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Wedding 911

Too Many RSVPs!

Hi all,

FI and I made the mistake of over-inviting and estimating too low... we had a lot of people coming from out of town and were simply overly optimistic because FI's family is huge and we wanted to be able to invite more. Now the wedding is in 2 weeks out and we're over our estimate... by a lot. 

Our reception is in a family member's backyard and that's just a matter of setting our more seats and informing the caterer. Unfortunately, the ceremony venue has a contract-listed max guest count and we've passed it. What the contract doesn't list is what happens if more guests come (do they get kicked out? do we pay a fee?)

What to do? One some sites, the max count for the venue is listed higher, so there's some hope that the site manager is just being conservative and wouldn't mind adding some more chairs if we ask. But what if they tell us we have to find another venue? With the wedding party standing, we might be able to get by with the max number of actual chairs, but even that is contingent on a couple of no-shows or toddlers sitting in moms' laps (and it would still be obvious if the venue decided to count that the total # of people is well over...)

Has anyone else had this issue, and what did you do? 

Re: Too Many RSVPs!

  • Yeah, we went with the whole '80/20' rule with a bit of wiggle room given how many were literally thousands of miles away. Turns out we're blessed to have a tight-knit bunch of family and friends but unfortunately that meant this rule was not a good one for us.
  • ILoveBeachMusicILoveBeachMusic Indiana member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    Yes unfortunately, that "rule" is often broken so it is best to plan for 100% attendance (for lurkers). If you end up with less than 100% then you either save money or can put the money toward extras. As for your situation knottie# , I agree with @downtondiva. You need to contact your venue immediately and figure out what their policy is and act accordingly. Under no circumstances should any of your guests be turned away from your ceremony. Hopefully, you will just have to pay a fee and be done with it. Good luck! 
    ahoyweddingInLoveInQueensMesmrEwe
  • MRDCleMRDCle member
    250 Love Its 100 Comments Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    Definitely get in touch ASAP with your venue.  And if their answer is that people will have to stand or be turned away, time to scramble for plan b.
    ahoywedding
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Yeah, we went with the whole '80/20' rule with a bit of wiggle room given how many were literally thousands of miles away. Turns out we're blessed to have a tight-knit bunch of family and friends but unfortunately that meant this rule was not a good one for us.
    This is NOT a rule. I don't know who advised you to plan like this, but obviously you made a huge mistake. 

    You need to contact your ceremony venue immediately and find out how you can accommodate your guests. If they can't,  you'll have to find a new venue. 

    InLoveInQueens
  • ahoyweddingahoywedding member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary First Answer
    edited April 11
    Is your ceremony venue inside or outside? If it's inside, you may have to contend with more than just a fee; there are likely fire codes that dictate how many people can be inside a building at a given time (you & your FI, officiant, photographer, and wedding planner count toward this number as well!) and this has absolutely no flexibility. 

    Contact your venue ASAP to see what the next steps are. If they can't legally or physically seat everyone in the ceremony space, you need to find a new venue immediately.

    As far as the reception site, do you have enough parking, seating, and bathrooms for the additional guests? Can you afford the catering to still provide the same level of service now that you have more guests than you planned for? For example, if your reception will be at meal time, can you still afford to provide a full meal to all guests? How does that family member feel about the extra number of people at their home?

    Lesson for lurkers: plan for 100% attendance. We had a TON of guests coming from far away (like most of both of our families) and were surprised with some of the people who came. We planned and budgeted for 100% attendance though, so it wasn't a problem. If nothing else, it will be a nice surprise at the end if you can upgrade food or drink options, or have some money left over!
    charlotte989875InLoveInQueensshort+sassy
  • Yep, it was certainly a regrettable mistake.

    Thanks for the advice, all. 

    We will be fine on bathrooms, catering, parking, etc. We have already checked all that with the planner.

    Luckily, in an emergency, the reception site can accommodate us for a ceremony. We're taking to the venue tonight to see what the situation is.
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs member
    Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Yep, it was certainly a regrettable mistake.

    Thanks for the advice, all. 

    We will be fine on bathrooms, catering, parking, etc. We have already checked all that with the planner.

    Luckily, in an emergency, the reception site can accommodate us for a ceremony. We're taking to the venue tonight to see what the situation is.
    Isn’t your reception site the backyard of a private residence?  Do you also have a contingency for inclement weather?
    InLoveInQueens
  • Talk to the ceremony venue. You invited these people so you need a way to seat them all. I would recommend making a few people ushers, making sure they understand this mistake, and that they need to seat people by filling rows, telling people to move down, make room, etc. - not asking where they want to sit.
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  • Yes, it's a private residence. We have tents on standby should they be needed.
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    It sounds like you need to arrange with the private residence and with your vendors to accommodate these extra guests.

    When inviting guests, there is no "80/20" rule or any other situation that allows you to plan for any number of guests less than 100%. You need to assume that everyone invited will be attending and plan accordingly until any of them actually decline the invitation. You can't invite someone while assuming that they won't accept -- regardless of whether it is likely that they will decline.
    ahoyweddingMesmrEwecharlotte989875
  • thisismynickname2thisismynickname2 City By The Lake member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    I'm sorry, but it had to be said (for Gilmore Girls fans)


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    MobKazcharlotte989875CSunshine76
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