Choose Your Guests Wisely

by admin on August 5, 2013

My husband and I were married nearly a year ago and the wedding was wonderful! I do still have a niggling annoyance with how a few invited guests handled their invitations though.

My husband and I paid for the entire event and that meant that we had to be careful with both our planning and our spending. We made a guest list based on fifty guests and we did have a few people in mind who we definitely did want there if we could afford it and the “must invites” like close relatives didn’t come.  We sent gorgeous hand-made invites and we got a few immediate replies. We also got a lot of “I’ll let you know”. The RSVP date came and went and we began to politely ask people if they could come or not.

My husband’s boss ignored his invite entirely and didn’t confirm that he would not attend until two weeks before when I asked him for the third time.   My boss kept me waiting because she needed to find out whether or not her husband was golfing that day or not. I got a yes with a week or so to go. I was thrilled because I really like her.  Another colleague said no right away. That changed to a maybe and then a definite no two weeks before the wedding.  My grandpa and his wife were our first “yeses”. A few weeks later I heard through family that they weren’t coming. I called them to find out and was told that they would let me know. I found out that they were not attending with two days to go.  My best friend’s parents never did reply either way. She finally told me a week before that they weren’t coming probably but that her mom might. Her mom came for the ceremony and then had to meet other family for another event.  My mother asked me at the last minute to invite her best friend and best friend’s son because they both wanted to be there. I sent an invite and never got a reply.  And one of our guests (who said that he would crash if we didn’t invite him because he wanted so badly to be there) never came because he “decided to stay home and nap” instead.
Out of a guest list of fifty, nine decided to decline at the last minute. I was upset because had we known in enough time we could have invited another nine people. We don’t have a massive circle of friends but we have enough people who we would have liked to invite and who would have loved to come that I still feel badly that they weren’t there.

In the end our wedding was still great and the guests who were there still refer to it as the best wedding they have been to. It was awesome! But I really wish that we had thrown sentiment out the window and invited the people we wanted instead there instead of the people who we “had to” invite. 0802-13

When a wedding guest list is small, it is even more imperative to define the criteria for who is to be invited.  The guest list size for my daughter’s wedding was about 104 so they choose their guests based on who had been there for them in the past and who would be there for them in the future.    This shrunk the guest list down to people who were dear, close friends and when the invitations went out, the responses were immediate.   I can’t recall a single incidence of a late RSVP or me needing to call anyone to inquire as to whether they were coming.

If you have to beg people to give you an RSVP, such as the OP did with her boss, Mr. Bossman should not have been invited in the first place.  Guests who must be pleaded with repeatedly to please accept or decline a gracious offer to witness wedding vows are vile, selfish people who have no business being on anyone’s social guest list. The etiquette rule is, if you must call a guest *after the RSVP deadline* to get an answer as to whether they are coming or not, you only make *one* phone call and if they are still refusing to give you a firm commitment, that is to be viewed as a “No, not attending” to which you say,  “I’m so sorry you won’t be joining us.   We will miss you!”

Additionally, if you do not socialize with your boss outside of the work environment then why invite him/her to an intimate, personal wedding?

{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

ddwwylm August 5, 2013 at 1:52 am

Career advancement, Job security. Two ideas that come directly to mind as to why to invite your boss. No, it shouldn’t be that way, and ideally you should treat your boss like any other potential guest, but unfortunately in real life, things can sometime be a lot messier than the ideal. It would have been a very bad idea not to invite my husband’s boss to our wedding. She is very touchy when it comes to socializing, and those who socialize with her have it much easier at work. She has gotten in trouble before for playing favorites in the past, but that can be a pretty hard thing to prove. “She gave me a less than ideal recommendation because I skipped the weekend poker game”? I don’t even think she really knows she’s doing it, but the people who make an effort to chat with her, and attend her social events have it easier than those who don’t. We work at the same place, so if we had invited his boss and not mine, that would have looked bad too, although I don’t think my boss would have dome any sort of retaliation. Sometimes it’s just about building up enmity.
I think it goes the same way with family too sometimes. I love my cousin. I don’t much like my uncle’s long term girlfriend. I couldn’t imagine inviting my cousin to my wedding, but not his dad. It certainly would go be rude to invite his dad but not the girl friend. So, that’s how you end up with people you don’t necessarily like, or even want to invite on your guest list. At least in my experience.


whatever August 5, 2013 at 2:14 am

There must be something about bosses and tradition. My mom insisted that I invite my graduate advisor (effectively my boss) to my wedding, even though I try hard to keep my personal and private lives separate, and he didn’t even know I was seeing someone until I told him that I would probably have to push back my thesis defense date because of it. (My mom is also Chinese- maybe that has something to do with it? But Chinese weddings are typically four times the size of mine, so of course you invite everyone.) I did end up inviting him to make my mom happy, but he had the sense to decline.


koolchicken August 6, 2013 at 6:00 am

There is, it’s called career advancement. I planned a very small wedding and booked a space that seats 60 but STILL had to invite a horrifying number of people. My husband is Chinese so I get the whole “invite the whole town” thing. My MIL wanted me to simply send one invite and her sister would show it to everyone, and anyone who could make it would just show up! Umm, no. I needed a headcount, names, and I needed to know exactly what everyone was eating. I couldn’t wait to see who did or did not opt to take an international flight only to have them show up and be turned away at the door because I didn’t know they would be coming (with their seven nephews). This and more is why we changed course and eloped.


June First August 7, 2013 at 1:24 pm

Of the people I invited, the people from work were the few who RSVPed “yes” and then didn’t show up. Meh. The ones who came had a blast, though!


Marozia August 5, 2013 at 4:57 am

My goodness…what selfish human beings we have to put up with when sending out invitations. There are so many people lacking in decency and politeness that they can’t be bothered sending an RSVP to a friend/family wedding.
Now you know the people who love and appreciate you.


Lex August 5, 2013 at 5:07 am

Would it really be terribly rude to say ‘Please RSVP by DD/MM otherwise we will assume you are unable to attend and plan accordingly’?

It is very rude not to acknowledge an invitation and an RSVP of some form is required. Therefore if it is polite to RSVP, then surely it is equally polite for the host to notify the guests that if they don’t hear from them by X date, then it will be assumed that they are unable to attend?

I see a lot of criticism on this site for A list and B list guests, but as the story above highlights, people are rude and often leave a host hanging without a clear indication of attendance. It seems to me to be a catch 22 situation in that the venue will require deposit and booking well in advance (certainly in the UK this is the case) and the venue ask for numbers. So say you can only afford a wedding for 100 people, you pay for 100 people and send 100 invites, then get 20 ‘No’ or ‘Maybe’ or even no response at all – this is 20 covers you’ve paid for that the venue will not refund, so I fail to see how inviting people you had to originally prune from the guest list to fill those places is wrong as they were pruned from the list due to cost, but since you now have 20 places bought and paid for, you can now afford to invite them.

It is such a catch 22 situation as you have to give the venue numbers before you can send invitations because you have to tell guests where you are having the reception. So you have to book the venue before you can send invites, and pay for people before you know if they can come, then get a slating for ‘filling places’.

When I get married I plan to send 2 types of invitations – the first will be a save-the-date type with a required RSVP, THEN I’ll book the venue based on affordability and the RSVPs I received, then I’ll send the formal invites to the original list plus anyone that I can now afford to invite because some people will have said ‘No thanks’ – For example: Aunty E and Uncle M won’t come – I KNOW they won’t come because Aunty E can’t travel and she lives 5 hours away but I have to invite her otherwise she’ll be offended. It’s a bit petty and politic really – having to invite people that I know won’t come due to age/infirmity/illness/transport limitations, but this is all part of family politics.


Shannon August 6, 2013 at 11:53 am

Lex, I am usually not in favor of A and B lists, but I really like your idea of using “save the dates” to get a preliminary idea of how many people expect. Since all of the people on the “B list” are getting formal invites at the same time as everyone else (and not at the last minute as an afterthought), I don’t see any problem with it.

Normally my argument against A and B lists stems from people who cut costs by trimming their guest list rather than having a more modest wedding. For example, if a bride claimed that she could only afford to invite 100 guests, but the event she had in mind was a lavish affair at a posh hotel, I think it would be tacky to have a B list. If I were a B list guest, I would be insulted to see expensive centerpieces and excessive custom details, knowing that those were more important to the bride than putting me on the original list. The bride in this case would be better off choosing a more modest venue and inviting everyone.

However, if a bride legitimately could only afford to invite 100 guests to a modest backyard barbeque or an afternoon luncheon at a firehall, I would not be offended in the least to be on a B list. Even if it was obvious that I was on the B list, and even if I was invited at the last minute, I would not be offended whatsoever as long as the bride was gracious and apologetic about not being able to afford to invite me all along.

I’m not familiar with booking venues in the UK, so I’m not sure if I can relate to the catch 22 situation you mentioned. In the US at least, a deposit is required to book the venue, and there is often a minimum number of guests required for booking the venue (well under the capacity of the venue), but an exact count is not required until just before the wedding. For my wedding, I paid 50% of my estimated total bill many months before as a deposit, I paid for the linens and table rentals two weeks in advance, and I didn’t have to give the caterer an exact count or payment until three days before the wedding. In my situation I still had 4 people who either cancelled after the caterer was paid or just didn’t show up at all, but I just chalked that up to the cost of having a wedding. I would not have dreamed to invite someone else to replace them with two days to go before the wedding. If the rules are stricter in the UK, I can see how your approach to having a subtle A and B list would be a good idea.


E August 6, 2013 at 3:03 pm

It is not proper to ask for an RSVP for a Save-the-date. Sending invitations the regular way can be plenty effective. You send them 6-8 weeks in advance, have a firm RSVP deadline. You don’t plan a wedding based on the kind of party you want to throw, you figure out who you want there and then plan the party you can afford. A and B lists are unnecessary.


Kimstu August 6, 2013 at 6:01 pm

@Lex: “Would it really be terribly rude to say ‘Please RSVP by DD/MM otherwise we will assume you are unable to attend and plan accordingly’?”

Unfortunately, I think that *would* come across as a bit too brusque. Mustn’t pre-emptively threaten your guests with the consequences of their thoughtless behavior before they actually commit it, no matter how justified your forebodings may be in some cases.

@Lex: “When I get married I plan to send 2 types of invitations – the first will be a save-the-date type with a required RSVP, THEN I’ll book the venue based on affordability and the RSVPs I received, then I’ll send the formal invites to the original list plus anyone that I can now afford to invite because some people will have said ‘No thanks’ […]”

Hmmmm. It’s a cunning plan but if your venue booking requires six or eight months or more of advance notice, as is often the case with us in the US, I’m not sure you can get all those save-the-date RSVPs to stick. Etiquette generally deprecates requiring people to make social commitments more than two or three months in advance, precisely because it can be hard to set your schedule that far down the line. This is why the “distant early warning” save-the-date mailings conventionally are considered to be just a courtesy advance notice, not an actual invitation requiring a reply.

My (unsolicited) advice would be instead to send out your first round of invitations (staggered over a period of about a week, to muddy the waters if anyone should be so crass as to try to collect documentary evidence of guest-list juggling) nearly three months before the event, with a fairly early RSVP date. Then as soon as the official regrets start coming in, pounce on them like a mongoose and instantly follow up each one with a “replacement” invitation to somebody you couldn’t invite in the first round—of course, without hinting that the new invitee didn’t make the original cut. Managing the calendar on all this correspondence can be a bit tricky, but you should be able to end up with a somewhat revised guest list without having rudely suggested either to the earlier invitees that you hoped they’d decline or to the later invitees that they were an afterthought.

@Lex: “It’s a bit petty and politic really – having to invite people that I know won’t come due to age/infirmity/illness/transport limitations, but this is all part of family politics.”

Wait wait wait a minute here. I was pretty much in sympathy with you up to this point on the difficulties of juggling wedding guest lists, but: Are you seriously saying that you would prefer to deny your aged and/or infirm and/or distant family members the affectionate gesture of officially requesting the pleasure of their company at your wedding, SOLELY because they’d be physically unable to attend whether they wanted to or not?

Heavens to Betsy. What kind of message is that sending? “Well Grandma, you’re so close to dead already that we just don’t even think about bothering to include you in family gatherings anymore.” Eeeek!!

No no no no. Send dear Grandma a lovely invitation for her very own that she can show to her friends in the retirement home, and put plenty of lead time on the RSVP date, and then when she declines the invitation you will still be able to invite somebody else. (And yes, if she doesn’t get that response back to you promptly by the RSVP date, no matter how aged or infirm or distant she may be (up to the point of actual incapacity, that is), I will heartily concur with you that dear Grandma is being a rude thoughtless slob who needs a boot up the backside to teach her some manners.)


Lex August 12, 2013 at 4:29 am

@Kimtsu: “Wait wait wait a minute here. I was pretty much in sympathy with you up to this point on the difficulties of juggling wedding guest lists, but: Are you seriously saying that you would prefer to deny your aged and/or infirm and/or distant family members the affectionate gesture of officially requesting the pleasure of their company at your wedding, SOLELY because they’d be physically unable to attend whether they wanted to or not?

Heavens to Betsy. What kind of message is that sending? “Well Grandma, you’re so close to dead already that we just don’t even think about bothering to include you in family gatherings anymore.” Eeeek!!

No no no no. Send dear Grandma a lovely invitation for her very own that she can show to her friends in the retirement home, and put plenty of lead time on the RSVP date, and then when she declines the invitation you will still be able to invite somebody else. (And yes, if she doesn’t get that response back to you promptly by the RSVP date, no matter how aged or infirm or distant she may be (up to the point of actual incapacity, that is), I will heartily concur with you that dear Grandma is being a rude thoughtless slob who needs a boot up the backside to teach her some manners.)”

For a start, my beloved Grandmother passed away a couple of years ago so she will never see my wedding, sadly.

You have totally the wrong end of the stick here. The point I was making is that say I can afford a wedding for 100 guests, I WILL be issuing an invite to my elderly and infirm Aunt E and Uncle M even though I know it to be FACT that she won’t come – she was invited to my sisters wedding and didn’t come because she is severely agoraphobic as well as unable to travel long distances. She is my beloved grandmothers younger sister and approaching her 90s so we all understand that she can’t attend. The point is that I will NOT be denying her an invite, but that I will have to wait for her to CONFIRM that she can’t come before I can invite an additional 2 guests otherwise if for whatever reason she decides she CAN come (that >1% chance) then I’ll have overbooked.

My Dear Grandmother DID receive an invite to my sisters wedding but was in the advanced stages of dementia at the time and had no idea who my sister even was. So thanks so much for not reading the bit about ‘AUNT E’ and assuming I meant my grandmother – which I didn’t.

You have totally the wrong end of the stick here – I was talking about exactly the situation you describe – the need to invite people that will be unable to attend due to family politics then HOPE that they reply – some of them don’t. This is the dilemma.


Kirsten August 5, 2013 at 8:05 am

In fairness, how can you know in advance that people will be that rude? Some may warn you; some may not.


Tracy August 5, 2013 at 9:03 am

“Additionally, if you do not socialize with your boss outside of the work environment then why invite him/her to an intimate, personal wedding?”

Was this in a part of the post that didn’t make it onto the web page? I didn’t see that the OP didn’t socialize with her boss; only that she really liked her boss and was thrilled that she planned to come to the wedding.


Angel August 5, 2013 at 9:54 am

We had similar issues with our daughter’s first communion party that we had in the spring. They were mostly with my husband’s side of the family. As a result those two families are no longer on any future guest lists. The first family RSVP’ed yes for just the parents. They have older kids who had other commitments on that day. The day of the party they just never showed up. The parents of the husband (who are my husband’s cousins) showed up and gave us their envelope, and said they just decided not to come–no explanation or apology.

The second family, who consists of my husband’s cousin and his two children, had RSVP’ed yes for himself and both kids. Husband’s cousin and one child turn up at the END OF THE PARTY when everyone is leaving and ate the leftovers. I felt so sorry for the little girl–all the kids had left except for my two, and she was left sitting there on her own because my kids were ready to leave–the party was at a restaurant so it had a definite start and end time.

I don’t know what made me more angry, the cousins who never showed up or the cousin who showed up at the tail end and it was clear that he only came for the food. But I do know that now my husband has finally seen the light–those two cousins will not be invited again. And the crazy thing is, I wasn’t even surprised because these cousins have done stuff like this before.

I second the Admin, if you have to chase people down for RSVPs (I refuse to do this!) or they wait until the last minute to respond, or RSVP yes and never show up, you should use this as a teaching opportunity to take them off the list for your next big event. For my next child’s communion I know exactly who I want to leave off !


Mae August 5, 2013 at 10:20 am

It seems as though a lot of the guest list were waiting to see if a better opportunity came along.

I agree with Admin. If you have to call them after the RSVP deadline and they say “We’ll let you know”, to me, that is a no and the next words out of my mouth would be “I’m sorry you will not be able to join us”. Period, end of story. No begging, pleading or repeated calls for definite answers.

As for the friend who begged to be invited and then decided to stay home and nap- that would most likely be the end of my association with him.


June First August 7, 2013 at 1:28 pm

This is my thought, too. If they haven’t RSVPed, call and say, “Oh, I’m so sorry that you won’t be able to make it!” If they say they haven’t decided, you can say you thought they weren’t coming since they didn’t respond by the deadline. You’re terribly sorry, but you went ahead and invited others, etc, etc.

All said in an apologetic and gracious manner.

Because, really. If they have three weeks (or a similar reasonable time) to decide and they haven’t decided yet, they’re really just waiting to see if something better comes along. And maybe they’ll just be glad to be off the hook.

If their delay work-related, that’s another matter, but they should have let you know. “I’m pretty sure we’re in, but Jeff won’t know his work schedule until X days beforehand. Is that enough time to let you know?”


Wild Irish Rose August 5, 2013 at 10:30 am

I have never understood the need to invite people you don’t know or don’t really socialize with to your wedding. (However, I do understand the my-mother-must-invite-all-the-relatives-and-everyone-she’s-ever-known situation.) And I’m with Admin. on reminders. You have given people a deadline for responses, and if they miss the deadline, you call once to get an answer. And if they can’t (or won’t) commit at that time, then you can assume they’re not coming and express your regrets that they won’t be there.

In my opinion, people who hedge about accepting an invitation aren’t really all that interested in the first place. I would consider that an insult, as if they’re waiting for a better offer from someone else. And that might be the last invitation I issue to them for anything!


Mer August 6, 2013 at 10:46 am

Not all have luxury of choosing their own working times etc. Work schedules might be planned only for next weeks or month and while often luckily bosses will understand if one wants to certain date free, sometimes it’s not just possible. There might be several persons hoping to get that day off, and not all of them can be accommodated. Wedding of a friend or relatives might be important, but not important enough to lose a work and the living of you and your family over it.

I do think though that honesty and communication would be best in these cases. As an invited person you could tell that you cannot know if you have free day that time before the date you get schedules. This leaves different options for the inviter, which also can be communicated. If you cannot wait, you have the “Sorry you will not be able to join us”-option. Or if you really hope that the person is there, you may take the risk and reserve the space.

And I agree also to the “one call” policy after deadline. While rsvping is duty of the invitee, one call is not that hard to make if it can clear some simple communication error. I know I’m person who would lose her head if it was not attached. I try to keep invites and such in visible place until I can confirm my attendance, but I live half of the week in different city so you very easily end up in situation that you are sure from your memory that the date was 19.9, so there is no hurry yet while in reality it was 9.9. And you cannot check until several days later.


PrincessButtercup August 5, 2013 at 10:36 am

It’s almost as if wedding invites now should come with the invite, the RSVP card and a “sorry you won’t be with us” card when ordered.
The joke on Facebook is that if someone RSVP’s to an event with yes it means maybe, if they respond maybe it really means no, if they respond no it means absolutely not.
I invited friends and family to my wedding that we truly wanted there, about 120 people (some we knew were very unlikely to attend because of distance and costs but we still hoped it might work out) and had about 30-40 attend. One bridesmaid skipped out a week before with the only reason being that she didn’t want to wear a dress. A flower girl skip out the day of because her mother never bothered to look for anything to wear till the day of. Another friend I’d known all my life drop off his daughter and refuse to come in because “weddings aren’t my thing”. One person begged to not only be invited but be in the wedding, we didn’t include her in the wedding but did invite her. She didn’t come because she and her mother decided to go shopping for clothes for a vacation they’d be taking in a couple weeks…

Moral of the story seems to be that if you aren’t funding a huge party for everyone to go wild and get wasted at, there isn’t a lot of interest. There has been a great decline in the desire to just celebrate the love and union of a happy couple. So don’t waste your time on people who aren’t likely to be excited for your union.


Ashley August 5, 2013 at 11:46 am

This has very little to do with choosing guests wisely and much more to do with the fact that people just don’t really seem to give a flying fig about RSVPs anymore.

Admin’s daughter seems to be the exception to the rule as far as I can tell because every other couple I know that is married had issues with their RSVPs.

And the brides I know had weddings of all sizes. I’ve been to weddings that had guest lists ranging anywhere from 30 to 250 and ALL of them had issues with RSVPs.

My brothers, my best friends, and I all ran into a lot of people just assuming that we knew they would be there so they didn’t send anything.

Lots of us had people RSVPing for more people than were on the CLEARLY SPELLED OUT invites.

I had people calling me to RSVP when I was nowhere near the spread sheet we were keeping track of all of this on and if I didn’t have a working pen in my purse at the time, I couldn’t make a note.

Then there are the people who assume the date on the RSVP is the date that they need to stick the RSVP in the mail by, not the date that the couple wants it in their hands.

Then there are the people who waffle back and forth til the last second.

And so on and so on and so on……


Kimstu August 6, 2013 at 6:22 pm

@Ashley: “Then there are the people who assume the date on the RSVP is the date that they need to stick the RSVP in the mail by, not the date that the couple wants it in their hands.”

While I agree that proper etiquette requires treating an RSVP date as a receive-by date rather than a send-by date, I think it’s prudent for wedding hosts nowadays to factor in an extra few days’ lead time to allow for confusion on that issue.

So many people these days deal with far more official/business deadlines than social ones, they may just automatically assume that any deadline date means the day when you really HAVE to get it postmarked.


Shoegal August 5, 2013 at 12:53 pm

I have repeatedly said how much I hate how people can’t give a definite answer and pretty much ignore the RSVP, the deadline or both. I throw a bonfire every year and have stopped requiring RSVPs because they have never worked. Nobody gives a definite YES or NO – I got a lot of I have to check and see, I’ll let you know type replies that just serve to irritate me – if you somebody doesn’t come and doesn’t bother to reply I take the hint and stop inviting. I don’t call anyone, I don’t beg, I won’t be put off – I say I’m sorry you can’t join us – because if you can’t tell me now then I rescind the invitation and tell them they won’t be coming (nicely, of course). Weddings are different because of the amount of money involved -so the best advice is to carefully invite.


Tracy August 5, 2013 at 3:44 pm

In theory, I love the idea of “I’m sorry you won’t be able to attend” when someone waffles, or “If we don’t hear from you by X date, we’ll assume you aren’t able to join us.” But how well does it work in practice? Aren’t the type of people who refuse to RSVP pretty much the same type of people who will say “Well, we were invited, so of course we can show up!” when you weren’t expecting them due to their lack of response?


Agania August 5, 2013 at 9:35 pm

Well sure they can show up but if they haven’t rsvp’d there is no place set for them so they just turn right around and walk out the door again. If they argue, remind them that they didn’t respond so a ‘no’ was assumed. Tough cookies to them!


ddwwylm August 6, 2013 at 3:01 am

I had 3 uninvited guest show up to my wedding. 2 of them I think were pretty embarrassed when they showed up and there was no place card for them. i don’t blame them, I think they legitimately thought the person they came with had a +1. One of them slunk out after dinner, I never even met her, I just happened to look out at one point at dinner and see a complete stranger in the crowd. She was the DIL to be for one of my mom’s cousins, and I think she wanted to get ideas. The other was a friend of a friend, so I at least knew who she was, and she tried very hard to make herself useful, setting up stuff and asking how she could help. I was actually pretty mad at the guest who brought her because she basically brought this poor girl who felt out of place and then ditched her all night b/c she was trying to flirt with another guy all night. The last, worst one was my brother’s friend. He knew he wasn’t invited, introduced himself to my DH by saying “I’ve known bride since we were kids so I decided to crash”, sat at my families table so my dad ended up having to sit somewhere else, and acted like a drunk idiot all night.


VR518 August 6, 2013 at 10:12 am

Why didn’t anyone tell your brother’s friend he couldn’t sit there?


PrincessButtercup August 6, 2013 at 2:15 pm

I do weekend gatherings at my house and state “I need a definite head count by x date. This lets me plan meals and beds. If you decide to come after the deadline then you will have to bring all your own meals and may be sleeping on the floor in the hall.” I’ve not had any surprise guests with that.
As for a formal event, if you’re being that strict with RSVP’s then also have a guest list and someone to greet and direct guests at the door. If there is a name not on the list they get an I’m sorry, but your RSVP was not received. I’ll convey your well wishes to the happy couple after the wedding. If more people kept tighter to the RSVP then more people would start learning to follow an RSVP.


CatToo August 5, 2013 at 4:07 pm

It seems that the primary issue here is more a case of the OP not being firm about their own deadline and still looking for replies long after the deadline, rather than a single courtesy call to find out if the RSVP had been missed.

Anybody who says “I’ll let you know” is somebody you answer with “Oh, I’m sorry, I need a definite answer today for our planning purposes. If you don’t know for sure, I’ll have to count you as a “no” and we’ll miss having you there.”


Lakey August 5, 2013 at 4:11 pm

I agree with the Administrator on the issue of inviting a boss or other people you work with to your wedding. Many people who work full time have limited free time. For some people, if you aren’t close to them socially, and don’t normally hang out with them, a wedding is just one more demand on their time.
Thus you get the attitude of “I’ll go if I have nothing better to do attitude.”

For the people you are close to, including a Grandpa, to leave you hanging is just sad. Especially if they are leaving you hanging over golf or a nap. I’d seriously rethink my relationship with people like that.


koolchicken August 6, 2013 at 5:49 am

I think it’s easy to say anyone you have to beg for an RSVP shouldn’t be on your guest list, but it’s hard to put into practice. I mean seriously, her grandparents did this. I’m guessing she had no idea her grandfather would rather skip her wedding. As for bosses, sometimes you have no choice but to invite them.
I think we should just take this story as the OP’s opportunity to vent, as opposed to using it as a teaching lesson. Sometimes you can’t kick certain people off your guest list and those people screw you. Sad but true.


just4kicks August 6, 2013 at 12:50 pm

I am shaking my head at the person who skipped your special day “to catch a nap”! That takes brass balls, excuse my phrasing. Good Lord, how rude! They certainly could have come up with a better excuse, not feeling well springs to mind. Many years of happiness to you and your spouse!!!


Kirsten August 7, 2013 at 9:58 am

Somebody didn’t come to our wedding because ‘I was on a massive drugs comedown’. He told me about a year later and I just said, “Right, I see,” because we didn’t want him anyway (family) and were happy he didn’t come. In fairness, he was embarrassed telling me and so he should have been!


AngiePange August 6, 2013 at 1:36 pm

We are having an intimate wedding and my fiancé insisted on inviting two family friends who he used to be close with, but we don’t have much contact with anymore. They are his best friend’s brothers, but we don’t even get to see his best friend much. Nonetheless, I didn’t object too strenuously to inviting them when FH said it was important to him. Well, I sent them the invites and they failed to acknowledge receipt. I then emailed asking if they’d received them. No reply. I didn’t have their phone numbers and tried to get them, but failed (another long story). So eventually I sent an inbox message on FACEBOOK to the one brother who said “oh yeah, I got it but I haven’t decided if I’m coming”. I just thought that was a little tactless, but I left it. He also failed to give me his number. The other brother isn’t even on facebook. I then sent an email requesting them to let me know by a certain date, failing which I am just assuming that they are not coming. That date has come and gone, so if they pitch, they won’t have a place to sit and my brother has been told to politely request them to leave.


June First August 7, 2013 at 1:35 pm

If these are your fiance’s best friend’s brothers, I think he should be the one responsible for tracking them down. That’s another issue I have: Where are the grooms when their guests aren’t responding?! Have them contact their own bosses, ladies!


kingsrings August 6, 2013 at 6:57 pm

The sad thing is, I know plenty of people who are guilty of doing this, and they think nothing of it at all. They’ll just show up or not show up on a whim at a wedding, and don’t think there’s anything at all wrong with doing that. Their reasons for not going after all run the course from trivial things like deciding to go shopping instead to just “I didn’t feel like it”. I don’t know why, other than perhaps it’s because nowadays, people can be bombarded with so many invitations to weddings and social events, so they’re not looked at as the special occasions that they indeed are to those having them. It’s just another wedding invite to the invitees. How sad that they have that attitude.


Angel August 7, 2013 at 10:40 am

I know people who think that no response, means “I’m not coming.” No, no response means no response. I don’t understand what is so hard about sending in a response card or picking up the phone 🙁


technobabble August 7, 2013 at 12:19 am

I work for my dad. My boss is walking me down the aisle at my wedding 🙂


Angel August 7, 2013 at 10:39 am

Hey technobabble, I work for my dad too–did you invite all the employees as well? We invited all our employees and closed up one of our locations for the day (some of our employees were also in the wedding party). It’s all one big, happy family 🙂


technobabble August 7, 2013 at 1:04 pm

We are a very small company. Our only employees are my dad, myself, and my brother, so everybody is invited!


Hanna August 7, 2013 at 1:16 pm

I had a similar experience with my wedding, and I dutifully warn brides-to-be that most people will not RSVP either way to a wedding invite!! It is exceedingly annoying, especially when you don’t get a yay or nay from someone, and they’re the first ones to show up. Like how hard is it to RSVP? Sorry, but I didn’t actually count you in my final guest list because you never responded to the invite! If you don’t know if you’ll be available, FIGURE IT OUT! “Honey, do you golf on Saturday the 15th?” And as soon as you figure it out, RSVP immediately!

The major problems I had with RSVPing for my wedding were people who did not respond, and showed up. (I did not bother asking people if they were coming or not.) And people who brought an extra person with them when their invite did not say “Bob Smith & Guest.” That was super annoying when I, nor my husband had any idea who their extra guest was. In fact, there were some people we did not invite altogether because we were afraid they would bring their drug dealing boyfriend with them.


Decimus August 7, 2013 at 6:19 pm

I’m so glad we decided on a small destination wedding – we picked that in part so we could tactfully not have to invite co-workers and such. We sent out ~30 invitations and have received around 28 responses. Of the ones we haven’t received, one verbally indicated they weren’t coming and would send a letter (the final respond-by date is still a few weeks off), one is waiting to see if she can make the arrangements, and the third is my SO’s parents, who better dang attend!


AnnaMontana August 10, 2013 at 7:49 am

I had the same problem. My family/friends were all very very prompt in their replies, and I could have created a table plan in April (for our July wedding) with my side. My husband’s side were harder to pin down to actual answers. By the time our RSVP date had gone, I had ONE invite returned with a positive. I was left calling and facebook-messaging those who hadn’t replied.
My MIL actually said “Well, you can’t expect people to reply by April! That’s just plain silly, how do people know what they’ll be doing in July?” I just stared at her.
Three weeks before our wedding, I had nearly all the replies back. One couple, friends of my Husband, whom he also worked with in a voluntary capacity, called and told us they were ‘unsure’ if they’d be able to come. I was furious. I told them that I needed a straight answer by the next Monday (our final payment and final numbers would be given to the hotel) and if they didn’t tell me by then I would assume they weren’t coming. They got huffy with me and my husband told me to cool it a bit, it wasn’t their faults, they had just been made redundant. Fine, but why should I hang around, waiting for their reply? I had plenty of guests who would have loved to come and share our day with us, but we simply couldn’t afford them.
The monday came and went. One week to go, I get a call saying ‘Sorry, we can’t make it.” Fine, I re-arranged my table plan, sorted out the food and fixed everything. I even managed to ensure the hotel gave their room to someone else, so my Husband and I weren’t paying over £100 for the privellage of a room no-one could use.
On the Wednesday (we got married on the Saturday) I got a call from my fiance’s other friends, who had originally turned down their invite. “We’d love to come, we’ll take the first couple’s place!” I was so mad, but, trying to be gracious, I changed the table plan AGAIN, altered the food dishes. The only problem was the room. The second couple had assumed we were ‘going to pay for it anyway’ and therefore they could have the room for free. We had put on our invites that if anyone needed a room, they could call the hotel and book one. We even included a couple of smaller traveloge places and cheaper rooms for everyone. I tried my best. The second couple wanted to know how come ‘their’ room wasn’t avaliable and being paid for. I told them that because couple one had left it so late, we had no choice but to sell their room on. They were annoyed, but I couldn’t do anything about it.
The day of our wedding arrives. A couple of my father’s ex-army friends show up to offer their support (uninvited, but they explained they only wanted to see me get married. I didn’t have a problem with it.) It was fantastic. Until we moved to the recieving line. I noticed couple number two didn’t bother to show up. I was really peeved. However, the ex-army friends who had shown up came over and said congratulations. I immediatley offered them the places. Far better to give people a meal if they can be bothered to come to an event! They enjoyed their meal and I was very happy. I even found out that the spare meal (the second couple had asked for a +1, although it was rude, I obliged) had been eaten by my very pregnant friend, who was glad of the extra food. (There was enough, but she eats tonnes now. I don’t think I see her anymore without food in her hands and mouth!)
All in all, it turned out pretty great. I was really happy to see people enjoy themselves, and a lot of my guests said it was the most relaxed wedding they had been to, and by far the best.
(Couples one and two did eventually show up around 9pm with no explanation, no card or gift, ate the food, drank loads of the free alcohol and proceeded to annoy both my parents and the hotel manager, before they were discreetly escorted from the building.)


SFL August 11, 2013 at 12:54 pm

I have to wonder if there was something about the “happy couple” that put off invited attendees (i.e. perhaps they are boorish, self-centered, etc) . This does not excuse the behavior of not RSVPing but perhaps a possible reason. I have been invited to events by people I do not care to spend time with, but at least I let them know I am not attending due to a previous commitment.


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