How Do You Handle a Spate of Uninvited Wedding Guests?

Because all advice goes down easier with a drink (even a non-alcoholic one). Especially when it's picked at random from our columnist's extensive collection of community cookbooks

Dear Pink Lady,

My wife's cousin is getting married this summer, and invitations arrived this week. Ours was addressed to the family (her, me, both children) by name. My brother-in-law's invitation was addressed to just him—not his spouse or child. He plans to RSVP for all his family; my wife agrees with him. I think he at least owes a call to the cousin—yes, it may be an oversight, but it may be intentional. Am I right?

—Don't Know The Groom's Name

Dear Cousin-in-Law,

Yes, you are right. And while I don't often answer questions with other questions, I suggest you may want to invite your brother-in-law over for "Summer Stingers" and hand him the following, which just happened to land in my inbox at the same time as your quandary …

Dear Pink Lady,

I recently got married. Everything went as planned except for one little thing—I invited my cousin and his wife, and they showed up with five extra people! It's not the first time they've pulled this little stunt. Should I say anything? I'm furious at their total disregard for etiquette and my feelings. Or should I just stay quiet for the family's sake?

—Confused Bride

Dear Bride,

It is not often the Pink Lady is rendered speechless, but your query did just that. She has heard many a tale of a wedding guest showing up with an uninvited date or unwanted children, but five extra guests? That takes the wedding cake. She's also surprised to hear that it was your cousin and his wife, because she's found that once people host their own wedding, they realize each guest adds an extra $75 or $150 or more to the wedding's cost.

But just as there is no accounting for the existence of certain bridesmaids dresses, there is no explanation for some people's rudeness. So let it be said again: If your name is not on the envelope enclosing the wedding invitation, you are not invited. If it does not specifically say "and guest," you cannot bring anyone else. If you are married and suspect the omission of your spouse is an oversight, then it is permissible to contact the bride to double-check that your wife is indeed not invited. Because she might not be. It is the prerogative of the people paying the $150 per head to invite whomever they want to share their special day. It is not your prerogative to assume anything about their guest list, or to take advantage of their hospitality by showing up with freeloading friends.

Now, back to your dilemma: Since your wedding passed without incident, I wouldn't say anything to your cousins—what's done is done. But before you invite them to your next party, specifically tell them that only the two of them are invited—no one else—and that if they don't respect your wishes, they will be left off the guest list for future gatherings. In the meantime, whenever the remembrance of their rudeness raises your hackles, cool down with a "Summer Stinger."


The Pink Lady

Summer Stinger

Mix 3 parts gin with 2 parts Crème de Menthe (white or green). Add a large twist of lime or lemon peel. Shake or stir with ice; strain. Serve cold.

This week's drink is from The Memphis Cook Book (Memphis, Tenn., 1952).

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