past is going to show up an cause a scene at your wedding, it is important to be proactive. Designate a couple of point people to handle the crisis, should it arise. Groomsmen are perfect for this (make them earn those groomsmen gifts! Grooms who gave out silver flasks as groomsmen gifts may find that their guys are up for anything after a few nips!). Be sure that the groomsmen know what the potential wedding crasher looks like, and instruct them to keep an eye out for that person. In very rare cases, you may even need to post a security guard at the entrance to the ceremony and reception doors.
Happily, most wedding crashers are well-intentioned, just unexpected. There are a couple of ways to deal with uninvited guests. The first tip is to be pleasant and gracious about it. The father of the bride or groom is a good person to handle the situation. They should be prepared to politely explain that since the person was not expected, they have no seat or meal awaiting them at the dinner table. Hopefully, the uninvited guest will get the hint and leave without a fuss. If there is a history of extra wedding guests in your family, you might want to just accept the reality and plan accordingly. One option is to have the chef prepare a couple of extra meals (although this can be very costly, because you will be obligated to pay for those meals whether they are eaten or not). A better solution would be to have a buffet or serving stations at your reception, then all you have to do is scrounge up a couple of additional chairs.
Weddings are complicated events, and there are always surprises that pop up. When the surprise is an uninvited guest, all you can do is deal with them pleasantly, either welcoming them to the party when feasible or gently sending them home if you cannot accommodate them. With a little foresight and planning, you can prevent wedding crashers from causing problems on your big day.