The thought of uninvited guests showing up on your big day would turn any bridechilla into a bridezilla. Couples are going above and beyond to make sure guests are aware who is and who is not invited, but sometimes the method of delivery isn’t the best.

I’m often asked to add a line on wedding RSVP cards worded something like: “We have reserved ____ number of seats in your honor. Number attending ____.” The couple would pre-fill in the first blank prior to mailing in an effort to be extra clear on who is invited to bring a guest and/or their children.

Turn Off? Rude? Confusing?

The truth is, guests should know exactly who is invited by the way the envelope is addressed. I’m saying they should, not that they will. However, most will – so it’s important not to offend or confuse anyone by putting extra information on the RSVP card.

Instead? To solve your anxiety, but remain polite, add a space for guests to fill in how many will attend. This is traditional and I can’t imagine offensive in anyway. In the unlikely chance that someone fills in “2” when only one was invited, deal with the situation then.

Why you don't need the "Reserved Seats" wording on your wedding RSVP card

If it’s a close friend or family member of the bride or groom, I would casually reach out and let them know that the invitation was for one and you hope they’ll be able to make it alone. (I’ll write another post soon on whether to add “plus ones” or not for your single guests) If it’s an extended family member, coworker, or friend of your parents, and you don’t feel totally comfortable “confronting” them, have your wedding planner reach out.

Don’t get me wrong, this approach isn’t perfect either. There is a chance of an awkward conversation, but I find that to be pretty unlikely! By only having to communicate this with guests who aren’t clear on their invitation, you remove any chance of offending or confusing anyone else.

That being said, this is just my opinion and personal experience. At the end of the (wedding) day, you should do what works best for you and your guests! If you’re inviting a lot of people who you think will be confused with the amount allowed, then by all means – be explicit.

I will politely suggest etiquette to couples I work with on wedding invitations, but ultimately am happy to do whatever they decide. Wondering what other things to leave off your invitation? Read this post on common wedding invitation mistakes!


4 Comments on Why You Don’t Need the “Reserved Seats” Wording on your RSVP Card

  1. I felt this way until I got an RSVP card back from a couple that squeezed the names of their 3 children and 1 house guest on the RSVP card. When I called to say that just the couple was invited due to budget and space limitations I was screamed at by the couple who then called my mother. This wasn’t an isolated incident. 10 of the 65 rsvp cards that were sent back has more people than were named on the invitation. 5 of the people who were expected not to bring a date called and asked if they could have one despite the number of RSVPs. Not being straight forward at the start created arguments and undo stress. Just be clear from the start it might ruffle some feathers, but it’s way better than being surprised by how rude and inconsiderate of your budget your friends and family are.

    • Agree 100%. Prevent the awkward conversation before it even begins by listing off exactly how many people are included. Leaving a line for guests to fill out gives them the false sense that it’s up to them how many to bring. Clarity at the start is key. Thankfully with many RSVPs being online now, the website does the dirty work to ensure only those specifically invited are allowed to RSVP.

  2. I completely disagree. I’m in a group with 69k 2023 brides and no one has said they regret doing the “we have reserved ___ seats in your honour”; people have only been grateful to do it that way. I would *much* rather address it up front and make it obvious to everyone instead of making them ask or addressing it when they put too many people. I addressed a STD to Aunt XYZ and family, meaning for it to be her long term boyfriend and her two kids, but “and family” is very vague and I was not about to address 4 people in the space on the postcard. Thankfully she messaged me when she got the STD to confirm who was invited before she made plans, but not everyone will do that. If we had only meant for it to be her and the kids and she put her boyfriend’s name on the RSVP, I would’ve had to either slide an extra seat in there or go to Aunt XYZ and say “oh actually ABC isn’t invited…” which in my opinion will cause many more problems. There is a way to go about things and what you wrote is NOT it

  3. I think “we have reserved __ seats in your honor” is MUCH less offensive and uncomfortable than having to later call and confront a rude (yup, filling in more than on the envelope is rude) guest.

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