(Closed) Vent: Is this appalling RSVP rate normal?

posted 6 years ago in Guests
Post # 31
317 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

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I had over half of my guests fail to RSVP. They were all family members who when I chased them up said they just thought I knew they’d be coming. Annoying! Especially as the invite included menu choices which had to be given to the venue in advance. 

Post # 32
2758 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

That sounds about right to me. I swear, I spent around 25% of my wedding planning following up with guests who hadn’t RSVPed. And I only invited 50 people!

Most of the non-RSVPers said something along the lines of, “Well, I can’t make it but didn’t want to hurt your feelings ‘cuz I love you so so much!” That’s fine, I understand, but I need to know so I can get a head count for the caterer. 

Just as many said, “Oh, thanks for calling, Isabelle, I’m from out-of-town and haven’t figured out travel plans so I kind of did nothing, can you help me please?” So I became a junior travel agent for all of these people, organizing carpools and hotel buddies and following up to make sure everyone was paying for their portion of their rooms after the wedding.

A few of them were like, “What’s wrong with you? Of course I’m going! Like there was any question?” like I had ESP and could READ THEIR MINDS ASFGJHEYUJD

And two guests who “thought” they had RSVPed showed up unannounced. We had room for them because my cousin’s idiot boyfriend/now husband decided to no-show and my college roommate’s grandpa died the morning of the wedding, poor thing. Exactly two spaces! I flipped over the place cards and handwrote their names on them. 

Post # 33
1190 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

My RSVP rate was probably like 95%. This is rude of these guests but I agree with pps that you shouldn’t take it personally. wrt your comments about how his family is treating it like a family reunion, they are probably just really excited to have everyone together. I’m sure they are also excited about you guys getting married but really the two things are tied up together. And people are more comfortable saying “I can’t wait to see so and so at your wedding” than They are saying “I can’t wait until you two are married!”  Just be happy that people are looking forward to your wedding!

you have already send out the STDs so it is true that you are now stuck with your decision on who to invite. You need to stop blaming your fi and the guests because at the end of the day you agreed to invite them and now you have to live with that. 

Post # 34
5304 posts
Bee Keeper

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julies1949:  This. Be pro-active and make contact, but as Julies1949 says don’t waste your time playing voice tag- I’d give them a 3 day window to rsvp after leaving a message (if you don’t speak to them directly) then put them down as a ‘no’.

Personally I don’t mind meeting a handful of people for the first time on my wedding day-  long distance relatives or friends etc. but I’m not okay with the no-rsvp’ing aspect. Rude and thoughtless IMO.

On a side note I find some people do this with all types of occasions. When my kids were younger and I’d send out birthday party invitations, many parents were woefully inconsiderate in replying….I wouldn’t know whether to get party supplies, food, etc for 3 kids or 15 (and when party hats/ ‘loot bags’ etc are sold in batches of 8 or 12, numbers matter) and I’d alternate btw worrying no-one was coming and my kid would be crushed and having to buy extra than I’d likely need just in case & end up having to hunt down the parents for a yes or no. Magnify this times 100,000 for the planning and cost that goes into a wedding of course, but it’s inconsiderate on any level.


Post # 35
174 posts
Blushing bee

While I do understand, I had about 25% not rsvp  to me – I don’t think you can treat this differently than regular guests. Even if you don’t know them, you’ve extended an invitation. You don’t get to back out now. It’s like that “two wrongs don’t make a right” saying. Just because they were rude to not reply, doesn’t mean you should be rude in return.

And, the PP who said to make exceptions to the “Sorry, had to have a firm head count by the RSVP date” phone call if the person has already booked travel….well, that’s setting you up for “If it was firm, why did cousin Steve get an exception?” Just have Fiance call (his family!) and say you haven’t received an RSVP and need to know right away.

Some families DO treat weddings as reunions. It’s a happy occasion, they’re celebrating your love and the joining of two families. If you’re uncomfortable, ask your Fiance or his parents to set up dinner before the wedding with at least a couple of them. If they live too far away for this, well, it’s not surprising you’ve not met them! It’s your husband’s day too, be happy for him that he gets to see his family.

Post # 36
2175 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

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Beegritte:  I vowed to hate a good deal of our guests for all time around the RSVP deadline, but I got over it before the wedding, I’m sure you will too 🙂 For me it was also my man’s people that couldn’t be bothered. One couple actually asked for more time to figure it out. Seriously, the 6 months following the STD and the 6 weeks following the invite weren’t enough? OK I may not be 100% over it..

Post # 37
1463 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

OP – initially I was going to agree with the PPs who said that they are concerned about your attitude regarding these guests not enhancing your experience.  But I appreciate that you did not get defensive in response to their posts, and I totally know how having a bad day can make all of us say things in ways that we may not *really* mean them.  

I haven’t dealt with this issue yet (I haven’t even sent my invites yet) but I suspect I will have a similar problem with my FI’s friends.  And like you, I also suspect I will not have any problem with my side, mostly because my family places a high priority (and I would argue often tooooooo much of a high priority) on propriety and manners.  My FI’s side of the guest list is mostly friends, whereas mine is at least half, if not more than half, family (my FI’s parents are dead, as are all of his aunts and uncles.  His family will only be represented by his brother and two cousins).  

Having said that, I am actually looking forward to my wedding as a sort of family reunion.  My family is scattered across the country – literally:  my immediate family is scattered across Florida (from Pananma City to Bradenton), and my extended family is in Ohio (both Columbus and Cleveland), Chicago, Tennessee (Knoxville and Memphis), Arkansas, and Washington State.  We all haven’t been together since my cousin’s wedding in Cleveland in 2002 or 2003.  The fact that they are all willing to come to celebrate my wedding with me makes me happy, and certainly doesn’t distract from the meaningfulness of the wedding itself.  In my mind, it enhances it.  I guess what I’m saying is please try to keep an open mind about your FI’s family and invite list; they are coming to meet you, and to celebrate the merging of your two families.  

Post # 38
2185 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2016

I feel you girl!!! It’s like none of the People I invite have ever been to or planned a wedding. Why on earth would I just assume you’re coming?! For me, having all the response cards in is a organizational thing. I like having all my ducks in a row. I honestly do NOT have time to be chasing people down to figure out if they’re coming 30 days out from the date! My own parents haven’t even sent their card back lol. My due date is next Wednesday and if I don’t have 30 response cards sitting in my mailbox by then I might spontaneously combust. 

IMO its your FI’s duty to follow up with these people. Just explain to him (calmly) that it is important to YOU that you receive the response cards. In my experience, men are more receptive when they aren’t nagged and when they understand that it means something to you. Good luck bee! 

Post # 39
1098 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: February 2016

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Beegritte:  We sent out invites to 85 people. We got 31 RSVPs officially by the day before our wedding, including declines, which there were only 2 of. We had to phone most of our invitees to get verbal responses, and ended up with 65 guests. I also had an online option. I’m amazed that weddings don’t create permanent family drama every time! I just had to breathe deeply and tell myself it would all be over soon! I have chosen to forgive everyone – I think they just don’t realize how much this all means to brides and grooms. 

Post # 40
219 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2016 - Whitetail Ridge

This was my biggest gripe with wedding planning. We set an RSVP date so we weren’t scrambling at the last minute, and half of the groomsmen didn’t even RSVP until after it. We had to call about a third of our guest list after the cut off date and it was incredibly frustrating.

It’s so rude, and I feel your pain.

Post # 41
13568 posts
Honey Beekeeper

It’s always possible that there are mitigating circumstances or that an invitation or reply card was lost or delayed in the mail. It’s FI’s family, so have him call these people and ask if they will be attending. If they have a good reason, then use your judgment. The truth is, most caterers don’t  have to know final numbers until the week of.

Usually, you would just say your final numbers are due by X date. Rude as it is, and it is, I think some people are just disorganized. I would try to assume the best of people. 

As for people thinking of this as a family reunion, one thing does not preclude the other. Weddings are traditionally occasions that bring families together.

Post # 42
523 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

This would irritate me as well. I was in a weedding a few months ago where 60 of the 100 invited RSVPed, the rest didn’t respond at all. Then on the wedding day only 40 showed and some of them were the people that didn’t even RSVP. I was raised that if you’re sent an invite with an RSVP you send it back, and if you accept but can’t come for some reason you reach out and let them know. I would even go as far to send a gift or card with someone else or mail it. People drive me nuts. 


Anywho, as others have said I would reach out to them. Maybe addresses are wrong. Just let them know you need a head count and then if you still don’t hear anything contact them and politely let them know that head counts are in and you will miss them at the wedding.

Post # 43
924 posts
Busy bee

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Beegritte:  you’re totally on your rights. I haven’t gotten to that stage yet, but I plan on getting a head count and people who can’t rsvp don’t get a spot. Too bad on them. There’s really no reason for people to not rsvp anymore. They’re sent an envelope to mail it back. They can do it online. They could call, text, email of they wished. Even a “I’m not sure if I can, but I’d love to and will let you know as soon as I can” is better than not sending anything. 

Post # 44
203 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2014

I would give your fiancé one week to follow up by phone with these people and then just not include them in any further plans if he doesn’t get in touch with them. 

Thats what I did for my wedding, although it wasn’t for as many people as you have had not reply. 

If your fiancé doesn’t see the need for RSVPs maybe his social/family circle is like that as well?

Post # 45
839 posts
Busy bee

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Vineyard-bride15:  My husband and I ended up playing a game of “how many hints does it take for certain close friends to actually realise they hadn’t RSVPd” with my best childhood friend and our best man… We knew they were coming, but they both had total brainfarts when it came to the RSVP. Luckily we had set the RSVP deadline a good few weeks before we needed to comfirm numbers with the restaurant, so we had that luxury.

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