Don’t panic! What to do when your guests fail to RSVP

Planning a wedding requires a lot of time and patience and nerves may occasionally get the better of you. Creating a guest list, calculating the number of people and preparing the invitations are just a few of the things on your list. But what happens once you’ve sent the invites? Before you over think this question we’ll give you some tips to prevent you getting too stressed about certain situations. 

Photo: Benjamin Chan
Photo: Benjamin Chan

A wedding is something so important in people’s lives that one of the first things that is thought about is who to invite and who will share that special moment with you, and it’s natural that your closest friends and family will be top of your list before you’ve even thought about the designs for your invitations.

Planning a wedding partly depends on the number of guests that will attend, which is why your wedding invitations are one of the first things you should think about after securing a date and booking your ceremony and reception. Generally they are sent out a minimum of 12 weeks in advance (3 months) or earlier for weddings abroad, so that guests can confirm their attendance, pencil in the date and make travel plans if necessary. Once they’ve been sent, all you can do is wait… but how long?

Photo: Sarah Parrot
Photo: Sarah Parrot
Photo: Chavelli
Photo: Chavelli

First things first. You have to ensure that all the necessary information and details to RSVP are included in your invitations so that guests can get in touch with you. You might want to set up a specific email address for your wedding, or provide more than one phone number so that people can confirm or decline. Having an email address exclusively for your wedding will ensure nothing is missed, confused with work emails or deleted by accident.

Photo: Cottontail
Photo: Cottontail
Photo: Cottontail
Photo: Cottontail

Another important item to include in your invitations is a “respond by” date. This way it is loud and clear to the recipient as to when they need to respond by at the very latest. Even with all of this, there is always someone that fails to respond on time, regardless of information and contact details. In these (hopefully rare) cases, this is what we suggest:

Photo: Denise
Photo: Denise
Photo: Sarah Parrot
Photo: Sarah Parrot

If your guests, despite having telephone numbers and emails to get in touch and confirm their attendance fail to do so, then this is when you as the couple need to intervene. Contact those guests that are yet to respond, to politely remind them and prompt them to do so. Many times people will receive your pretty invitation, read it and put it away or accidentally lose it, and you’ll find that in these cases they’ll be grateful that you contacted them! The ideal thing would be to get them to confirm there and then to avoid any awkward moments of having to contact them again, this way having things resolved immediately allowing you to continue with your wedding planning.

If you’re not convinced by the idea of calling, then you could send a polite group email, text message or create a Facebook group for those that have forgotten to respond. Always try and adapt and stick to the form of communication that you know the specific guest uses.

If after all this you’re still missing a few responses, the best thing to do just in case is to have a couple of spare places at your reception and if at all possible some extra food. If you explain this, most reception venues are good at handling these last minute situations as it’s something that does occur every now and then.

Photo: Chavelli
Photo: Chavelli
Photo: Cottontail
Photo: Cottontail
Photo: Sarah Parrot
Photo: Sarah Parrot

If you’re having a cocktail or a less formal reception this shouldn’t be too much of a problem. In case of a more formal event with seating plans, we recommend you have a plan B so that in your table set-up you never have more than two spare/empty spaces on each table. These are last minute adjustments that with help of a wedding planner or a little patience on your part can easily be resolved and will have a happy ending!

Remember, you can also send your invitations via Zankyou!

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Photo credits: Denise | Sarah Parrot | Chavelli | Benjamin Chan | Cottontail Digital Press
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