(Closed) Over half of the guest list declined, is this normal?

posted 7 years ago in Ceremony
Post # 16
1461 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

I am getting married on Memorial Weekend. I sent STD out at the 10 month mark. I have had 100% acceptance so far…if you didn’t do STD I don’t think 90 days is enough notice to block off the date from their calendar. 

Post # 17
578 posts
Busy bee

We did a holiday weekend. I honestly think we only had 2% decline, but that’s because we had a small wedding – invited about 50 and about 50 came. Before we settled on the date, we checked with everyone to make sure it would work for them, so the people who got invites we knew could be there.

Post # 18
2597 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2010


View original reply
emilythehutt:  No, I don’t think its normal for half the guest list to decline but I suspect the trouble is the fact that your wedding is scheduled over a holiday weekend. 

I’m sorry you’re dissapointed but I’m sure everything will still be beautiful.  Also, if there were people you had to cut from the guest list you can certainly invite them now?

Post # 19
10449 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2014

That sucks! Do you have any people you originally had to cut that you could invite now? 

Post # 20
54 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

View original reply
emilythehutt:  I’ve run into a similar problem.  Most of our guests have to fly in, although ~15% are local.  We sent out save the dates 6 months in advance and invited 195 guests and expected about 70 of those to decline (cousins from a large family).  We were expecting around 100-120, but now it’s looking like it will be more like 70 – that’s a 65% decline rate!  At first I was really dissapointed, but now I’m embracing the smaller size.  With a smaller wedding, you will be able to spend more time with everyone, you can have smaller tables so there’s a more intimate feel, you’ll save some money, etc.  Even though it’s not exactly the wedding you imagined in your head, it will be wonderful and on the day of you won’t think of who’s missing, you will just think of everyone who is there to support you!

Post # 21
203 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

Oh, so sorry OP!  That would be pretty disappointing!  I am a Labor Day weekend bride, so I have also opened myself up to the holiday decline rate. 

Did you have the opportunity to speak with any of these guests before you set your date?  I talked to the people most important to us to gauge how it would affect them and only got positive responses, so I would be really disappointed if they ended up declining after all.

I definitely understand the stress of feeling like the time and energy you spent planning a wedding will be wasted, but 60-70 people will be plenty to have a good time with!  Look at it this way- you might actually get to enjoy your food and spend time with the people you are really close to instead of having to spend all of your time saying hello to great aunt so-and-so or your FI’s second cousins.  🙂

Post # 22
616 posts
Busy bee

emilythehutt:  That terrible! We’re not married yet but we avoided memorial day weekend because most hotels were making our guests book 2 nights, and that would be a deal breaker for most of our guests. 

I think your venue will be beautiful regardless. you can always sent out more invites to people you thought you would have to cut originally. 

Post # 23
7362 posts
Busy Beekeeper

It’s Memorial Day weekend. Not everyone wants to spend their vacation time at wedding. And I think PP highlighting that perhaps more notice should have been given is wise.

People plan their holidays, especially around major ones like MD out well in advance of six months. And if they are traveling from afar (airfare, hotel, transporation) cost tends to be higher around high peak travel times. 

However, it can certainly see how disappointing itwould be. Your wedding will still be fabulous. 

  • This reply was modified 7 years, 4 months ago by .
Post # 24
9129 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL

If you live in or near a major city and people would need to travel, it’s likely they aren’t too enthused about doing so on a holiday weekend.  I live in Orlando and attending a wedding on a holiday weekend here would be a nightmare, especially if a lot of guests had to travel.  Flights are expensive and filled to the brim.  Hotels are booked out and prices are sky high.  We specifically chose to throw our wedding during the off season in early November to avoid issues with tourists on vacation.

Post # 25
344 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2014

It is not usual to have so many people decline if it wasn’t a holiday. When my husband and I were going to get married our first option was 4th of July, we sent out the save the dates and at least 5 people mentioned to me that they couldn’t come. We had sent out the first save the date in February, so we thought that was plenty of notice. We needed up changing the date because we changed out venue. When we sent out the new save the date with the our new date even more people said, I’m so glad you changed the date, I can make it now. I wouldn’t take it personally, holidays can tricky, sometimes it works out very well and other times it backfires.  

Post # 26
1603 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

Yeah, I’m with everybody saying it’s because of the holiday and the short notice–I know 90 days isn’t short in other contexts, but consider that some people may have been planning vacations for much longer than three months.

But your wedding will be awesome nonetheless! 🙂

Post # 27
765 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

We’ll probably have a 40-45% decline rate when all is said and done, so I know how you feel. Our wedding is a 2-8 hour drive for 95% of our guests though, so we were prepared for that. We did send STDs, but not as early as I would have liked to (December for a June wedding). Look at it this way: you’ll have more time to spend with your guests and that will make them feel important and glad they made the trip. Also, if you need to meet a minimum dollar amount for your venue, you can add extra hors d’oeuvres or other special touches. You also have a really good excuse to post a TON of your gorgeous pictures on FB for the people who couldn’t make it!

Post # 28
2490 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2018

That does seem like a pretty high number for declines, but since it’s Memorial Day weekend I can understand it. We are already attending a long weekend wedding this summer so if we were invited to another one we probably wouldn’t go.

I’m sorry you received so many no’s but I’m sure your wedding will be beautiful and fun regardless!

Post # 29
4042 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: January 2014

I had a pretty high decline rate too. I invited around 125, and 80 RSVPed yes. Then 11 people either no-showed or cancelled the week of the wedding. It wasn’t a holiday, but it was early January, so I knew that would put some people in a crunch with little holiday time, little money, and kids returning to school. The space I had was fine with the smaller number though, even with the no shows. 

It’s disappointing, for sure. Although the most important people were there, I was still bummed that some folks couldn’t make things work and come. On the day though, it didn’t matter. I spent time with my guests and still felt like I was so very loved. It was great. And the few people who did try their hardest to make it but couldn’t still showed how much they cared, even if it was in a simple way. I focused on that rather than the empty table in the back.

Post # 30
3723 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

View original reply
emilythehutt:  We are inviting 220 ppl and I expect between 155 to 170 will come due to it being a considerable distance and expense for most guests. It is what it is.

Don’t take it personally, Emily. This will work out.

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