When plus 1 means plus 1 – How to manage your event guest list

When plus 1 means plus 1 – How to manage your event guest list

Whilst British culture denotes that guests are quite polite and generally abide by our event rules (RSVP by this date, arrive at venue before 7pm etc.) our wedding guests from across the seas have proven to be ….erm….lets just say…less well behaved.

If you’re from West Africa,  Asia and the Caribbean you will be all too familiar with the premise that an event is a community affair and that an invitation sent with a plus 1 can often translate to mean plus 5 with partners and children.

Don’t despair….Bumble Events has some hot tips to help you manage your guest list.


  1. Make it official…..set up an email  rsvp  (event specific email address); think jon&sarahengagement@gmail.com …..you get the drift.


  1. Send invites with a little note stating that invitations are for those named on the invite ONLY. Trust me; this is a tried and tested method. My own Jamaican / Nigerian engagement party could have extended into the thousands (I’m not kidding) if not for this tip. I also had a note stating that the venue could only hold a set amount and if we exceeded this number we would be asked to refuse entry to guests. Sneaky I know, but it works and that’s all that matters.


  1. Have an automatic email response on said email above which reminds guests that invites are only for those named.  Sound like overkill? It isn’t. People may be a bit narked about the reminder but I’d much prefer to be able to feed and seat my guests rather than have groups of folk standing around looking hungry. No one will know they are uninvited and assume you’ve not planned well leaving you feeling stressed.


  1. If you’re a bit of a chicken (I know there are some aunties out there who will rock up with a small village in tow and profess to have not seen your clear, capitalised and bold instructions) then get mum, dad or assertive big sister to get the message out to the worst event offenders .


  1. Nearer the time contact guests to confirm their attendance and name of plus 1s.  This should make most people (aunties permitting) think twice about defying the rules.


  1. Think of a club night at the hottest venue in town. Hire some bouncers and give them a guest list. Give the guests wrist bands and refuse entry to anyone not on the list.  Obviously this isn’t doable for all types of events but in some cases such as parties this can fly. It has the added bonus of making your invited guests feel special.


  1. Plan for the inevitable. As an experienced project manager I believe in building contingency into all of my events.  If you know that, despite all your best efforts, the guest list could get out of control then just invite less people than the venue can hold. Get the venue to set up a few spare tables and chairs and get the caterers to provide for 10% more than your invited guests and you should be ok. Uninvited guests can be seated on the spare tables and you can give them a death stare to ensure they don’t do it again.


I hope you’ve found these tips useful. We’d love to hear how you’ve coped with managing your guests lists.


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