Wedding RSVP etiquette... what's your take?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by StephenCampbell, Jun 4, 2014.

  1. StephenCampbell macrumors 65816

    Sep 21, 2009
    So my fiancé and I are planning our wedding, and we sent out invites a month before our RSVP date, saying at the bottom of them "Please RSVP by *date*."

    It's an outdoor wedding, but my fiancé is making it semi-formal and we're renting tables and chairs and getting tablecloths, chair covers, sashes, etc, so everything matches and looks nice.

    The location is on my parents property in the small town where I grew up, and so it turns out that a lot of people don't feel the need to RSVP before showing up. We wanted a small wedding, only up to 50 people, and we've now stretched our accommodations to 72 (nine tables with eight chairs each). The RSVP date is almost three weeks past, but then I hear from my parents that so-and-so is really excited about coming, but they didn't RSVP. Other people RSVPd for only 2, but it turns out they have more in their party (again we learned this by coincidence through my parents bumping into people in the town).

    Is it okay to tell people who show up without RSVPing that there's no chair for them (and possibly no cake) because we had no idea they were coming? We sent out very nice invites with a clear RSVP deadline.

    If we don't know if someone's coming, how could we possibly make sure to accommodate them? We're on a very low budget too.

    What would you do?
  2. sviato macrumors 68020


    Oct 27, 2010
    HR 9038 A
    Did you mention in the invitation that guests are allowed a +1 or 2 or 0? I don't see how guests are just increasing their party size.

    As for RSVP dates, I replied to my friend's invitation 2 days late recently and felt a bit bad about not being on time but he assured me that there was room for me. As for 3 weeks late? Planning goes on, you should either follow-up with everyone who hasn't replied or just assume they're not interested.
  3. StephenCampbell thread starter macrumors 65816

    Sep 21, 2009
    We didn't mention party size in the invites. The website where they RSVP allows you to input how many people are in your party. One recent example that happened is a couple RSVPd for two, and then my mom bumped into their daughters, one of whom is married, and they said that they're coming. So that's an additional three people right there that the couple should have included in their party size.

    Currently we actually have accommodated all these additions and still have room for four more people. But who knows who else is planning to show up without RSVPing? My fiancé is perfectly comfortable telling people "you should have brought a sandwich and a chair" haha... and I totally understand her. What are we supposed to do?

    Would you just keep accommodations locked at 72 at this point? That takes care of all the rude additions that we know of.
  4. prostuff1 macrumors 65816


    Jul 29, 2005
    Don't step into the kawoosh...
    If they can not be bothered to fill out the RSVP correctly or on time they are not included. Exceptions can be made but them contacting you, not through random happenstance, should be how it is done.

    I have no sympathy for people that do **** like this.
  5. StephenCampbell thread starter macrumors 65816

    Sep 21, 2009
  6. noisycats macrumors 6502a


    Jun 1, 2010
    The 'ham. Alabama.
    Was your RSVP method "electronic" or "on-line" only? Even in this day, a pre-paid mail back card is critical. Even then you will get some small surprises, but I think you are in for more than "small."

    Good luck.

    Oh, etiquette absolutely demands one RSVP. But most Americans know nothing of etiquette.

    You may want to think of name cards at the table for those who RSVP'd properly. This will 'help' ensure the RSVPers are covered and will further drive home the point, without saying anything, that those who didn't RSVP'd have really created an awkward situation.
  7. Aspasia macrumors 65816

    Jun 9, 2011
    Halfway between the Equator and North Pole
    You can't and it's incredibly rude to not RSVP and especially rude to bring uninvited guests.

    That said, you or a friend/family member could email/call those who haven't responded to confirm they will not attend.

    Other than that, I think you've done what you can, especially with limited seating. I would just arrange to have a close friend or family member do the meet and greet at the reception and make sure he/she has a printed list of guests who responded. Using place cards for the tables might help, but that also can be a PITA sometimes.

    It will all work out, so congratulations! Best wishes for a happy life filled with love and all good things. :)
  8. StephenCampbell thread starter macrumors 65816

    Sep 21, 2009
    The RSVP was online only.

    That's a great idea! "Oh hello, we didn't get an RSVP from you, but we may have room for you." That's perfect.
  9. tobefirst macrumors 68040


    Jan 24, 2005
    St. Louis, MO
    We had, I think, two weeks between when the RSVPs were due and when we needed to notify our vendors of our count. We waited one week after the RSVPs were due and then started calling people and asking them if they were coming.

    Yes, they absolutely should have RSVP'd, but there's an easy remedy to figure out if they will be there or not. So, if there's time left, make the phone calls.
  10. StephenCampbell thread starter macrumors 65816

    Sep 21, 2009
    Well, some of our situations wouldn't even be covered by making those phone calls... we get an RSVP for two, and then it turns out to be five or six... there's no way we could have known that. We couldn't call people who RSVPd and ask them "are you sure you only have x in your party?"

    Anyways, our 'official list' now has a maximum of 72, and that won't change. So if anyone asks if they can come after/if the list reaches 72, we say there might not be food/cake/chair for them, and if anyone shows up by surprise, they'll find they're not on the guest list and they probably won't expect cake etc.
  11. Don't panic macrumors 603

    Don't panic

    Jan 30, 2004
    having a drink at Milliways
    this seems reasonable.
    just call those in the 'missing group' you actually care about, and then make guest list with named placeholders on the tables, so it is clear who 'belongs' and who is crashing.
  12. TechGod macrumors 68040


    Feb 25, 2014
    New Zealand
    Wow incredibly rude of them to just increase there party size like that!
  13. AustinIllini macrumors demi-goddess


    Oct 20, 2011
    Austin, TX
    You can't plan for non RSVPers, but at the same time, my wife and I assumed every single person we invited would bring a date until they rsvp. Feelings get hurt if you assume your guests are single.

    Problem is, if you invite 80 and cap it at 72, you're asking for trouble. Don't invite someone you can't accommodate.
  14. smithrh macrumors 68020


    Feb 28, 2009
    I attended a reception where an entire small town invited itself, and it showed up.

    One invite apparently got handed around and people thought "well sure, I'll go! I know the groom/I know the bride!"

    ...and they did.

    Bride and groom caught wind of this early enough to buy loads of hot dogs and beverages...

    In the end, everyone was happy but making accommodations for loads more people at the last moment isn't something that can always happen. Space may be limited, funds may be limited.
  15. NukeIT macrumors regular

    Mar 20, 2013
    I would reach out to those non-RSVP'ers in an email, indicating that they have not confirmed attendance and will be assumed not attending unless they contact you in 3 days.

    As for people that show up anyways, in the great Seinfeld episode "NO SOUP FOR YOU!!"
  16. StephenCampbell thread starter macrumors 65816

    Sep 21, 2009
    Well we didn't rent tables/chairs etc before our RSVP deadline was long past. It's not that we invited people we can't accommodate, it's that the RSVP deadline was a few weeks past already, and so we began preparing to accommodate those who were coming plus some. And then it turned out even More were planning on coming so we expanded our accommodation to 72, for the last time. We're done now. When the official list reaches 72, people beyond that will be told that they didn't RSVP in time.

    Right now we have a little over 60 on the validated list, so if there's an additional 20 people let's say, who end up saying they're planning on coming, I'll put on the official list the ones we like the most, until the list has 72, and tell the others that there's no more room and that the deadline was a month ago.
  17. Roller macrumors 68020

    Jun 25, 2003
    Unfortunately, it seems that the number of invited guests wasn't specified on the invitations. It's always safest to write invitations in a way that makes it clear how many people are being invited, be it one person, one person and a guest, a couple, or a family. However, it's also unreasonable for invitees to assume that they can bring along others without asking, and not RSVP'ing at all or RSVP'ing for fewer people than you plan to bring isn't acceptable.

    The OP is clearly in a bit of a bind. Since there will only be enough space and food for 72 guests, what to do about parties that include some invited guests and some add-ons who arrive without advance notice? Although it's technically justified to turn away people who didn't RSVP and can't be accommodated, that would be awkward, especially in a small town setting.

    I like the idea of contacting one person in every invited party by email and politely letting them know that only those who RSVP'd will be accommodated.

    I wish the couple all the best.
  18. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6


    Aug 17, 2007
    Seems reasonable to me.

    Congratulations, and I hope you and your bride have a long and happy life together.
  19. samiwas macrumors 68000

    Aug 26, 2006
    Atlanta, GA
    RSVP etiquette is becoming harder and harder to come by these days, whether it be for weddings or anything else.

    My wife and I throw parties several times a year and invite anywhere from 10-20 people. On numerous occasions, we've had people RSVP yes, even say yes in person a day or two before, and then not show up. No phone call, no text, no email...nothing. They just don't show up. That means we bought food and drinks for a person who said they would be there, but then decided not to show. And when asked about it, it's always something like "Oh, I had a headache" or "Oh, my family decided to have a family night and I had to go to that".

    People just don't care these days, and have little respect for what it takes to put on something like a wedding reception and the planning it takes to accommodate large groups. Making the RSVP for two, then bringing five, is completely disrespectful to the people throwing the party.

    As for not RSVPing, I consider that a "no". I will rarely go out of my way to contact the whole list, unless I have an inkling that someone will come when they haven't RSVPd.

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