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Is this common? (Vendor etiquette)

I ordered a wedding planning book of sorts way back when I first started planning.  It was written by two women who are/were wedding coordinators and it's one of those books to organize ideas as well as it outlines situations and how to handle things.

When it came to the food they said to give the final head count to the caterer a few ppl short (IE if 140 ppl RSVP "yes" tell them 135) to cushion yourself for the people who don't show up.  I know that it's to be expected that a few people won't show due to illness or other issues, so at $100/a plate it sounds tempting to do this as to not waste a few hundred dollars, but it seems unethical.  

Maybe I don't have enough business woman in me-did you short your head count a few ppl to save yourself any wasted money?

I'm especially tempted since about 15 guests being invited from FI's side are his parents older friends (like 80 yo) and "no-showed" at FI's brothers wedding a few years ago that was 25 minutes away in the afternoon...ours is an hour and later in the evening (late night driving).
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Re: Is this common? (Vendor etiquette)

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    I am planning on going a little under my final number, just because I know that some people won't end up showing.  I think most people will advise you against it though - just in case everyone ends up showing!
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    I wouldn't say its unethical, since if those people do show I guarantee your venue will know and you'll have to pay anyway. However, I'd be worried about not having enough food. I'd probably just give them the correct number. Last minute people and no-shows are just part of party planning IMO.
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    Ditto PP, just give them the number that RSVP "yes". Sh!t happens, it's part of planning a large event.
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    I gave our exact number, which is the number of people who showed up. I wouldn't mess around with numbers like that; I'd hate to end up not having enough food (or seats).
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    LuluP82LuluP82 member
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    Well for us, we had a guarantee due 10 days out,and then the day of, the actual number. We had 4 no shows (people who got sick and one got stuck at work and couldn't travel after all) so I do wish I'd guaranteed a bit lower...

    Since I'd gotten texts from everyone apologizing in the morning, the coordinator and my DOC could have probably adjusted up if I hadn't gotten any texts. This will only work if you have tables though. Like, if you have 8-10 person tables, and you make one a table of 8 for your guarantee, but know it's easy to add 2 chairs for the couple that does show, you'll be fine. But if you're doing this all yourself with no coordinators to do the work, and you dont' have flexibility on tables, then no, I wouldnt' do it, because it would be mega stressful to have to find a seat for grampa who did decide to drive the hour for your wedding after all.
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    I've heard that before, but I just don't see how it's possible. We did assigned tables, so unless you have a very specific idea about who isn't coming, how would you do the tables and seating?

    I guess techinically we could have, since our caterer was separate from our venue (so told the venue 120, but the caterer 116) but we just gave the real number. We had 4 people cancel last minute for illness or child care emergencies, and it was pretty annoying but what can you do?
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    mica178mica178 member
    5 Love Its First Anniversary First Comment
    I don't know how I could have "shorted" my venue with my numbers.  I had to tell the venue how many tables and how many seats per table, and they had my escort cards a few days in advance.  So they knew how many people I anticipated, which meant that I sucked up the cost of all of the no-shows.
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    Other ladies gave great advice. I'm still planning our wedding but I plan on giving the exact number.

    I'm commenting because I would flip if I had to pay $100/plate. Is that common for your area?
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    Wow, they put that in a wedding planning book?  BAD IDEA.  What if everyone shows?  Especially if it is a plated meal, how exactly does that work anyway?  We had assigned seating and we had to give that info to the venue so they knew how many seats to put at which tables.  So it would be quite an elaborate lie to take people out and it would end up screwing up the tables.  Granted we had a small wedding, so it would probably be less obvious if you have say 200 guests.  But still, I personally do think it is unethical and I woudln't do it.  What if all the guests do show up?  Then you guys are screwed.

    I know a lot of times there are no shows.  For us, we only had 2 people not show up and that was because a relative died and they had to travel for the funeral. 

    And if you think about what you might be "saving" in the scheme of what a wedding costs, it is so small, is it raelly worth the headaches that it might cause?
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    naomikbnaomikb member
    Combo Breaker First Comment
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_this-common-vendor-etiquette?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:15b9c896-70db-4648-8621-be89e107cbfaPost:df2f977f-e4a8-4ca0-9c75-722a3ba2f894">Re: Is this common? (Vendor etiquette)</a>:
    [QUOTE]Other ladies gave great advice. I'm still planning our wedding but I plan on giving the exact number. <strong>I'm commenting because I would flip if I had to pay $100/plate. Is that common for your area?</strong>
    Posted by midgetthemighty[/QUOTE]
    Not sure about OP's area but it's the norm where I am and in my social circle.  The places I looked at were mostly in the range of $100-$160 incl. all tax/tip.
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    That's crazy. I mean, what about the folks who will RSVP 'no' and then show up anyway? That will hopefully balance things out so your numbers will accurately reflect the people who will actually be there.
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    The stuff I have read on the same subject noted you should recude the number slightly at the very first contract discussion with the vendor.  Some vendors will require you to keep that as your minimum and if you confirm a number less than that at your final confirmation they may still use the initial estimated number since it is higher.  You should not short the number when it comes time for the final count the 2 weeks prior as it could effect all of the items you ladies noted above. 
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_this-common-vendor-etiquette?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:15b9c896-70db-4648-8621-be89e107cbfaPost:4eff941b-9ee5-4f94-8467-6488666124af">Re: Is this common? (Vendor etiquette)</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Is this common? (Vendor etiquette) : Not sure about OP's area but it's the norm where I am and in my social circle.  The places I looked at were mostly in the range of $100-$160 incl. all tax/tip.
    Posted by naomikb[/QUOTE]

    Wow that is absolutely insane! Our plates are $15 for the chicken and $17 for the beef per plate
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    naomikbnaomikb member
    Combo Breaker First Comment
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_this-common-vendor-etiquette?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:15b9c896-70db-4648-8621-be89e107cbfaPost:677b7b16-235f-471b-9dc5-f7d2684a3ca8">Re: Is this common? (Vendor etiquette)</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Is this common? (Vendor etiquette) : Wow that is absolutely insane! Our plates are $15 for the chicken and $17 for the beef per plate
    Posted by cbratthauer[/QUOTE]
    Ditto MilkDuds, venue pricing and quality and wedding style varies by area.

    Our per plate fee includes 4 courses (soup, salad, beef/salmon, dessert), late-night desserts and fruits and hot dogs, dishes and cutlery and glasses, open bar (wine, beer, liquor) for 8 hours and bartenders, tables and linens, wedding cake cutting, and room rental at a golf course club house.  I'm excited about it.
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_this-common-vendor-etiquette?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:15b9c896-70db-4648-8621-be89e107cbfaPost:e0ee396b-3bed-4e9e-a3e9-754579caef70">Re: Is this common? (Vendor etiquette)</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Is this common? (Vendor etiquette) : Prices vary a lot from one city to another and one venue to another.  I think its pretty rude to tell someone what they may be spending on their wedding is "absolutely insane."
    Posted by ILoveMilkDuds[/QUOTE]

    Sorry I definitely wasn't meaning it in a rude way and I didn't mean that they were absolutely insane for spending that on their wedding! I just didn't realize there was such a huge price difference, I mean I knew places were more expensive then here in rural Iowa I was just shocked.
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    LuluP82LuluP82 member
    First Comment
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_this-common-vendor-etiquette?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:15b9c896-70db-4648-8621-be89e107cbfaPost:a3d7e209-63d8-40e0-bd2c-e80a31fe444a">Re: Is this common? (Vendor etiquette)</a>:
    [QUOTE]Wow, they put that in a wedding planning book?  BAD IDEA.  What if everyone shows?  Especially if it is a plated meal, how exactly does that work anyway?  We had assigned seating and we had to give that info to the venue so they knew how many seats to put at which tables.  So it would be quite an elaborate lie to take people out and it would end up screwing up the tables.  Granted we had a small wedding, so it would probably be less obvious if you have say 200 guests.  But still, I personally do think it is unethical and I woudln't do it.  What if all the guests do show up?  Then you guys are screwed. I know a lot of times there are no shows.  For us, we only had 2 people not show up and that was because a relative died and they had to travel for the funeral.  And if you think about what you might be "saving" in the scheme of what a wedding costs, it is so small, is it raelly worth the headaches that it might cause?
    Posted by noodle_oo[/QUOTE]

    The coordinator told me to do it and she worked for the venue, so I'm guessing it's not that uncommon!

    Like I said, I think if you're bursting at the seams it won't work, but for us, we had tables that fit 8-10, so it would have been really easy to add people without it being weird. When we turned in our seating chart, we clearly had everyone who RSVPd yes on it, but we could had given a lower guarantee 2 weeks before. So, had everyone showed up, they would have had a seat and a meal and we would have paid for them, of course, since they do a headcount then too (like someone else mentioned, contract says the higher of the guarantee or the # actually there). We gave a guarantee of 60 2 weeks before. Then the week of, we upped the numbers to 65 as we had a few surprise RSVP changers. The day of, we ended up at 62. We had a plated meal-- they always have extras in case people change their minds the day of anyway. Or in case extra people just show up (surprise +1s, etc).
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