Etiquette School is in session! > The Ehell Guide to Never Behaving Badly

Guest lists and uninvited guests

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These are the most basic rules for any occasion:

1.  Unless the occasion is specifically an informal occasion, a group occasion or a get-together strictly for men or women, permanent couples (spouses, fiance/es, and people living together) need to be invited together as they constitute social units.  This includes same-sex couples.  Both partners must be invited by name-it is rude to invite a partner in a permanent couple as "and guest."

2.  It is not necessary to invite unattached singles with a date or "and guest."  Unattached singles are not entitled to expect to bring guests if there is no "and guest" specified on their invitation.

3.  Parents and children do not constitute social units; nor do siblings.  However, if one child in a family will be excluded if there is an arbitrary cut-off line by age, it would make sense to invite that child.

4.  If children, including toddlers and infants, are not listed on the invitation, they are not invited.  If parents are not willing or able to find baby-sitters for uninvited children, they have the option to decline the invitation.  They do not have the option to ask their hosts to accommodate the uninvited children.

5.  Hosts are not required to accommodate uninvited guests.  Expecting them to do so is very rude as it puts them on the spot and in the position of potentially being unable to accommodate everyone.

6.  The use of "and guest" on an invitation is inclusive and leaves the ball in the guest's court as to whom they bring-it does not have to be a romantic date.  If a host wants to put restrictions on whom the guest can bring, s/he should not use "and guest" on the invitation.

7.  Invitations are not transferable.  If one partner in a couple cannot attend the event, the other partner cannot invite another guest.  Nor can one give one's own invitation that one is not accepting to a guest not invited by the host.

8.  One should not use "and guest" to bring a guest not sanctioned by the hosts.

9.  When inviting small children (under the age of 6), one should also invite their parents.

10.  One should not discuss an invitational event in the presence of those who have not been invited.

11.  It is not appropriate to ask hosts about their guest lists with the intention of avoiding other potential guests unless there are extenuating circumstances.  Simple dislike of another guest does not qualify.

6. All hosts should be mindful of potential hurt feelings among their guests because of who is/is not invited.  However, hurting someone's feelings is not the same thing as being rude.  Choosing to do something that might hurt someone else's feelings is not always rude, and is sometimes necessary.

snowball's chance:
Wow, you thought of almost everything -- I might add:

As a host or guest, it's rude to discuss events with those that aren't invited, with certain exceptions.  If you are getting married, and your company is too large to invite everyone (even if you want to), it's fine to answer questions from curious collegues.  However, loudly discussing Suzie's BBQ in the break room in front of some cowrokers not invited is rude.

Just Lori:
When the invitation does specify "and guest," the guest is not limited to a romantic date.  You may bring a good friend or family member.  However, do respect the happy couple's decision to limit the guest list by age, and do not bring a guest who might distract from the event.  (I'm thinking that you don't want to bring the groom's angry ex-girlfriend, even if she's a great friend of yours and hasn't been invited personally.)  Can anyone word this better?  My brain isn't working this morning.

I like the way you worded some things "It would be kind" "have the option" etc. etc. 

I think the same-sex issue goes without saying, and spefically stating it actually weakens the intent of stating it, imo.  I realize that not everyone includes them, but I dont think this is the area to address that particular issue.

This might be a good area to address transferrability of invitations (other areas would be appropriate too)

7. Invitations are not transferable.  Only those listed on the invite are acutally invited, so if two people are invited by name, and one cannot attend, it is not appropriate to invite someone else in their stead.  (I never knew this before coming to ehell! toss me in to the fire! ;))


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