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I come from a very big family (31 first cousins) and I only see them about once a year since they live in Mexico and I live in Spain (I live alone with my brother, all the rest of the family is in Mexico). One of my cousins is getting married in November, I get along with him very well but we rarely speak if I´m not in Mexico.

I've been thinking more and more of my GF as a long term partner, and since I only go once a year to Mexico I would like her to meet my family this November in the wedding. It´s a very good time since everyone will be there and I think they will get along with her nicely.

I would like to ask my cousin if it would be possible for her to come, but since we rarely speak and the wedding date is very close I really don't know how to approach this. I'm thinking via text would be better, since calling would probably be weird.

  • I would like to take my GF to the wedding, and to archieve this I need to know whats the best way to ask my cousin. Is this something very inappropiate so close to the wedding? Is it common, so just something straightforward and not make too much fuss about it? – patch Sep 12 '18 at 6:32
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    An important question is how big is the wedding. As if it is 150+ people probably 1 unexpected wouldn't be a big deal. If it is 30 people then it is. Do you have any reason to believe he would refuse you if you just called and explained that you wish to bring a +1? – Ontamu Sep 12 '18 at 6:42
  • It´s a big wedding. I just feel like it´s very close to the wedding date and he would probably have all the tables planned and booked, so it´s very likely to be an inconvenience. Since we usually only talk once a year, when we see each other, I would like to find a nice way of asking. – patch Sep 12 '18 at 6:50
  • Are you spending enough time around the wedding in Mexico that it would make sense to bring your GF to meet people even if she couldn't attend the actual wedding? – DaveG Sep 12 '18 at 10:31
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    @DaveG I´m staying a whole week, but if she can´t attend the wedding (which is going to last a whole day and well into the morning of the next) I don´t think it would make sense for her to come, nor would I want her to be alone in my parents house while I´m having fun. – patch Sep 12 '18 at 10:43
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Making last minute changes to a wedding can be stressful but by no means impossible.

I would suggest if you can't see the bride and groom in person then the next best alternative is to call. Calling allows you to feel out the situation a bit and get out of the it if you need to.

A few pointers for the call:

  • Try to call when both of them are together as you don't want one making a decision without the other about their wedding

  • Don't put them on the spot by requesting an immediate answer. Just ask and arrange to call back in a few days so they can see if it is possible.

  • Give them a way out. You don't want them to think that if they refuse you, you won't be able to celebrate with them.

However weird calling might feel it is more personal than a text and you are making a personal request from them. You will get a better response in my opinion with a call.

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    Yeah I think you are right... I felt a little bit anxious calling him but it seems like a much better option than just texting him. – patch Sep 12 '18 at 10:41
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I mostly agree with the key points in the existing answers:

  • Don't put them on the spot to make an immediate decision: Let them know you are interested in inviting your girlfriend and ask them to let you know at a later time if that is possible
  • Make clear that you are okay with their decision either way: Use language requesting whether this is possible
  • Acknowledge to yourself and in your request that this might be a big ask: Apologize for the proximity to the event and note that you realize planning something like this can be quite stressful

I think the decision of whether to call or text/email depends on your overall goal. If you want to increase the chance that your girlfriend is invited, a call might be more persuasive, but it also might put more pressure on the couple. A text or email is less intrusive and lets them decide on their own time. If you and your cousin are fairly young people (especially 30s and younger), the days of text being too informal for this type of conversation have passed (I say this from a US context; I can't know this is necessarily true in Spain/Mexico). Personally, I would rather receive a text communication when asked something like this while planning an event like this: it makes it less likely to make a hasty decision or even hesitant commitment without the other half of the couple's input, for example.

I would also suggest that you in some way make clear your girlfriend may not be able to attend (assuming this is the case and you haven't already asked her; you should wait to hear from your cousin before doing so) unless you plan for her to come regardless of her participation in the wedding (which you indicate you do not): it would be a bit of a faux pas to let your cousin make arrangements for a +1 and then you find out your girlfriend is unable or unwilling to attend.

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Events like weddings can be either "assigned" or "open" seating, and you haven't specified which this is.

Assigned seating events are those where the host have precisely determined exactly how many people are coming and have to pay for a dinner for each, whether or not they show up. These usually have guests seated at specific tables, so adding another guests can mean shuffling around everyone else to make sure everyone is seated, and also seated where they should be.

Open seating is less formal, and there should be plenty of seating for everyone. Guests are meant to find their own seats, and will often serve themselves from a buffet table. With open seating adding a few more people is usually fairly trivial -- the list isn't "set" so it's assumed that single guests may bring a "plus one".

So it depends. If this is a formal event where the guest list was decided months ago, then you may ask, but be prepared to have your relations say "no" -- not because they want to be mean, but because it might mean uninviting another guest (which should be avoided).

On the other hand, if it's an open event (not atypical with large families where they're never sure exactly who might show up, and they wouldn't want to offend some distant relation) they should be more flexible.

I agree with the other answer that calling them is probably best, especially since time is short. If they're busy with the wedding arrangements, a text or email can be overlooked. It can be simple yet diplomatic, something like:

Hi cousin! Congratulations on your upcoming nuptials! I know this is last-minute but I was hoping to bring my girlfriend to your wedding so she can meet the whole family. I understand completely if this would be an inconvenience, of course, but I just wanted to check if it was possible.

Asking "is this possible" gives them an easy way to say "no", if it would be too much trouble. It also gives them an easy way to say "yes", as they may be enthusiastic about meeting your girlfriend, and it's always nice to have more people come to this kind of celebration.

  • At my wedding reception, we'd contracted for a certain number of guests, and had to pay for that many meals. The caterers were happy to serve some additional number of people (I don't know how much) and charged for the extras. – David Thornley Sep 18 '18 at 16:48
  • @DavidThornley It would also depend on if it's assigned seating. If there are only so many tables and chairs, then any extra guests might not have a place to sit. Of course, someone who RSVP'ed might not show up anyway, but that's a social faux pas, at least without a good excuse. – Andrew Sep 18 '18 at 20:45
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People often bring guests to weddings, it's called a "plus one". Call up your cousin and ask him about it.

As a side, plus ones are typically included in the wedding invitation. Your cousin has probably has quite a few calls already.

  • Whether or not the invitation included a plus one, the OP is talking about a change of plans shortly before the wedding. They presumably already RSVPed only for one, because their relationship with this girlfriend would have been fresh at that time. – Bryan Krause Sep 18 '18 at 16:54

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