Wedding Etiquette and Inviting Too Many Guests

Here's a story of what happens when people don't pay attention to the terms "Maximum Capacity" for their reception venues.

There was a wedding where the groom's friends arrived at the reception, only to find that they had been placed at the "kids' table," so to speak. The table was populated with most of the groom's friends, which wouldn't have been so bad, except that it was also out on the balcony of the reception hall. Really outside, I mean "door closed to keep the air conditioning in" outside.

So this group of friends was a little peeved, but since it was their friend they didn't say anything. And they continued to not say anything because nobody would have heard them. The waiters kept forgetting that they were out on the balcony, so their food didn't come in a timely manner, shall we say. It actually didn't come at all, until they got up themselves to find someone who could help them.

The whole thing took so long, the dancing had already begun inside when they were still waiting to eat. They said that they basically had their noses pressed up against the doors watching everyone inside having a good time while they were outside fighting over the crumbs in the bread basket.

The guest who told me this said that it was pretty obvious that their group had been singled out to be put outside, but that he didn't think his friend even knew about it. He said that they weren't rowdy at all, and that the group included a couple of the guys' wives, so it wasn't like they were all going to go crazy and be disruptive. So the reason why they were in no-man's land was still a mystery to him, but he wasn't happy about it.

It's not a mystery to me. It's pretty obvious that this was a case of someone ignoring the venue's capacity rules and inviting too many people.

So the lesson for brides-to-be is to not overbook your hall. If they have a limit, limit yourself. Don't think that guests won't mind being put somewhere strange, or cramped into a table that isn't built to accommodate the number of guests you have seated there. They'll notice, and they won't be happy about it. And they'll tell people about that awful reception they went to for years to come.

Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC, custom wedding cakes in Richmond VA, and cake supplies online at and