Post # 1
Would it be rude to send out invitations and ask for people to return their RSVPs early (60 days ahead) ?
More than half of our guests live in NY and our wedding is in AZ. I want to provide our guests an easy out if they are unsure about coming and I also want to get a ball park number of who plans on attending. Our venue holds 250 and it would be incredibly silly to hold a 40 person wedding there.
I was thinking of sending out something like “We may have to change our plans, but we need your help! As we enter the other half of 2020 we acknowledge traveling may be difficult or unsafe for some of our guests. We are kindly requesting our guests RSVP early so we can plan a fun safe day for all.”
* I have asked around and even my closest family/friends are reluctant to give an answer. The most common reply we get is “If I can I will.”
Post # 2
Yes, it is generally considered rude to ask people to commit far in advance. And even without a pandemic most numbers in advance are meaningless because circumstances can change and I almost guarantee in a pandemic they will change and you might end up with only 40 anyway even if you had 100 tell you yes two months earlier.
Your plans should just be your plans and not dependent on how many people come. Your RSVP date should be about a week before you need absolute hard final numbers to your venue for catering purposes (which is generally 3-10 days befirethe event). That allows you some wiggle room for mail delays and chasing non-responders down by phone.
I don’t know what AZ is doing but most states are saying venues should be filled no more than half capacity to allow for social distancing so I’m going to assume you picked a venue of 250 because you’re inviting 125. If you only have 40 then buy or rent some dividers to section off portions of the room or see if the coordinator at the venue has ideas for making the room seem more cozy. Just because a room holds 250 doesn’t mean it only holds 250. I’m sure they’ve held lots of smaller events there, too.
Post # 3
If you had asked this last year, I would have said yes, that’s rude. In our current reality though, I don’t think it’s that unreasonable. You should probably still be prepared for some people to change their rsvp if as the day gets closer, the situation becomes better or worse than they expected.
Post # 4
In CA, we’re only allowed to have 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is smaller. It gives people space to spread out. So I disagree that it makes no sense to host 40 people in a space for 250.
Asking for RSVP’s 60 days beforehand won’t help you much, since the guidelines re covid are ever changing. You’re already getting lackluster answers. AZ and NY are two hotspots. I am sure many of your guests are cognizant of the risk of travel and large gatherings.
I’d start by trimming your guest list and go from there. The smaller your guest count, the fewer declines you’re likely to get. It’s easier to invite 50 people and host 40 people in a 50 person venue, than it is to invite 250 people and adjust to 40 attendants.
If you send out 250 invites and only get 40 yes’s, are you going to switch venues with 2 months to go? What will you do if a lot of people don’t RSVP at all? Or if they decide to show up anyway?
This isn’t so much an etiquette issue as much as it is a logistical one. You’re setting yourself up for a lot of RSVP chasing and last minute trying to meet minimums or switch venues.
Conventional wisdom says plan as if 100% of the invitees will attend.
Post # 5
So what is the point of knowing ahead of time? The normal ‘point’ is so you can invite a B list, which is incredibly rude. Or would you be cancelling your venue and booking a smaller one?
Post # 6
We booked our venue 18 months ago– so no we didnt plan on utilizing only half of the space. It is an outdoor venue so there is no way to divide the space realistically.There is no current limitations to guest count for outdoor spaces (most of AZ does not have capacity limitations for indoor spaces at the moment). Our venue requires 10 days notice head count but I know most of our guest will have booked airfair long before then.
There are so many variables right now, I am sure some will change their mind. I am just hoping to get some sort of guestimate (pun intended).
Post # 7
cancelling our venue and booking a smaller one. We dont have a B list
Post # 8
We sent out STDs in January knowing most of our guests would be traveling across the country. I feel like trimming our guest list isnt an option as everyone we planned to invite recieved a STD earlier this year. Thankfully in AZ planning a wedding within 60 days is totally feasible.
Post # 9
I don’t think it’s rude in the current circumstances, but I think it’s probably fairly pointless. There will be some people who say “sure, of course we’ll be there!” but change their mind as things continue (since, short of a miracle, it’s not looking like we’re going to go the way of New Zealand”, and also people who may be open to going if things stabilize a bit but are too nervous to commit now.
I’d just plan on keeping the larger venue, and getting creative if your numbers shrink. Since people may not be able to/comfortable with more traditional things like dancing, you could set up some yard games. Maybe not the classiest or most traditional of options, but a safe way for people to mingle.
Post # 10
With the pandemic, it’s hard to ask for firm decisions that far out. Two months ago AZ might have sounded ok to me, but now cases are spiking there and we don’t want anything to do with it. (We have family there.)
Maybe just reach out and try to get feelers? If someone is saying, “we will try!” Or “if things seem safe!”, I would guess that’s a likely no.
Post # 11
Yes, it’s both rude and impractical and that note is cringeworthy, especially now. Your guests schedules and concerns are just as important as yours. Invitations are supposed to be sent no earlier than that because people, especially now, can’t possibly know about legitimate conflicts or updates on the covid situation relevant to willingness to travel.
If you are talking about switching venues and the wedding is this year, you can always cancel the reception as previously planned and go with something intimate or just immediate families. Then possibly have a delayed celebration in the future. You only run into the issue of having sent STDs if you have a clear A and B list. Personally, I would not do a traditional reception any time soon.
Post # 12
Given the extraordinary circumstances, I don’t think it’s rude, but I also don’t think it would be that helpful. I think people are probably going to be even more wishy-washy on their plans than they would be in normal times. Knowing it’s an outdoor venue, I feel like it won’t look awkward to have smaller numbers.
Post # 13
I get where you’re coming from. It seems to me like the real question is not what’s your RSVP, but do you already know you wouldn’t be comfortable coming? If you knew you had 75 hard no’s no matter what happens in the next 2-3 months, that would be very helpful in your planning. I would be one of those hard no’s and wouldn’t mind telling you, but I’m struggling to think how you formally get this info. If it were me, I’d have my family and bridal party casually feeling it out with people to gauge probable attendance (mom talks to her siblings, college bff slips it into convos with those friends etc). Good luck, it’s a really tricky time and I’m sorry to you and all the other 2020 brides for having to deal with this.
Post # 14
If you asked me 60 days ago if a low risk person could attend an outdoor event in my area I would have said “probably” but today (60 days later) we are having a serious outbreak and talks of a second wave and I’m in Australia where we have had low numbers.
I don’t think it is fair to pressure guests to give you an answer that far out given we currently live in a world that needs to take things day by day and week by week.
Post # 15
I guess I still don’t see the point. This seems like an exercise in futility. 40 people can congregate in a wide open outdoor space. They do it all the time. It’s not like you’re trying to fill a 19000 capacity stadium with 40,000 overflow and only 6000 show up. Nobody is going to care (especially in a pandemic) and your photographer is going to be concentrating on the people, not the wide open spaces. You’d rather inconvenience people and make them give you hard answers far in advance of when they probably will actually knows you can…find a smaller field?