The Trouble With ‘And Guest’ In Party Planning

If you’re hosting a party, at some point you will have to turn your attention to invitations. This, in turn, leads to a tricky issue; the ‘and guest’ issue. We all know that if someone does not have a socially recognized wife or spouse – or we do not assume a level of familiarity with the individual to know if they do have a partner or not – it is accepted that the brief ‘and guest’ added to an invitation will suffice.

Yet this can be problematic, and becomes something of a social minefield What, for example, does one do in the event of divorce? What if you don’t know if the person you are inviting will feel comfortable enough to bring a guest? Suddenly, even the simple addressing of an envelope is difficult – and it has knock on effects for the party, too. For example, if you are hosting a sit down meal and are using place card names, what name do you put for the ‘guest’? And if you have need of precise numbers of guests, you can never be sure if the invited will bring that guest or not.

The solution, thankfully, is simple. Most conventional invitations contain some kind of RSVP. All one needs to do, in the cases of those who are receiving ‘Invitee and guest’ invitations, is to add a little to the RSVP. A simple check box, with the options yes or no, set to answer the question: “are you intending to bring a guest?” will suffice. A space for the name of the guest will also clear any place card issues. Add this to your invitations and you’ve successfully dodged the social minefield!


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