Wedding Ideas

Handling Non-RSVPers

Posted on March 06, 2020 by New Jersey Bride


It happens to every bride and groom. No matter how clearly the RSVP date is written on the response cards, several people fail to respond. So what do you do? Here’s your solution:

Wait one week after the respond-by date to allow mailed responses to straggle in. Then, call each of the non-responders directly—at home, not at work—to ask for their decision. Be positive, smiling and upbeat when you call, saying, “Just checking in to see if you’ll be joining us on the wedding day!” with a tone in your voice that conveys your enthusiasm about their being there. People who misplaced or forgot about their response cards—which happens often in our rushed and harried world—will give you the Yes or No, with their apologies for not responding. You may also find that some people mailed their cards, but they never got to you. It happens.

For the person who says, “I don’t know yet” followed by some story about needing to see how their work schedule is, or what have you. To be fair, some people really do have jobs that keep them working 24-7, and no one can afford to lose a job. Some might be waiting to see if their doctor will give them the all-clear to travel during a challenging pregnancy (and they’ve chosen to keep the challenging part out of the family gossip mill). There may be very good reasons for non-committal answers, so don’t assume these people are simply self-centered and inconsiderate.

Of course, you may have that cousin who’s the epitome of self-centered and inconsiderate, who loves making people jump through hoops for her, who’s just too fabulous for the world. She might get a better offer that day.

No matter what their motivation—and spare yourself the stress of even thinking about that part of it—they need to give you a response. So if you get a “maybe” from them now, at the week post-RSVP date, just say, “Okay, then I’ll call in a few days to see what your answer is. We have to give our caterer the final headcount by then, so that everything can be ordered and arranged. So we’ll keep our fingers crossed that you can make it.”

If they don’t call in a few days, you’ll have to make another call: “Okay, we’ll put you down as a ‘No’ then, but let me know if anything changes and you can make it. We can always add you.” You’ve eliminated the waffling answer, gotten your headcount, delivered it to your caterer on time to avoid late fees.

For those who call late: If that guest calls to say she can make it, just call your caterer to say you have to add a few names on. They’re used to it. And they’re also used to calls saying five guests can’t make it. Headcounts adjust as the wedding date approaches, so it’s usually no problem to add a few names to the tally. You’re just putting the non-answering people on the No list as a way to solve the frustration of waiting.

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