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Special Circumstances > RSVP Realities

Q. I have received several reply cards on which guests have written the names of additional guests. These guests were not invited to bring dates, and I don’t have room for additional people at the reception. What do I do?

A. Unfortunately, many people are sometimes oblivious to the rules of etiquette when it comes to replying to formal parties (or at least they pretend to be oblivious). Making personal additions to a guest list is simply inappropriate and you don’t need to stand by and let it happen. One exception is if someone wishes to bring a spouse or fiancé, in which case etiquette dictates that they actually should have been included in the first place. The easiest (and least confrontational) way to deal with this is to have a host or other neutral party call the original guest directly. He or she can simply explain to the guest that the guest list has been finalized and the additional (+1) guest cannot be accommodated, due to catering and capacity arrangements that have already been cemented. If you wish, you can send a note to the original guest apologizing for the guest list restrictions and expressing your hope that he or she will still attend. Taking the high road may seem hard, but you’ll be glad looking back.