Ask Team Practical: Accomodating Guests

How do I stop stressing out about where all of my out-of-town friends are going to stay for my wedding? I live in a studio apartment with my fiancé, and while we are very comfortable, we can fit about one guest, and I really don’t want to have anyone on the floor the week of our wedding. All of my bridesmaids and most of my friends (we are in our early twenties so all of our friends are dealing with student loan debt and not-awesome jobs) are flying in. I wish, oh how I wish, I could afford to rent a house for them to all crash in, or have them stay at my place, but I can’t. I know it will be expensive for them to get hotel rooms and I keep stressing about it. How do I stop feeling like this is my burden?

~ Sara Judy

Oh, Sara Judy, I know you, and you are the best kind of friend. You always have our favorite snacks available when we visit, you let us have the window seat on the bus and you always know when we’re having a bad day, don’t you?  You are a lovely lovely person. And I say this because I’m about to yell at you for forgetting a basic APW core belief—”Your wedding is not an imposition.”

Your friends are lovely people also, which is why you invited them. They are also grown folks (even if they are young grown folks) and can handle their accommodations themselves. They are coming because they want to come to your wedding, not because the trip is free. You will have enough to do without entertaining guests you are not prepared for, so invite them and then move on to other things. You can be helpful by reserving a block of rooms at a cheaper rate at a nearby hotel (you may be required to give a credit card to hold them, but you should NEVER be charged for this) or suggesting mutual friends’ couches they can surf on, but in the end, it is your friends’ duty to figure our their own accommodations. Think about it! They go places all the time without a block of rooms to help them out. They use Trip Advisor! They use Airbnb. Block of rooms or not, they are going to be just fine (and if they won’t be fine, they don’t have to come).

Of course, I’m assuming your stress is self-inflicted. Now if the stress is coming from the friends in the form of “Oh, I don’t know if I can AFFORD it, WHERE will I stay?!?” comments, well that’s terrible and they should be ashamed. But my advice is still the same. If they can’t come because they have nowhere to stay, that’s very sad, but tell them you understand. Sometimes such comments are sneaky sneakerson ways of getting a free ride; when faced with empathy but little else, you may be surprised how fast they’ll find a place to stay.

P.S. Under no circumstances should someone sleep on your floor during your wedding. Not to be obvious, but for god’s sake, weddings are for getting laid.

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My mom’s best friend (and close family friend) is highly allergic to perfumes and colognes to the point where she’s been hospitalized and wears a mini air purifier clipped to her shirt so that she breathes in clean air. My mom wants to add something to the invitations to the effect of “Please refrain from wearing perfume or cologne” so that her friend doesn’t have any issues. I don’t mind doing this—quite frankly some people don’t know how to stop at one spray—but what is the best way to word this on the invite so it doesn’t seem awkward or rude?

~Christina

Christina, your question is way more universal than you might think. It’s also a situation that, when it pops up, can stop you in your tracks—how to accommodate guests with unexpected allergies or health issues.

Etiquette isn’t about governing behavior, it’s about helping set a standard so that everyone knows what to expect and no one’s feelings are hurt. However, when it comes to the comfort of your guests, there are times you can do things that others might see as a breach of etiquette. Might Aunt Melba think, “For the comfort of our medically sensitive guests, please refrain from wearing perfume or cologne,” written in your invitation is gauche? Possibly. But unless you add bathing stations to your budget, how else are you supposed to let people know to lay off the Jovan Musk? A kindly stated request or signage at your reception is never rude or awkward if it is in the best interest of a guest. Just keep it short, simple and make sure it includes words like “guests” to keep it ambiguous as to who actually has the issue. Also, remember that just because you request it doesn’t mean it will be honored. People forget or may not think of it as that big a deal. In order to offset that, make sure to think ahead in regards to things that would affect the guest, like finding a well-ventilated area of your venue where she can sit. And don’t underestimate the power of family and friends; a few words about the importance of the request in well-placed ears can go a long way in spreading the word.

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One thing I’m struggling with is our registry. As much as I’m all “I LIKE STUFF!!!” I also hate the idea of people dropping a ton of cash to travel to our destination-type wedding and then in addition having to bring us a gift. Especially a gift that was on sale when we registered for it but has since gone up over seventy dollars in price. Oh. My. Lands! And I know there’s the whole “people want to bring you a gift, people WANT to celebrate your day” argument and I appreciate that. I really, really appreciate that. But here’s the thing—I’m a bargain shopper. Like a hardcore bargain shopper who almost never buys anything full price. So when I see my china on a deal-a-day site selling for one hundred dollars less than the department store price? I kind of freak out because that means one of my people may be overpaying.  So… I guess my probably totally inappropriate question is: Is there anyway to pass the word about deals like this? I feel like it’d be a huge no-no but I’m in the Forest of Wedding Land and having a hard time seeing the forest for the trees.

~ It Best Be a Bargain! Bride

Who doesn’t love a good bargain? Way back when, APW’s tagline was “Creative. Thrifty. Sane.” so you know getting a good price is in the site’s DNA.

HOWEVER. (You knew that was coming.)  This is not really okay. A registry is a suggestion, and informing your guests when a particular item is on sale edges into the “Gimmee, gimmee, gimmee” territory and that’s not you. (Right? Right. Good.) While it is a strange but sweet gesture, I don’t see any way it can be perceived as anything but rude. And if your guests are anything like me, an email letting me know your china is 50% off on Groupon is a sure way for you to make sure that I spend your wedding gift money on a pile of Sham-Wow’s.

What would be okay, is if you used those bargain sites as a way to purchase your registry items yourself and then remove them from the list. It’s very rare for people to get everything on their list anyway, so you are more than likely going to have to buy that KitchenAid anyway. So get it, and hog that bargain high all to yourself. It’ll be our little secret. And, you know, your mom can spread the word to her best girlfriend and your favorite aunt, if they love a bargain as much as you do. But leave that to your mama and the phone.

And relax. Your guests are totally adults. Seriously. They are perfectly capable of googling a bargain, just like you. So let them do their thing. Chances are, lots of them have been buying wedding gifts longer than you’ve been alive, and they know a thing or two about how to do it. Now stop worrying, and go plan a wedding already!

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Alrighty, Team Practical. How did you/would you handle accommodating guests? We know you have some stories you’re dying to share, so let ‘er rip!

Photo by Emily Takes Photos from the APW Flickr Pool.

If you would like to ask Team Practical a question please don’t be shy! You can email Alyssa at: askteampractical [at] apracticalwedding [dot] com or use the submission form here.  If you would prefer to not be named, anonymous questions are also accepted. Though we prefer if you make up a totally ridiculous sign-off like conflicted and rageful but deeply in love in Detroit (CARBDILID, duh). However, don’t let thinking up a sign-off stress you out; we’ll love you regardless. You’re already writing in for advice, don’t you have enough to deal with, sweetie?

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