Weddings are a celebration of two people and two families coming together. From planning to the reception, couples surround themselves with the people they trust and love to mark the start of a new stage in their lives.
There are multiple reasons why a couple may choose to have a smaller guest count. Whether it be because of budgetary constraints, venue restrictions, or a preference for an intimate ceremony, there are polite ways and alternative methods to let your friends and family know that there will be limited guests.
You may use one of the listed statements below when announcing that your wedding will have limited guests. Other methods are also provided. Lastly, tips in announcing this limitation and dealing with guests are also given.
How to Politely Say “Guests are Limited” in an RSVP
- “Our wedding will be a small, intimate ceremony, and only those who are closest to us will be in attendance.”
- “Unfortunately, we cannot accommodate guests not indicated in the invitation. Rest assured that you will be seated with people you know!”
- “We politely request that only the people listed in the invitation be present. We hope to have a bigger celebration with everyone at a different time!”
Specifying the Number of Seats Available Per Family
It is common for RSVPs to contain the line “We have reserved (number) seats for you and your family,” or another variation of it. It gives the group or family the freedom to decide who can attend the ceremony, while kindly limiting the size of their attendance.
Personalize the RSVP
Although it is typical to leave a “fill in the blank” name line in your RSVP, you may choose to address a specific person. This implicitly states that only the specified person is invited.
Likewise, you may use two blank name lines. The party to which this RSVP is extended can fill in the blanks with the two people who will attend.
Alternatively, you may leave one line blank and write “& Guest” after, signifying that they are allowed to bring a plus one to the event.
You may also choose to specifically address the envelope itself to only the guests invited. For example, you may address the invitation as:
- “Mr. & Mrs. Dela Cruz”
- “Mr. & Mrs. Brown, Charles Brown”
- “Mr. & Mrs. Lee, Carter Lee, & 1 Guest”
Personalizing the RSVP can also be a way to specify who is or is not invited. An example of a personalized note would be: “Hi, (name) and (name)! (Name of their kids) are a joy to be around, but unfortunately, the venue does not permit children to attend. We will be partnering with a crèche service to look after our guests’ kids. Let us know if you will be availing of this service, and we hope to see you on our special day!”
While this may entail more work on your side, your guests will appreciate the information. A personalized note may also be easier to accept and seem more polite than a generalized statement.
Some couples may opt for a kids-free ceremony and/or reception for various reasons. For one, some venues and caterers may charge additional fees to accommodate children. Some activities during the reception may also be inappropriate for children.
There are polite ways to indicate in your RSVP that your wedding will be kids-free, and alternatives such as hiring a crèche service to look after your guests’ children.
Additionally, here are some additional options to politely say that your event will be for adults only.
- “Parenting is a fulfilling but tiring full-time job. We thought you might appreciate the entire day off, so we decided to make our special day adults only!”
- “We humbly request that no children be present in the reception. This is to give all our guests a chance to enjoy and celebrate without worrying about little eyes and ears.”
Limiting the Number of Children
For some occasions, it may be impossible to completely restrict children from your wedding. Some close friends and relatives may have kids of their own. Additionally, children may play a role in your ceremony, such as ring bearers and flower girls.
Some polite wordings for your RSVP include:
- “Unfortunately, we can only accommodate the children of immediate family and closest friends. We apologize for the inconvenience this may cause.”
- “We kindly remind you that only infants under the age of 12 months are allowed to attend.”
- “Due to venue capacity and guidelines, we are only able to accommodate the children part of the wedding party. We hope you understand.”
- “Because of the venue’s seating capacity, we can only accommodate children named in the invitations.”
- “Although we cannot invite all of the children, we are glad to inform you that we have made arrangements with a daycare service to look after your kiddos during the ceremony.”
Cite Venue/Service Restrictions
It is always good to check in with the venue’s and service’s rules and guidelines when thinking about the guest list for your wedding. Venues usually have a maximum capacity when it comes to attendees. Furthermore, caterers, photobooths, and other event-related services have different charges depending on the number of guests.
This largely connects to the previous alternatives, as venue restrictions are a common reason why couples tend to limit their guests.
Here are some polite wordings to limit guests based on venue restrictions.
- “Unfortunately, the venue we have chosen does not allow children under the age of 18. We hope you can still join us on your special day!”
- “Our venue can only accommodate (number) people. Thus, we have taken a lot of care to choose our guest list and organize the seating arrangement. We hope you understand!”
- “Regrettably, the venue of our reception is not accessible for persons with disabilities, as there is a lack of ramps to access the venue. We are very sorry about this.”
Cite Budget Constraints
There is no shame in admitting that the reason guests will be limited is of a financial nature. Especially in medium and large-sized weddings, the cost of the venue can rack up depending on the number of guests. Here are some ways to politely let your guests know:
- “We would love to host a larger reception, but due to financial constraints, we can only accommodate (number) people. We hope you understand!”
- “Because of budget restrictions, we are hosting a small and intimate ceremony. Thus, no guests can be accommodated. We hope for your kind understanding.”
Following Up on RSVPs
Usually, RSVPs come with a “reply by” date. It is possible that not everyone will be punctual in their response. It is best to leave around a week of allowance before politely following up with your guests.
Some may have simply forgotten to respond, or the reply by date slipped their mind; some may be having reservations about those included in the invitation. Regardless, you must hear them out and respect their decision.
Once your RSVPs have been sent out, and during the follow-up, be prepared to answer questions and inquiries about the invitations. It is possible that some families will try to get more seats reserved for their party. You must be patient as you talk to them to prevent any conflict; likewise, they are more likely to understand your point when you are calm and friendly.
In line with the first tip, you must be completely honest and transparent with your guests while explaining. If the reason you are limiting your guests is financial limitations, let them know. If it is because some of the planned activities for the reception are inappropriate for kids, tell them.
You may include an honest explanation in your RSVP as to why the guests are limited to a certain number. Additionally, you may also let your guests know through a social media post, a group chat, or an update on your wedding website.
Your guests will appreciate your honesty, and this will also avoid potential conflicts and hurt feelings.
Validate the Number of Guests Once RSVPs Come In
A few weeks before the wedding, it may be a good idea to send a reminder to everyone who has sent their RSVPs. This is to see if changes need to be made, such as a guest having to miss the wedding because of an important appointment. This may open the door for another guest who wanted to attend the wedding but originally could not go.
You will also need the final headcount for wedding-related services such as ushers and caterers.
What if Someone RSVPs With an Uninvited Guest?
Unfortunately, there will be guests who will RSVP with more people than they should. There are two things you can do in this situation:
- Call the guest and explain that the guests are limited, thus you can only bring what the invitation has specified. Be patient and honest when doing so. Also let them know that if other guests decline the RSVP, you will inform them and allow them to bring their plus one.
- Simply let them bring someone. While this saves you some work and additional headaches, you may run into some logistical problems such as catering or seating.
Regardless of the reason behind it, it is perfectly understandable for a couple to limit the number of attendees at their wedding. They have multiple ways they can announce it: through a polite statement in their RSVP, a post on their wedding website, and more. However, it is important that they stay calm and be as honest as possible.