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The Bride's Guide Blog

Etiquette: Be Discreet When Gathering Addresses

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As you round up addresses (and spellings of names) for your guest list, you're going to want to find out: Are the single cousins dating anybody? What about friends from college -- are they involved? That's data you'll need as you ponder the questions, "Should I invite boyfriends and girlfriends?" and "Can I afford for everyone to bring a date?"

But ask carefully -- you don't want to create an expectation in their minds that you're inviting casual sweethearts, just in case it turns out you have to tighten your numbers. Try stealth tactics first: Check Facebook, and ask family members or mutual friends. Still not sure? Ask their mothers, or ask them directly. (Hopefully, you'd already know if they're engaged, married, or living with someone, but not always.)

Another tip: Build this database early -- then it won't be so obvious that you're asking for the invitations.

What's your stance on guests bringing dates?

Comments (5)

  • Thank you for this post, this has been a serious issue in our house while preparing to send out invitations. We have situations like uncles with girlfriends- serious girlfriends- but girlfriends nonetheless, and then young cousins with 'girlfriends', who I've never met, but apparently they exist... so where do you make the cut off??? What I would call puppy love might really offend someone... but the flip side is having someone I have never met and really don't care about (and, let's face it, doesn't care about me) eating my food and drinking my alcohol! I know that sounds selfish, but the number of strangers on our guest list is getting alarming!! But my fiance keeps insisting that we have to to be polite and observe etiquette... So what do I do?? and more importantly, how do I convince the fiance that his uncle's serious girlfriend is different from his cousin's high school sweetie???

  • I think the whole gathering addresses task should be discreet. Most people I know send a mass text saying "send me your address to send out invites, I have to get this done asap". An out-of-the-blue invitation in the mail is so much more elegant and exciting.

  • I agree, collecting everyones address should be discreet. Similarly to the importance of spelling the guests' names correctly instead of assuming. Facebook is such a great idea of confirming certain questions. Thank you!

  • Author Comment:

    @Ashley--I wouldn't invite anybody's high-school sweetie. I think I'd insist as a minimum that the "cousin" AND the "sweetheart" be self-supporting. In other words, old enough to marry, as a minimum.

    How you convince the fiancé? I don't know that one. Maybe you point out that the younger couple does not socialize as a couple at holidays, and the older one does.

    That if you invited the h.s. cousin to family dinner, you wouldn't include the sweetie, but that if you invited the uncle, there's no way you'd leave out his girlfriend of many years.

    I think you can also have a time-based cutoff. I know some people don't like that, and think it's "judging" the relationship, but what else do you have to go on? If they're so serious, they can announce their engagement, or move in together.

  • We are trying to develop a way to streamline the process of gathering addresses in order to send out invites. We all know the trouble, gathering contact lists, making phone calls, asking all of your friends on facebook; there's a better way. Go to and fill out the forms if you have recently wed or are getting married soon. Feedback will help us develop the best way to help wedding planners around the world!

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