Larry The No Reply Guy

by admin on October 14, 2013

I am in a bit of a quandary. My fiance and I are getting married in just over two weeks.

We have decided to have a very small intimate celebration with close friends and family. We have 40 guests coming, all of whom have been special to us and played a significant role in our lives.

The thing is, when we originally planned the guest list, we invited my fiance’s best friend “Marty” and his family (including parents “Lyn” and “Jack” and two brothers “Ken” and “Larry”) who my fiance has always been quite close to. When we sent the invite out, Lyn was the first to reply. It took a lot longer to get replies out of Marty, Ken and Larry and eventually I had to email all of them to ask them to RSVP. Marty replied that he was coming, and eventually Ken told us that he “probably” could not make it, so we left him off the list. Larry was silent. I tried calling him (no answer), repeated emails and messages (both private and public-cringe!) on Facebook.

Since we know that Larry is a bit flighty and unreliable, we eventually gave it up as a lost cause. We had actually discussed whether or not we should call Lyn and ask HER to talk to Larry, but we didn’t want to be “tattling” or forcing Larry to come if he just didn’t want to.

Then, suddenly, we got a message from Marty last week telling us he’d seen Larry and Larry had asked about the details of fiance’s stag do (there isn’t one) and said he was looking forward to the wedding! We had to tell Marty that Larry hadn’t replied to our emails, hadn’t acknowledge receipt of the invite (we sent out email “preinvitations” and formal hand made invites), so we had therefore excluded him from the numbers for the venue.

This morning I get a message from Lyn telling me that Larry REALLY wants to come to the wedding but never received his previous emails because he’s been too busy. (Never mind that he is ALWAYS on Facebook, no idea how he missed that but anyway).

My gut instinct is to tell Lyn that we cannot accommodate him and to mail him directly too (it irks me that he hasn’t even contacted me or fiance directly) – Larry is a 28 year old qualified engineer, not a 5 year old with presumably no clue.

My fiance on the other hand is worried about upsetting Lyn – he thinks we should bow to the pressure and beg our venue to let us change our head count (there will be financial penalties for this).

Please let me know what you think Ms. Jeanne. I value your opinion and if I am being the hell-bound boor, I will accept it and back down quietly!  1014-13

Your venue has locked in the absolute number of guests 2 weeks from the wedding and will penalize you (beyond the cost of the extra per person fee) for adding just one person?  I understand the need for a venue or the caterer to plan according when buying the food for a particular event but being unable to add one person seems quite unreasonable.   The calculations for food should have some wiggle room for one added guest.   BUT if this is wedding venue policy, you may have no choice but to exclude Larry unless you wish to pop for more money beyond the cost of his plate.

My gut instinct tells me that you and your fiance have yet to hear from the man himself.   You’ve only heard second hand reports of his interest in attending the wedding.   My experience tells me that people who have to be begged to RSVP and will not commit to attending the wedding are the ones most likely to not show up at all for the wedding.   The reality is that Larry has been too “busy” to bother giving you the courtesy of reply and he may be too busy to go to your wedding.    If Larry himself calls you or fiance and pleads stupidity in not responding to your kind invitation, I’d go ahead and spend the extra money to include him, assuming the added fee is not outrageous.   But I would ignore the case being presented by his mother and brother as perhaps just wishful thinking.

And Lyn may be upset but it should be at Larry for his rude disregard for your invitation and repeated attempts to contact him.

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Kirsten October 14, 2013 at 9:21 am

The two-week cut-off is very common in my country. The head count goes in and that’s that.

I agree with Admin. Don’t give in to Lyn. The simple fact is, it’s too late. Larry had weeks to respond to you. He didn’t. You chased him. He didn’t respond.

He’s missed the cut-off date. Sorry, but spare yourself the angst and extra money with this little time to go. You’ve done more than enough to facilitate his response and he’s got no manners.

I would email Lyn saying you’re so sorry, but you had to turn in your final numbers and pay off the dinner, which is now fixed. This is if you want to. You don’t owe anyone an explanation.

I suspect Lyn is embarrassed by her son’s lack of manners, but I also suspect that Larry won’t come anyway!

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NostalgicGal October 14, 2013 at 9:26 am

This one so sounds like it’s going to bite the OP no matter what. I’d say if there is only secondhand contact, and the deadline for the venue and caterer is past, stick with original plans. If there could be no contact between ‘Larry’ by now, he’s not going to be showing and the costs involved isn’t worth the attempt to add him in now…

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Mae October 14, 2013 at 9:29 am

I would not change anything to accommodate Larry. He did not bother to respond to the invitation or any of the other numerous attempts to contact him. Even though he REALLY wants to come, he still hasn’t called, but had his Mom (Lyn) call for him? Uh-un, no way. IF Larry himself called, maybe.

Who has their Mom call and try to guilt someone into letting their child come to a wedding, even though he was too busy to respond to the invitation and repeated attempts at contact???

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AIP October 14, 2013 at 12:08 pm

Aww, diddums @ Larry and his mother. It will cost too much to have him come at this late stage and they will have to make do with a “no”. My parents would pull the same daftness if let and frankly you won’t win no matter what you do. These people have to learn that they can’t always have it their own way. Unless of course they are great fun and their loss from the reception would really be noticed.
Frankly I’d be surprised if any of them turned up after all this silliness.

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Harley Granny October 14, 2013 at 12:24 pm

I would tell “Lyn” to have her son call the wedding couple himself. That no decision will be made until you or your husband has talked directly to Larry.

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Kimstu October 14, 2013 at 12:48 pm

I agree with Admin that you don’t want to start a feud over this, but Larry has not even provided the MINIMAL display of manners appropriate for a guest who has ungraciously neglected an invitation and now seeks forgiveness.

The LW should politely explain to Lyn that they had been trying all along to get in touch with Larry, and now that the deadline has passed it may not be possible to get him reinstated on the guest list, so if that’s what he’s hoping for then he REALLY needs to get in touch with them PERSONALLY and IMMEDIATELY.

Do not mention the extra expense, that sounds a bit sordid. Anyway, it’s fundamentally not about the money. The core issue is that Larry rudely ignored his gracious hosts’ invitation until getting on for the last minute, and he has forfeited the welcome that was originally offered to him.

Even if it didn’t cost one red cent to put him back on the guest list now, only a self-centered entitled brat would think it was okay to pop up after missing the deadline and assume he was still automatically expected and welcome. Larry’s got some major groveling to do if he wants to get off the hosts’ spit list, never mind getting back on their guest list.

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kingsrings October 14, 2013 at 12:56 pm

Unless you hear from Larry directly, DO NOT add him as a guest! Second-hand RSVP’s don’t count at all. If the invitee wanted to come so badly, they would be contacting the people whom they’re supposed to RSVP to, not sending a “messenger” to do this deed. Explain that to his family and whomever else is giving you such a hard time about this matter.

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Allie October 14, 2013 at 1:02 pm

I suspect Lyn really wants Larry to go. She is probably treating this occasion as a chance for her family to have a nice get-together as well as celebrating your day with you. There’s nothing wrong with that, provided they are all on board and all RSVP appropriately. However, it seems Larry is not on board and has no intention of RSVPing appropriately. I would leave it alone. Tell Lyn you are very sorry Larry is unable to attend but as he did not RSVP he was not included in the final count. She’ll be disappointed but that’s not your problem. This is between her and her sons.

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DanaJ November 7, 2013 at 6:17 pm

I agree with this. Lyn really wants Larry to go, but I suspect Larry actually doesn’t. He may be telling his mom: “Oh, I missed the deadline. Rats, I really wanted to go. Oh, well, too bad for me.” – But that’s just for her sake. What Lyn can’t see is that he’s on the other end of the phone doing a happy dance that he dodged an occasion where he’d have to sit in a suit for half a day.

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gellchom October 14, 2013 at 1:23 pm

I don’t know …. I mean, of course Larry was wrong and rude and of course the LW is within her rights to say sorry, no. And it is true that they haven’t heard from Larry himself.

But it’s also true that they did invite Larry. Assuming that they are able to confirm that he is indeed accepting the invitation, I think it is a bit drastic to withdraw it just because he was late and uncommunicative — although I would indeed be annoyed, too, especially if there would be a big surcharge. (Personally, I would have gone with the original idea of calling Lyn and asking her if she knew his plans.) Did they invite someone else in his place after the RSVP date passed? If not, how can there not be room for him?

And I, too, wonder about this odd surcharge and the difficulty of adding just one more person with two weeks to go. That doesn’t sound right to me. Even if they do have a change fee, how much could it possibly be? Is that what this is REALLY about, or is it about being annoyed with oh-so-busy, inconsiderate Larry?

Most important, I think the LW has to let her fiance make this call. This is his best friend and a family with whom he is close. To exclude Larry at this point might make it extremely awkward for the rest of them to attend, even if they agree he deserves it (and Lyn and Marty don’t seem to, given their communications) . They will probably consider it very petty and punitive to “uninvite” Larry, which is what it will look like to them.

Sure, you can stand on your rights and be blameless as far as etiquette rules go. But if casts a shadow on your wedding and embarrasses your fiance and a much-loved family, is it really worth it?

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Kirsten October 15, 2013 at 4:20 am

I don’t think it’s drastic. It’s completely standard – they invited him, he ignored them. They followed up, he ignored them. I think saying ‘just because he was late and uncommunicative’ rather misses the point. Just because? He has refused to respond to a wedding invitation. That’s such awful manners for a start, but what else should they do? It’s not drastic to assume he isn’t coming and act accordingly, after giving him so many chances. It’s common sense.

The 2 weeks’ cut-off is totally normal where I live. They aren’t uninviting Larry. Larry’s bad manners have just made it impossible for him to be there, which is very different. They aren’t excluding him. He’s excluded himself.

They’ve tried so hard to make it possible for him to be there – it’s unfair to make out that the HC are just about etiquette, or to say it would ‘cast a shadow’ and ‘embarass’ people. The OP’s done far more than she needed to, when dealing with the very rude Larry, presumably because they love this family, but ultimately the only person casting shadows and embarrassing people is Larry. He is the only person at fault here and I think the HC have been incredibly kind to go to so much trouble. It’s really sad that Larry clearly doesn’t appreciate it.

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Mae October 15, 2013 at 9:47 am

@Kirsten- I completely agree. They are not “uninviting” Larry. Larry missed the RSVP deadline and did not respond to attempts to contact him. His MOM called saying he “really” wants to come but did not receive his emails? Come on, people get email on computers and many people even get emails on their phone. If Larry was too busy to answer/read his emails, what says he won’t be too busy to remember to come to the wedding?

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gellchom October 15, 2013 at 3:11 pm

See, this is what I think leads people down the wrong road: “…ultimately the only person casting shadows and embarrassing people is Larry. He is the only person at fault here ….”

Yes, of course that’s true. But is that enough for you –to be able to blame someone else? If there is discomfort at your wedding, and it is the main thing some people remember about it, and your husband is distracted at his own wedding because an awkward situation with his best friend and a family he loves, it really won’t matter much who was right and who was wrong. Will you be happy just because you can tell yourself it was someone else’s fault?

Of course the OP is right and Larry was wrong. But it’s the OP’s wedding that will be affected, not Larry’s. Not to mention her husband’s relationship with his best friend. And even if you aren’t the one who created the problem, you may still be the one in the best position to solve it, with just a little grace and generosity on your part. If I were Lyn, that’s probably how I would see this, even though I would be mortified by my son’s not having replied.

This reminds me of a story where a poster, tired of people not responding, proudly reported closing the door in the face of some guests who showed up for a dinner party after not having responded. Yikes! Can you imagine how embarrassed and uncomfortable the other, innocent guests must have felt, especially if they knew the people? How hard would it have been just to have called them and avoid the problem, even though it really wasn’t his duty? He spoiled his own dinner party. But, hey, it wasn’t HIS fault ….

It might not be fair for Marty’s family to resent Larry’s not being allowed to attend (assuming they would; they might not). But if they do, they do, and you can’t change how people feel just because you don’t think they have a right to feel that way and you are blameless. And your fiance is the one who will have to pay the price. That’s why I think that the most important advice given in this string is to let HIM figure this out.

We see so many posts, in so many contexts, that basically advise people to stand on their rights without regard for fallout, consequences, and other people’s feelings, because they were RIGHT and the other person was WRONG and so it’s their own fault and no one has a right to criticize or be offended or have their hurt feelings, and if anyone does, that’s someone else’s fault etc. etc. etc. But in my experience, that’s rarely a constructive attitude to take. Certainly there’s never some sort of etiquette tribunal where you’re going to get a chance to defend yourself. If people feel hurt, then that’s what they will feel, no matter whose fault it was. It’s important to ask yourself if you’re okay with that, not just whether you can be blamed. I would think that in the context of a wedding, you’d want to be extra careful even just out of self-interest.

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Kirsten October 16, 2013 at 4:16 am

“Will you be happy just because you can tell yourself it was someone else’s fault?”

I’m sorry but this is ridiculous. This is not about saying it’s someone else’s fault.
The OP is anxious and unhappy as she tries to find a solution with a man who is being rude and inconsiderate. She asked for advice on what to do. To compare her to the door-slammer is laughable. And where is Larry?

“If people feel hurt, then that’s what they will feel, no matter whose fault it was. It’s important to ask yourself if you’re okay with that, not just whether you can be blamed. I would think that in the context of a wedding, you’d want to be extra careful even just out of self-interest.”

Where is Larry?

You seem to be implying that the HC only care about being ‘right’ here. They clearly don’t, given the massive trouble they’ve gone to for a bad-mannered, lazy man. But who is hurt here? They are. Someone important to them doesn’t mind showing that they don’t give a damn about them. And they HAVE been ‘extra careful’. They have tried and tried.

Why should they do more? Why should they not now draw a line without being accused of ‘standing on their rights’? They haven’t stood on their rights yet. They’re just considering not shelling out extra money for a man given every chance to be there, who has just blown them off. To be honest, I’m astonished you can’t see the difference and it’s sad you give them no credit for the huge efforts they’ve gone to so far in friendship to this man.

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gellchom October 16, 2013 at 1:28 pm

Oh, I’m sorry, I wasn’t clear. I do indeed think they have tried hard, and I think Larry is being very lazy and inconsiderate, and I would be driven crazy if I were them.

I’m just saying that even though they are not responsible for the problem, they do control the solution, and if it were my decision to make, I wouldn’t base it on whose fault it was, I’d base it on what the effects would be.

inNM October 15, 2013 at 9:58 am

As someone who has been in the OP’s shoes, I say flush him. The OP is planning her wedding, and has a number of other, more important issues on her plate than to continuously chase down this person who doesn’t want to be found. Larry is a functioning adult, who is clearly able to communicate when he wants (otherwise he would never have a job because he would not respond to the job offer or other office communication). Using the KISS principle, the simplest answer is the correct answer: Larry doesn’t respond because he doesn’t want to come, despite what Lyn is telling the OP and her fiance. No amount of begging is going to guarantee his appearance.

From my experience, this is not usually because the guest was so busy they never received the invitation. It’s because they just couldn’t be bothered to respond or they are holding out for a better way to fill the time slot. In any way, it’s purely selfish. The OP should calmly explain to Lyn that they have exhausted all reasonable efforts to communicate with Larry and he chose not to communicate with them directly, so the invitation has expired. If Lyn says “Well, if Larry doesn’t come, then none of us will come,” please wish them well and let them know that you are sorry about their decision and that their presence will be missed.

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Shoegal October 14, 2013 at 1:31 pm

I say that Larry isn’t coming. I’ve seen this before – if he was an upstanding guy and an adult he would have told you himself – RSVP’d yes or no. I mean, is it really that hard?!?! Why should you go out of your way to include him??? If Larry personally contacts you I would probably include him – otherwise I’d say I never heard from Larry personally and took his silence as confirmation that he wasn’t coming.

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pbird October 31, 2013 at 6:44 pm

Correct.

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Tracy October 14, 2013 at 2:17 pm

I’d say “Lyn, I appreciate you trying to work things out for Larry, but since we haven’t heard from him ourselves, we’re going to continue to assume he’s not coming and isn’t attempting to come. Look forward to seeing you.” Or something along those lines.

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MrsL October 14, 2013 at 3:26 pm

I agree with the admin here. This guy has never once taken the time to reply to either of you. DH and I got married last year and had a guest list of about fifty including the wedding party. At first we had trouble with keeping the guest list small but then we started asking ourselves a simple question. Would we take our guests for dinner privately and happily pick up the cheque? If the answer was yes then we invited them. If we wouldn’t take a potential guest for dinner outside of the wedding then why would we have them as guests? A bit cynical I know but it kept things in perspective for us and kept me from wanting to invite every person I encountered :)
We did have a friend of our groomsman announce that he had to be invited or he would crash the night that we met him. He was our one impulse invite. He RSVP’d with a request for prime rib (it was that or chicken) and then never showed.
Here’s what I’m getting at. You’re basically inviting Larry to a nice dinner on your dime to celebrate a huge day for the two of you. He can’t be bothered to reply. Or to apologize for having not replied yet. He is assuming that you know that he is coming even though you obviously didn’t otherwise you wouldn’t keep trying to get his RSVP. If you do move heaven and earth and manage to expand the guest list to fit him in, will he even show?
Leave this one up to FH. He knows Larry better. The easiest way to do things is to include him and hope that he shows. If he doesn’t then it’s completely on him.

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Mae October 15, 2013 at 9:54 am

You are a better person than I, because if someone “announced” to me that they HAD to be invited to my wedding or they would crash it, they would be met with most menacing security guard I could hire to send him “crashing” down on his butt in the parking lot.

AND the nerve to insist on an invite, pick your meal (prime rib is yummy!) and then not show??? How rude does it get?

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Suzanne October 15, 2013 at 2:05 pm

Oh we were not impressed at all. The servers still served his food so everyone got to look at a plate of wasted food for all three courses. And the nail in his coffin was a few weeks later web he said that he was coming to dinner with mutual friends and then didn’t show. We haven’t seen him since.

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Marozia October 14, 2013 at 4:25 pm

It’s your wedding, not Larry’s ‘night out’.
I wouldn’t change anything for Larry.

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Maggie October 14, 2013 at 11:29 pm

Lyn is probably trying to guilt Larry in to attending, by telling him that the OP is expecting him (special invite and all that).

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pbird October 31, 2013 at 6:46 pm

It does sound like a busy little mother doesn’t it?

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Stephanie October 14, 2013 at 11:50 pm

Don’t worry about it. Just take a deep breath, and let it go. There’s no need to say anything more, unless you see them in person, because you’ve already stated your position. I say this about 2 weeks after my wedding. We had a few no-shows and we had a few extras (my husband’s grandpa brought his 2nd cousin and cousin’s mother-in-law, despite saying that he understood when we told him the numbers were already in) and you know what? It came out to exactly what we had paid for. Even if it’s not, it’s not a big deal and it honestly won’t be something you are worried about on the day of. So do your best to just let it go. Secret is that caterers prepare about 10% more than your numbers anyway no matter what.

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Kate October 15, 2013 at 8:22 am

MrsL – I love that way of looking at it! Would I want to take them out for dinner and pick up the tab normally? I’m working on a guest list for my own wedding atm and I’ll be using that criteria I think.

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PHW October 15, 2013 at 12:54 pm

OP, since Larry is so flighty, it sounds like he may just be giving a polite response or excuse to his family when they ask if he’s coming to the wedding. Even if you do change your plans to accommodate him, it is likely he won’t show up in the end. It is better to offer a polite response to Lyn (We would have loved to have him join us, but unfortunately didn’t hear from him). If you still feel you need to offer anything additional, you can ask Lyn to have Larry call you if he decides he would like to come (If you are still able to work out the addition with the venue). I would hate for you to make room and then pay for someone who doesn’t come. My husband and I had three no shows at our wedding. Nothing is worse than paying rentals fees (dishes, glasses, flatware, seats) and for meals for empty seats. What was the excuse? One thought the wedding was the next weekend, one felt ill (tummy troubles) – which is totally understandable, but we didn’t hear from them for months, despite emails and phone calls. The third was a beg and plead addition. A cousin was coming from out of town and was not only bringing his new girlfriend (he was invited with no guest since he hadn’t been dating anyone at the time of the invitation mailing ), he was also planning on bringing a friend as well. At the insistence of my FMIL, I contacted the caterer to add an additional seat and plate. In the end, the cousin showed up minus the friend.

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OP October 16, 2013 at 3:35 am

Hi Everyone, OP here. Thank you so much for your responses and for the advice.

The problem I had was not particularly the surcharge. It wasn’t even the late RSVP. I understand that some people might get to the last minute and just not have responded. My problem was with Larry not contacting me or FH himself – instead we had to get second information from his MUM. Lyn is a great lady, by REALLY, Larry – he needs to grow up a lot.

In the end, I decided to suck it up. The truth is that weddings are about love, not annoyance and resentment. The path of least resistance for me was to get Larry’s details and contact him myself. I was frank with him. I said “Larry, if you really would like to come, I will accommodate you. But I DO want to make sure that you really want to come.” Larry replied in the affirmative and apologised for the “confusion” (I am really not sure what was confusing, lol). I have also contacted the wedding venue and there is a chance that they will even waive the surcharge after all.

And, if Larry doesn’t show, there will just be more food to go around. (We are having a buffet as opposed to a plated meal). The fact is, I feel happy and comfortable that I have tried to be a gracious hostess and no one can be offended from my actions if Larry doesn’t show.

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Mae October 16, 2013 at 12:42 pm

I’m glad you worked it out to your satisfaction. I think the thing that got me the most was the same thing that got you- Larry did not bother to respond or even call and say “I know its’ really late but…”, his MOTHER called for him.

Since you know that Larry is flighty and unreliable, I would be careful about inviting him to events requiring or requesting RSVP’s. Since Marty is the husband’s best friend, I would definitely invite him, but Larry would not be making any future guest lists.

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gellchom October 16, 2013 at 1:34 pm

Good for you. As you know, I think you made not only a gracious and generous choice, but a wise one as well. I am sure you won’t ever be sorry. And I’m also sure your fiance must be grateful to you.

Now you can forget about this whole distracting issue and have a lovely, fun wedding day without second-guessing yourself.

Just out of curiosity, how much was that surcharge, anyway? I never heard of such a thing. To the contrary, as someone else posted, usually caterers add in a few extra meals anyway, in case they drop or spoil any. That’s why many people advise to give the caterer an undercount of a few. You’re more likely to have last-minute cancellations than additions.

Congratulations to you!

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goddessoftheclassroom October 19, 2013 at 11:16 am

You, dear OP, are a true lady. Brava.

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Heather October 29, 2013 at 3:03 pm

When I got married, the manager at the reception venue (which was also the caterer) told me to give her a slightly low number for my final head-count. She said that the venue would charge me for my headcount or the actual number of people that showed up, whichever was larger, since they know that there are always no-shows. Sure enough 6 people out of 82 didn’t show. I would be very surprised if the venue in question didn’t have similar expectations. I would leave the count as it is; that way if the errant RSVPer doesn’t show up, it’s no worries. If he does, you can deal with it then. It would be a very poor wedding venue indeed that didn’t have a plan for extras. No sense paying for him until he shows up.

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Cheryl July 22, 2014 at 1:11 pm

Here is the deal and people need to not only be on-time but considerate, invites are sent 6 weeks in advance, and unless they are in Europe it takes a week or week and a half tops and you can send it back immediately. Larry being inconsiderate, you need to inform Lyn and Larry that due to the email, formal invitation which normally states when you need to have the RSVP card back and the Facebook messages you took his silence to mean that he isn’t able to come. Inform the two of them that due to the venue and caterer’s policy, adding any more people will be a penalty cost, therefore, the number stand and that you wish that Larry could come but the numbers have already been given to all involved and that adding more is impossible, at least offer, if Larry is near by to go out to dinner with him when he is available. If his mother pitches a fit then inform her that Larry is an adult who needs to be responsible which includes sending out the RSVP to a wedding when it already had a stamp on it or answering Facebook which he was on or if that doesn’t work inform his mother that she should have taught him better and that it is his own fault.

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