What to Do When Your Wedding Guests Don’t RSVP
Whether you’re using digital RSVPs or the traditional paper alternative, a consistent theme of the event planning process is the agonizing wait for those last few missing RSVPs. While no one wants to be hassled about an event that’s most likely far off in the future of someone’s work and social calendar, we also know nothing is more annoying than being pestered by your caterer, banquet hall, DJ etc., about how many guests to expect – especially when you’d rather just be getting excited for the occasion. It always help if you have an idea of what to expect in terms of the average wedding RSVP timeline so that you know how much time to allow for your guests to RSVP.
So what’s the right way and wrong way to go about reminding your absent-minded wedding guests to RSVP (be they aged relatives who are unused to the new-fangled online RSVP trend, your Uncle Vern who’s still stuck in the 60s, or your free-spirited college buddy who has always had trouble with the confines of space and time)? While we would encourage you to restrain yourself when first reminding those guests that you’d love to know if you should plan to see them, there are a few polite and time-tested methods to employ when trying to wrangle in those outstanding RSVPs. Here are a few simple steps that will get you the missing RSVP info you need to know while allowing you to still enjoy the company of said absent-minded friends and family on your wedding day:
Step 1: Go on the offensive
Before your invitations even go out, be sure to use your invitation and RSVP wording to your advantage. Restraint is the operative word of the day when you’re trying to get the info you need while avoiding hurting anyone’s feelings. A polite but clear reminder on the RSVP form itself is always a good bet to help get your guests moving sooner than later – “Please respond by XX date so that Hubby and I can get excited about seeing you at our wedding!” You’re really saying “You have no idea how much stuff we need to get organized between now and then – and it’s our wedding!,” but instead you’re being nice about it. See? Everyone’s happier this way. If you’ve opted to use an online event management platform (like RSVPify) to help manage your event, you may have the ability to easily send email reminders to guests who have not RSVPd.
Step 2: The “Gentle Nudge”
Is it getting close to the RSVP cut-off? Slightly past your deadline? Everyone’s human, and chances are your outstanding guests just need a gentle nudge reminding them to send along their RSVP. Depending on who the guest is, start with a quick reminder by text message, email or social media. If it’s a friend or relative of the bride or groom’s parents, let your parental units do the ‘dirty work’ with a quick message or phone call. Friend of the bride or groom? No need to come across as pushy. A simple “Hey Veronica, just making sure you received our invitation (a couple didn’t make it we’ve learned…) and wanted to see if you’re able to make it to our special day!?” Sure, maybe all of your invites made it. But a little white lie can help take and edge off.
Step 3: The Final Reach Out
The big day is a few weeks out. It’s time to finalize your numbers, make sure all your ducks are in a row, and provide caterers the all-important head count. At this point, you need to step up your game a bit. Don’t just rely on social media or email – give your missing guests a round of follow-up calls if it’s been awhile – Sure, you’ve decided to use online RSVPs because you don’t want to rely on the old-school methods of organizing a wedding. However, between general forgetfulness and the possible learning curve of new digital RSVP services and other online wedding apps, it’s probably a good idea to check in via phone with those guests you’re still waiting for an answer on. Mask it as a simple hello call, with a polite reminder “By the way, Hubby and I would be so happy to see you at the wedding – do you think you can make it?”. Sure, what you’re really saying is “Is it a %*&#$@% yes or no?!,” but see, you can still be polite about it.
You May Never Hear; Keep Calm, Carry On
When it comes down to it, there’s no need to make yourself more stressed before the special day – Despite your best efforts, you may never hear from some guests. Often times you’ll learn later that they were going through a tough time or had just picked up and moved to Bali on a whim. Whatever the case, it’s not worth worrying another second about.
Even if you never hear, there’s still that chance that a guest or party may decide to drop in unannounced. Plan for a couple unexpected guests who, for whatever reason, didn’t make it on your RSVP list. You are certainly justified for wanting to let someone know that just ‘showing up’ is an inconsiderate gesture – but why not save that for a dinner date and a laugh later on, instead of during the reception?
Remember to Enjoy Your Big Day
You’re getting married! If you do nothing else, remember to enjoy your big day. The little things that may have once seemed like a big deal will be quickly forgotten. You may notice something amiss, but your guests will never know the difference and will enjoy celebrating with you just the same.