What To Do When Guests Don’t RSVP To Your Wedding

Remember those nights you spent on Illustrator designing your perfect wedding invitation? Remember the days off work you took to purchase your papers and embelishments and create prototypes? Remember the episodes of Grey’s Anatomy you half-watched while you assembled each and every element of your printed invitation into its coordinating lined envelope? Oh wait, who am I kidding, you would never only half-watch Grey’s. Okay, so shows your fiance watches that you couldn’t care less about? Probably more like that.

Point is, you spent a lot of time creating an invitation suite that would represent you as a couple and the style of wedding you are planning. Plus, your blood, sweat, and tears went into this expensive DIY project! Or, maybe you ordered them through a professional company and spent the bucks to mail out formal letterpress invitations to all 80 households.

So, what chutzpah to have a few dangling responders who’ve not yet sent in their reply a couple handfuls of days before the wedding! If you’re foaming at the mouth about this, it’s okay. You’re entitled and it’s safe to bet all Yentas would feel the same way.

It’s so simple: a household receives the invitation to your wedding. There’s an RSVP deadline. The household should send in their reply — yes or no — by the deadline. Done. Easy. No brainer. Unfortunately, you can’t expect everyone to be so considerate. So, what do you do when guests don’t RSVP to your wedding?

What you shouldn’t do is blast your frustration on Facebook. Passive aggressive never looks flattering on a bride. Stick to white and lace. Emailing seems like a good idea, but if the household was unable to reply with tangible, paper mail, it’s safe to bet that easy-to-forget and out-of-the-way electronic mail won’t make it through their eyes, out their fingers, and into your account. Also, IMs won’t do because many people leave their IM clients on even when they’re not at the computer and it’s possible they’ll miss it, so skip the GChat check-in with the absent RSVPer.

Go the old fashioned way: there was a time long, long ago when people used these things called — say it with me — “telephones” to — are you ready? — “speak.” Yes, they’d pick up a phone and dial a number and then both voices would communicate. I suggest this method.

So who calls? Whoever in your immediate family “owns” the dangling RSVP should make the call. If it’s your future father-in-law’s college sit-in buddy from back in the day when they worshipped Jerry with the rest of the Deadheads, have him call and find out what the status is (hopefully the status is not “still following The Dead.”). If it’s your sorority sister who has pregnancy brain and can’t seem to remember to even feed herself day to day, give her a ring. If it’s your mom’s mah jongg pal who’s busy organizing the temple’s upcoming tournament, then your mom should make the call. Bottomline: getting a reply will be much more effective if the TBD invitee hears from his or her connection to your wedding. Sometimes our parents invite people we don’t even know to our weddings and they might get the invitation in the mail and think “WHO’S marrying WHO????” And if, by chance, it’s one of your friends who is holding the RSVP card hostage (as if!), then you can call or ask your MOH to call. It’s very likely that you’ll be stressed about a zillion other things so close to the wedding date, and this is the kind of thing you can count on your MOH handling because she’s calm, dependable, and supportive — reasons why you picked her!

If anything, these calls can be a confirmation that 1) the guest even received the invitation; 2) the guest mailed it in, but maybe something went wrong?; 3) the guest is intending to come and with the invited people or person the invitation was addressed to. This helps clear the guest’s assumption that an invitation addressed to him doesn’t include his newest floozy of a fling, her daughter, and her daughter’s BFF. Unless, of course, you want all of them at your wedding… ahem. Whatever. No judging here…

Always make sure to check with your venue or catering company when they need a final headcount and calculate that date into your RSVP deadline. Make your deadline a week before that final headcount is due. That way, you have a buffer of time between when you need to know and OMG WHEN YOU NEED TO KNOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Take comfort in knowing, though, that unless you’re getting married on the top of Mt. Everest, it’s very likely that your venue or caterer will be able to accommodate those who show up that day without an RSVP (I am not talking about wedding crashers/people you didn’t invite). They might bill you after the fact, but they usually have extra food on hand for this precise occurrence.

At the end of the day, it’s okay to be frustrated when your invited guests don’t take the 32 seconds to fill out the RSVP card and pay $0.00 to mail you back the response. But, just know that everything is fixable and once you get over the principle of it all, you really will enjoy the big day no matter who is there.


Don’t forget to take a minute to enter you or your loved one into the ketubah giveaway on The Wedding Yentas with Ketubah Studio by MP Artworks! Photo submissions are being accepted right now through February 16th! Details here!