Are you wondering how to handle guests who don’t RSVP on time? Should you just wait it out and hope they’ll call (they probably won’t), or leave a seat open just in case they show up on the big day? It is frustrating, isn’t it? And the last thing you want is an empty seat at your wedding or, worse, no seating for an unexpected guest who did not RSVP. What a conundrum. Today we’re tackling this tricky etiquette question submitted by Leah, who asks,
“Hi Emmaline, I’m wondering how to handle guests who haven’t RSVPed yet to my wedding. My final head count is due in just three weeks and I’m still waiting on a handful of no responses. What should I do?”
How to Handle Guests Who Don’t RSVP
Good question, Leah! I think every couple ends up with at least a few no responses. Isn’t it a shame that, even with a simple yes or no card and a pre-stamped, pre-addressed envelope, some guests don’t send it in? While you are understandably fixated on your daily mailbox and counting up plus ones, your guests are busy with the usual day-to-day stuff. Life! Life happens. As the bride, don’t sweat it. It’s frustrating, yes, but there are some seriously easy ways to get your head count without stalking guests’ Facebook pages or knocking door-to-door. ;) And that’s why we’re here to help! Here’s how to handle guests who don’t RSVP for your wedding on time.
Follow-up with them.
Call, email, or text — whatever you’re most comfortable with, and perhaps, the method of communication you usually use when speaking with the individual. If it is someone you don’t know very well (i.e. your dad’s co-worker, your mom’s friend, a cousin twice-removed), enlist some help. Perhaps your mom, dad, or beloved Maid of Honor can help reach out to those late-minute responders.
Pro Tip: Relax!
It’s rude, and frustrating, and probably the last thing you want to do right before the head count is due, but relax and let it go. Although the RSVP is pretty standard protocol for weddings, some guests disregard it or forget about going it all together. Don’t take offense; guests who don’t rsvp on time aren’t necessarily any less excited or delighted to be a part of your festivities. Some guests wait until the last minute to make travel plans, while some are trying to confirm babysitting arrangements. For others, it could be their invitation got lost, misplaced in a stack of mail at home, or maybe it slid between the middle console of their car’s front seats on the way to the mailbox. (That seat gap is basically an abyss; I think I have like twelve dollars and eighty-five quarters, my old debit card, a french fry, and a parking pass lost in there somewhere. Anyone try one of these? Tell me if it works!) Hey, stuff happens!
Sidebar: how cute are these RSVPs?! By Smitten Paper Co.
Whatever the case, try to remain calm and friendly when you call. Or email. Or text. Keep the conversation simple and to-the-point. Something along the lines of,
“HI! I hope you are well. I wanted to make sure you received our wedding invitation. We need to send in our final head count to the venue next week. We were wondering if you will be able to make it? Please let us know when you get a chance. Please call me back at _____, text, or email at _____. Thank you! We hope to see you there!”
So, what if you make the calls and leave messages and still… nothing?! Here’s what to do next.
How to Handle Guests Who Don’t RSVP and Also Don’t Respond
So, how to handle guests who don’t rsvp AND don’t respond after contacting them? Well, you did what you could; chances are, he or she is not attending. It would be nice if they would tell you one way or another, but that’s just how it goes sometimes. Don’t sweat it. Count them out but don’t take offense. You never know what someone has going on in his or her life.
How to Handle Guests Who Don’t RSVP and Then Show Up Anyway
Ah, the nerve! One of the biggest worry couples have when it comes to RSVPs is how to handle guests who don’t RSVP and then show up at your wedding. It happens. Sometimes guests, I suppose, forget to RSVP or can’t remember if they did and then show up at the wedding. Here’s what to do: don’t make a big deal, just go with the flow. Many venues will have an allowance for a few unexpected guests (you’ll need to pay for them on the final bill, but at least they won’t feel unwelcomed), even at the very last minute. So, don’t sweat it. If you see someone looking around for an escort card to no avail, chances are they’re a no-responder (and you can ask your venue what to do if it happens).
P.S. It’s helpful to have a day-of coordinator in instances like this, as they can quickly seat guests and speak to the caterer so you don’t have to worry about a thing.
Hope it helps!