Wedding Etiquette Forum


Hello! My wedding is June 21st 2019 (a Friday). Our venue is amazing, but the owners/operators are a little strange. We are supposed to meet in about two weeks, when I'll hand over my list of vendors and the final guest count. I thought it was odd that they wanted a final count two months before the date (seems like the general rule is to RSVP three weeks in advance) but they're a popular, extremely in-demand venue and I didn't want to rock the boat so I didn't bring it up. Because we live in a remote area and the wedding is on a week day, we sent out STDs really early, a month after we got engaged (in December) and sent the invitations out early March with an RSVP deadline of April 7th, which I figured would allow time for any stragglers to come in the mail before we have to meet with the venue. The deadline is in 5 days and we still haven't received responses from over half of the people we invited. I plan to call and check in with everyone who hasn't responded after the deadline has passed, but is this normal? Could the timeline set by our venue be throwing people off? We wanted to keep the guest list small, at about 100 people, but we ended up inviting 177 knowing many wouldn't be able to make the long trip...but only 72 have confirmed they're coming, 12 said they can't make it, and 92 people have yet to say anything! Five of these non-responders are in my own bridal party!! I'm ranting now, but we told our caterer we estimated about 130 and it's in our contract that we can't increase or decrease that number by more than 20%. I'm worried about penalties or them just refusing to cater our reception at all. Do I need to ask my venue for an extension on a getting a final count? Do I break out the B-List? And again - is this low rate of RSVP responses normal?? 

Re: RSVP Woes

  • OurWildKingdomOurWildKingdom in the 216 member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    Call your guests who haven’t RSVPd yet.

    Under no circumstances should you break out the B-list.
  • MobKaz and OurWildKingdom, thank you so much for responding. It's been such smooth sailing until this point that we're both starting to get a little anxious. I'll be patient and follow up with the no-shows! <3
  • O.k. First, you should have pushed back with your venue on such an early final count.  People don't know this far in advance if they can even get the day off in many professions!  That's why the 3-week RSVP.  

    Yes, you need to pick up the phone and ask people who haven't RSVP'd yet, annoying, but there's a lot to go around namely the insanely early date for the final count being due.  
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  • RSVPs are always the worst part! I don't think I got our D's final head count straight until about a week before the event because of all the stragglers. It was super nerve-wracking.

    I'd give the venue your best guess (and definitely push back on their absurd deadline.) Then, you can tweak it a little three weeks before. They're gonna accept your money no matter what. It's your event, not theirs!
  • Definitely don't contact your guests until the date has passed.

    I'd push back on your venue at this point too.    I'd actually question the practice and solvency of a location that does this.   Remember - YOU are paying them here.   So while they have their policies and practices you can negotiate.   

    I'll echo the others that I'd have a hard time being pressed into confirming my attendance for a weekday wedding so early.   Let this be a lesson for future event planning that one way to help avoid this frustration is to have a response date deadline that's far closer to the date of the event. 
  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I'll beat the dead horse, but I really want to echo the others that you should push back on the venue. Expecting people to RSVP 2-3 months in advance is absurd. 

    Forcing people to RSVP so early means you're going to end up with a lot of changes in the last minute. If a lot of people have to cancel, that means you're paying for a lot of plates that won't get made, or if you have a lot of additions, it means paying extra to bump up the catering. While I'm pretty sure the venue is insisting on a ridiculous RSVP for just this purpose, it's not ok. 
  • ILoveBeachMusicILoveBeachMusic Indiana member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I agree that you should push back on your venue! They really don't need that much advance time to buy for your reception. PPs have covered everything. Wait until your deadline has passed then call people to get a response from those from whom you haven't heard. It isn't at all unusual to have to do this. We were lucky with DD's wedding, we only had one person to call - I know unusual. Some of the last people we did hear from were the wedding party! I guess they thought they didn't have to reply but when they asked DD or now SIL they were told they did if they wanted to choose their entree! 
  • Thanks, everyone, for your input! My fiance wanted to start calling people up earlier this week but I told him to chill out and wait until the deadline has passed. I'm glad to see I'm not crazy for thinking my venue's deadline for a final head count is absurd! We're meeting with them the week of April 14th and I plan on letting them know how I feel about it; invitations have already been sent with RSVP cards printed with the response deadline so idk how much I can push back - but at the very least I'll let them know how weird and inconvenient it was! Maybe it'll save another bride a headache. On the one hand I absolutely wanted to give people enough time to arrange for time off - it is ridiculously hard to get to where we live: the nearest (real) airport is a four hour drive away and most people will be roadtripping it anyway rather than pay for both a flight and a rental car. But still, all that considered, I thought a 2.5 month advance notice is ridiculous and I feel vindicated in feeling that way lol. 
  • Even though you've already sent the invites, you can totally push back on the venue. Some of your guests will continue to ignore the RSVP deadline anyway, since they are unlikely to know whether they can even get the time off from work that early. Other stuff you can do is to be sure the space you've chosen can comfortably accommodate 100 percent of your guests and that they'll have enough chairs and tables to seat them all. Since you're using outside vendors for your other stuff, you can tell them your numbers directly once you know them. 
  • I would try to get an extension while you check on everyone. These days, it's more common for people to wait last minute like the previous post said. I'm guilty of it but your venue is being ridiculous about it. I'm also getting married the day after you, June 22nd and I don't need a head count until 10 days prior.
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