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Guests who are telling me they will be late but not sure how late...

My wedding is in less than 2 weeks and is occurring on a Friday evening.  Save-the-dates went out over 7 months ago, and invitations over 2 months ago (Since it’s on a Friday, I wanted guests to have enough time to make work accommodations).  In the last week, I’ve received emails from 2 of my fiancé’s cousins, explaining that their significant others will not be able to make it on time due to not getting work off, and aren’t sure if they will make it for dinner or not, but they will definitely be there eventually (they have all rsvp’d yes).  We are paying for the wedding ourselves, and went all out on the catering costs because food is important to us.  I need to tell the caterer our final numbers soon, and we have to finalize a seating chart for dinner, but how do I go about it with the possibility of having guests arrive at an unknown time?   My instinct is to not count them for dinner, but then what if they get there early and do not have a seat? Or if I do give them a seat, won’t it look awkward (like we had no-shows) if there are two randomly empty chairs if they arrive after dinner? Plus, I don't want to have to pay the high price per head for people who won't even make it. 

 

Thanks for your help!

-A stressed-out bride-to-be

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Re: Guests who are telling me they will be late but not sure how late...

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    Give them a seat and a meal.
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    Yes, that it what I will do. I guess I'm just feeling it is rude on their part and was hoping there was another solution. High road it is.  
    Thanks!
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    edited August 2013
    Tell them exactly what you said here, "The caterer needs our final numbers by ____. I need to let them know whether or not to have a meal prepared for you. Should we plan on you for dinner?" Don't accept "We don't know" as an answer. At $170 a pop for our wedding, I would not have accepted "welllllll we're not sure...." as an answer. No way. If they aren't sure, they should give you a safe "No" and plan on coming after dinner. 

    If you phrase it that way, the ball is in their court. Either way, you should provide seating for them. 
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    Nope- this is just what happens when you pick a Friday night, unfortunately. include them in the head count and hope they make it.
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    If you hadn't sent your invites so early, this might not have happened. People obviously didn't know their schedules that early. 

    Plan to have a seat and a meal for them. I'd also talk to your caterer about having food kept for them to eat, and brought out when they show up at a later point. 
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    My wedding is in less than 2 weeks and is occurring on a Friday evening.  Save-the-dates went out over 7 months ago, and invitations over 2 months ago (Since it’s on a Friday, I wanted guests to have enough time to make work accommodations).  In the last week, I’ve received emails from 2 of my fiancé’s cousins, explaining that their significant others will not be able to make it on time due to not getting work off, and aren’t sure if they will make it for dinner or not, but they will definitely be there eventually (they have all rsvp’d yes).  We are paying for the wedding ourselves, and went all out on the catering costs because food is important to us.  I need to tell the caterer our final numbers soon, and we have to finalize a seating chart for dinner, but how do I go about it with the possibility of having guests arrive at an unknown time?   My instinct is to not count them for dinner, but then what if they get there early and do not have a seat? Or if I do give them a seat, won’t it look awkward (like we had no-shows) if there are two randomly empty chairs if they arrive after dinner? Plus, I don't want to have to pay the high price per head for people who won't even make it. 

     

    Thanks for your help!

    -A stressed-out bride-to-be

    Please give them a seat and a meal. I had a family member who said their entire family of 5 would be late to our wedding since they were going to another wedding before ours and then coming. Last minute they changed their minds and only attended ours.
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    I agree with SouthernBelle. Having a wedding on a Friday doesn't invalidate an RSVP.

    Having said that, if they're late and miss the meal portion of the evening, can the venue still have their meal provided for them?
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    I agree with Simply Fated.  Try to get the venue to serve them when they get there.  You're paying for it so it should still be available for them!  That way everyone is happy!
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    Southernbelle is right; you should tell them when your caterer needs the final count by. I think it's incredibly rude of your guests to give you this type of RSVP, if you can even call it that. I understand they may not be able to make arrangements to attend, and that's fine. However, you still need to make arrangements to host them properly, and if they can't even give you an ETA, they're better off declining. 
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    Give them a seat & a meal.

    My fiance had to run late to a wedding once (as much as he tried, he HAD to work that day and then rushed to get home, showered, changed and meet me there).  It was greatly appreciated that the venue kept his dinner warm and brought it to him when he arrived.
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    scribe95 said:
    You just can't be mad about this. Sorry. It is the number one reason Friday weddings are problematic and you should've expected it would occur with several guests. I would count them and hope they make it for dinner.
    This exactly. Give them a seat and a meal. Yes, it sucks if they miss dinner, but it's part of planning a wedding. Everyone has no shows for one reason or another. 
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    If you hadn't sent your invites so early, this might not have happened. People obviously didn't know their schedules that early. 

    Plan to have a seat and a meal for them. I'd also talk to your caterer about having food kept for them to eat, and brought out when they show up at a later point. 
    I think the bolded is a little silly.  Giving people advance notice was the thoughtful thing to do here.  It takes minimal effort to ask to not be scheduled or to leave early on a future date for the vast majority of workers.  

    That said, I would ask them for a definite answer on whether they are going to be present for dinner.  I don't think it's unreasonable.  You need to have a seat for them either way.  Or if they will get there while people are still eating, maybe you can do as pp suggested and have meals held for them.

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    bullfrogmamabullfrogmama member
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    edited August 2013
    I just think it's never acceptable to plan to be late. I would tell them unless they give you a firm yes they will be on time for dinner, that you will mark them as a no and hope they can join for the party later.

    ETA: I am dealing with some of this same nonsense for my wedding. Which is in 5 days. Either you can make it or you can't... why is this so hard! So I feel your pain. ;)
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    everyone has said what I was going to say, I'm just confused why people feel the need to add in "we are paying for it ourselves".  How does that ever change the situation? 
    I always wonder this, too.  The only situation where who is paying matters is when there's a third party (usually parents) making requests/demands.
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    Having a Friday night or Tuesday night or Wednesday morning does not release your guests from their obligations to RSVP correctly and accurately. (That said, once you sent out STDates, you should have followed normal timelines for the invites). Also, the reception is the 'thank-you' to your guests for having attended your ceremony. People who do not attend the ceremony by their own choice do not get to attend the reception. That's not how this works. I would call the cousin and say, 'I absolutely must know definitively by X date that you will be attending the ceremony and reception or else I am marking you out as a no.' Invitations are non-negotiable and non-transferable. They invite a certain person or set of people to a specific event at a specific time on a specific date at a specific place. You can't change the terms of them (I want to show up late and have you keep dinner warm for me) to suit your needs.
    Yes but having a weekday wedding where people cannot take off the entire day or leave work early can make it difficult to RSVP accurately. 

    I agree with other posters to provide seats and a meal for these guests, and to talk to your venue and see if they can set these plates aside so that your guests can eat even if they show up late.

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    everyone has said what I was going to say, I'm just confused why people feel the need to add in "we are paying for it ourselves".  How does that ever change the situation? 

    Because it's fine to break the budget if it's someone else's money, OF COURSE.


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    My FI's cousin got married on a Friday and we couldn't get the day off work - so we told her we would come after the dinner since we didn't know based on traffic etc. if we would be able to make it for the dinner. Turns out we could have been there in time...but since we didn't know for sure and didn't want to stress her out we told her to count us out for the dinner...none of this "maybe we'll make it...maybe not" business. They need to RSVP yes or no...doesn't matter if it's a Friday or a Saturday wedding. 

    We had a lovely dinner at a local restaurant by ourselves since we were all dressed up anyways and then joined the party after. 
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    Treat them as though they will arrive on time, and have seats and meals available.  Don't worry about it further.
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    Regardless of if its a Friday night wedding or not. Your invitations and save the dates went out with more then enough notice for people to make the necessary schedule adjustments. It a bit rude of guest to tell the bride that they don't know if they will make the dinner or not IF they have already rsvp'ed yes. With so much on a girls mind it's probably the last thing this knot user needs to consider.

    IF this were a situation that I found myself in. I would let them know if they didn't let me know a solid yes then I won't be able to count them in for the dinner but a seat will be waiting for them if they end up making it. It's as simple as that. I feel like if a person or a couple REALLY wants to be a part of the celebration they will make it a priority.

    I had a friend who had 20 guest NOT show up after they rsvp'ed yes. Their meal (and the money) went to waste. They said it was because of the drive (they live pretty far from their friends - but not THAT far.) The bride was so bummed about it. Actually took away from all the awesomeness that was happening around her with the people who made it a priority to be a part of the couples wedding day.

    So I guess I think if you RSVP to an event. Show up...on time. Unless you have a ligament reason you couldn't or let the couple know ASAP.

    Hope it all works/worked out!
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    everyone has said what I was going to say, I'm just confused why people feel the need to add in "we are paying for it ourselves".  How does that ever change the situation? 

    Because it's fine to break the budget if it's someone else's money, OF COURSE.


    Um no they know exactly how much they can afford and should have planned accordingly by inviting the number of people they could afford instead of hoping people don't RSVP.

    I think you should save them a seat unless they definitively say they won't make dinner and they don't want food. If he's rushing from work, he probably won't eat and will be hungry. If he expects food and doesn't get any is more rememberable than including him and taking the hit in the pocket book...
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    Cindy9714 said:
    Regardless of if its a Friday night wedding or not. Your invitations and save the dates went out with more then enough notice for people to make the necessary schedule adjustments. It a bit rude of guest to tell the bride that they don't know if they will make the dinner or not IF they have already rsvp'ed yes. With so much on a girls mind it's probably the last thing this knot user needs to consider. IF this were a situation that I found myself in. I would let them know if they didn't let me know a solid yes then I won't be able to count them in for the dinner but a seat will be waiting for them if they end up making it. It's as simple as that. I feel like if a person or a couple REALLY wants to be a part of the celebration they will make it a priority. I had a friend who had 20 guest NOT show up after they rsvp'ed yes. Their meal (and the money) went to waste. They said it was because of the drive (they live pretty far from their friends - but not THAT far.) The bride was so bummed about it. Actually took away from all the awesomeness that was happening around her with the people who made it a priority to be a part of the couples wedding day. So I guess I think if you RSVP to an event. Show up...on time. Unless you have a ligament reason you couldn't or let the couple know ASAP. Hope it all works/worked out!
    Ligament reason?



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    Viczaesar said:
    Cindy9714 said:
    Regardless of if its a Friday night wedding or not. Your invitations and save the dates went out with more then enough notice for people to make the necessary schedule adjustments. It a bit rude of guest to tell the bride that they don't know if they will make the dinner or not IF they have already rsvp'ed yes. With so much on a girls mind it's probably the last thing this knot user needs to consider. IF this were a situation that I found myself in. I would let them know if they didn't let me know a solid yes then I won't be able to count them in for the dinner but a seat will be waiting for them if they end up making it. It's as simple as that. I feel like if a person or a couple REALLY wants to be a part of the celebration they will make it a priority. I had a friend who had 20 guest NOT show up after they rsvp'ed yes. Their meal (and the money) went to waste. They said it was because of the drive (they live pretty far from their friends - but not THAT far.) The bride was so bummed about it. Actually took away from all the awesomeness that was happening around her with the people who made it a priority to be a part of the couples wedding day. So I guess I think if you RSVP to an event. Show up...on time. Unless you have a ligament reason you couldn't or let the couple know ASAP. Hope it all works/worked out!
    Ligament reason?
    Does it matter which ligament? Does it have to be a big ligament, or can it be a little ligament?
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    Having a Friday night or Tuesday night or Wednesday morning does not release your guests from their obligations to RSVP correctly and accurately. (That said, once you sent out STDates, you should have followed normal timelines for the invites). Also, the reception is the 'thank-you' to your guests for having attended your ceremony. People who do not attend the ceremony by their own choice do not get to attend the reception. That's not how this works. I would call the cousin and say, 'I absolutely must know definitively by X date that you will be attending the ceremony and reception or else I am marking you out as a no.' Invitations are non-negotiable and non-transferable. They invite a certain person or set of people to a specific event at a specific time on a specific date at a specific place. You can't change the terms of them (I want to show up late and have you keep dinner warm for me) to suit your needs.

    Seriously? I know not all of our guests will be attending our ceremony. Does it bother me? Not really. They will be there at the reception to help us celebrate our day. Like PP said, how the hell are you going to be able to differentiate whether or not someone attended your ceremony that is at dinner?

    Its a Friday, you cannot expect everyone that says they will be at the dinner to be at the ceremony, it is not possible. People have to work.

    OP, leave them a seat.

     

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    I am having a similar situation with FIs cousin. She takes a once a month masters class that is an hour away from the wedding. She explained the whole situation to me and asked my advice on whether or not I should put them down for a meal.

    I said I would put them down for the meal and cross my fingers they will make it on time. She responded back saying not to put them down for the meal because it will stress her out to try to make it on time!

    So now I don't know what to do, she said her professor sometimes lets them out as early as 2 hours early, giving her plenty of time to now make it to the ceremony as well, but she wont know this until the day of. But what if that does happen (as I am hoping with my fingers crossed) and now they have no meal like she requested?!?!
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    I am having a similar situation with FIs cousin. She takes a once a month masters class that is an hour away from the wedding. She explained the whole situation to me and asked my advice on whether or not I should put them down for a meal.

    I said I would put them down for the meal and cross my fingers they will make it on time. She responded back saying not to put them down for the meal because it will stress her out to try to make it on time!

    So now I don't know what to do, she said her professor sometimes lets them out as early as 2 hours early, giving her plenty of time to now make it to the ceremony as well, but she wont know this until the day of. But what if that does happen (as I am hoping with my fingers crossed) and now they have no meal like she requested?!?!
    Make sure she has a meal.  If she doesn't get there on time, perhaps she can take it home with her.
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     I think there's a huge difference between not being able to make the ceremony and not wanting to go to the ceremony. I really get annoyed when people skip religious ceremonies for no reason other than "it's boring" (I have 2 acquaintances who don't attend Catholic ceremonies as a rule, they just go to the reception). Same goes for bar/bat mitzvahs - my mom always made me go to the service if I wanted to go to the party, but many kids just went to the party. I'd have no issue with guests coming to the reception if they really couldn't make the ceremony, which it sounds like is what's happening with OPs friends.

    That aside, I do agree that it's important each of these people have a meal and a seat, unless they give you an actual time of arrival (aka, dinner is at 6, they get off work at 7 and plan on getting there at 7:30). But I'm a sucker for pleasing people, so I'd probably have a meal for them anyway.

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