Your Wedding Guests Haven’t RSVPed – What’s Next?

wedding guest list
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You’ve spent a lot of time meticulously curating your guest list, creating adorable Save The Date cards and beautiful wedding invitations and choosing the perfect date to tie the knot. Because weddings are expensive events, you’ll want an accurate guest count so you’re not over-ordering the amount of chicken, cake, table settings and wedding favors you need for the reception. Asking your guests to RSVP by a certain date is crucial to wedding planning success because everything you need to arrange with your vendors depends heavily on the final guest count. Despite all your best efforts to make RSVPing as easy as possible, there will almost always be those few stragglers who don’t RSVP by your requested deadline. How do you handle this situation with proper etiquette and without seeming too pushy?

wedding save the date

Photo Credit: Basic Invite

Set An Earlier Deadline

If you’re still in the beginning stages of wedding planning, a good rule of thumb is to set an earlier RSVP deadline than you really need. This way you will have a buffer period to chase down the missing RSVPs and won’t feel the aggravation and stress that comes with handling these sorts of situations. We suggest setting a RSVP date about two weeks prior to your actual deadline. This gives you enough time to accommodate those who will send their responses a few days late, and for you to come up with a plan on how to chase down those who remain. Your vendors will appreciate you having an accurate headcount so that you won’t have to make changes too often and the fewer times you’ll have to go back and forth with your vendors with an updated headcount, the less stressed you’ll be.

wedding RSVP card

Photo Credit: Basic Invite

Develop An Action Plan

When you are going through your guest list to see which of your invitees have not responded yet, you can easily separate these people into different groups. For example, there are people who are your parent’s friends, extended family members that you don’t know too well, your friends and your partner’s friends. If you find there are a lot of people that are your parents’ guests, you can call or email your parents to inform them of who you’re waiting on. Politely ask them to follow up with these guests however they’d like, and request their RSVPs by a certain date. Because your parents are the ones that know them best and are inviting them, it is their responsibility to make sure their guests RSVP at an appropriate time. They most likely are able to reach their friends and extended family members more easily than you can, and delegating this task to your parents will reduce the amount of stress there is on you.

wedding guest list manage RSVPs

Photo Credit: WikiHow

Phone Call Or Email?

If you find that a lot of your outstanding RSVPs are your friends or your partner’s friends, you can determine how to contact them based on your relationships. If you know that your friends always respond to text messages but rarely check their voice mails, text them to see what’s going on instead of giving them a phone call. If there’s just too many people for you to follow up with personally, delegate your Maid of Honor or another member of your wedding party to either send out an email blast or call each person individually. Another good method to organize groups of people is via Facebook. You can create a private group and send out private messages that other guests cannot see. You might be surprised at the number of people who will respond more quickly to a Facebook message than to a phone call or email.

wedding guest list

Photo Credit: The Bride Academy

A lot of times people simply forget to put their RSVP cards in the mail and a quick follow up email or phone call will get you the answers you’re looking for. Although you should never automatically assume someone is not coming, it is acceptable to mention in your email or voice mail that if you don’t hear from them by a certain time or date that you’ll be putting them down as a no. This way they’ll know that their presence is based on their response or lack thereof.

What To Do With Unexpected Guests

When your big day has finally come, everything is planned to accommodate the number of guests you have received RSVPs from. There is always the possibility that guests who responded “yes” won’t be able to come last minute, and there is certainly the possibility that guests who never RSVPed show up anyway. What are you supposed to do when people show up unexpectedly?

what to do with unexpected wedding guests

Photo Credit: Hello Beautiful

Although this is a minor annoyance on the happiest day of your life, take a deep breath and remember that these people have shown up to celebrate your love and happiness. You invited them to your wedding because you wanted them to be present on your special day, and even though they dismissed the notion of invitation etiquette, they’re there for you. Ask your caterer and venue coordinator to find extra seats and put together plates of food. Or, have your Maid of Honor or Best Man handle the accommodations. Above all, don’t give into the temptation of lecturing them for neglecting to inform you they’ll be present.

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