Often people in the wedding industry hear the common phrase “we can just add a few people right?” This phrase is often typical a few days to even just a few hours before a wedding. While this small phrase can seem simple enough, and in hindsight should be easy to accommodate, it can very well have a ripple effect on creating what can be a tidal wave of complications.
While yes, this does seem simplistic, there are so many factors to consider. Consider that the new wedding guests are required to have a seat at the venue at a guest table. Which table do the new guests sit at? Does the seating chart require to be completely re-arranged? Is another table required to be added? Can the table fit into the venue or does the venue even have another table to situate people at? Venues typically request a confirmed floor plan one-two weeks away from the wedding to ensure that they have all of the resources necessary for set up. For example, tables and chairs and having time to schedule teams on site for set up and the placement of all the tables and chairs. Depending on the venue, they may have a set up team of technicians who come in early in the morning to do set up according to the floor plan and leave for the day. If a floor plan changes drastically last minute, there may not be staff on site to change everything accordingly.
Along with questions about seating, décor would also have to be considered a factor and there are many questions to consider there as well. Can the decorator provide new linen if a new table is necessary? Do they have extra chair covers and napkins? Do they have extra charger plates? Does this completely re-arrange their décor seating chart as well? Are new place cards required to be made? Can they be made quickly? Are enough favours ordered? If not, can new favours be brought in quickly? Can the seating chart be revised and re-printed? Is the florist able to create a new centerpiece last minute? Are they able to get enough product in in time? Decorators will reserve stock of their items per requirements of the events they have booked and may not have extra stock items available if booked last minute. Perhaps wedding A has booked 150 chiavari chairs and the decorator owns 300 chairs. They may have another event the exact same day with the other 150 chairs booked, with now none to spare. Some items may have had to have been special ordered as well. The same will go for rental companies.
This ripple effect may also be very problematic for the venue. When adding last minute wedding guests, it increases the meal count. The meal count for the venue is crucial as they will order what they need depending on the number of guests. Often the menu the venue is serving is custom made for a wedding and they may not have extra of those items on hand, as some things may have had to have been special ordered perhaps weeks in advance. This also comes to play if there are menu choices for the guests. If adding last minute wedding guests, are they now having the chicken or the steak? Of course, every venue will have a 10% leeway on the menu items, which means they will have extra just in case, however you never want to risk not having a proper meal for guests.
Keep in mind, all of these vendors should be contacted prior to saying yes to last minute wedding guest requests, as some venues and vendors may have a clause in their contract stating that final numbers, final rental count, etc., has to be done so far in advance and they may not accommodate last minute requests.
If all of these questions are solved and answered, and those last minute wedding guests can be added, that is great! However, keep in mind, your budget for all of those vendors will now increase, as additional costs will be added, not to mention you may face a penalty charge for adding items so close to the actual event.
For what is a small seemingly simple phrase, last minute wedding guests can get complicated and there are so questions that are required to be answered. If you do ever encounter this situation, don’t ever hesitate to seek out assistance. Sometimes those small little last minute phrases, are best to be passed on.