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  • Writer's pictureSara Ricke

Cracking the RSVP Code: Understanding the Dance of Wedding Invitations and Guest Responses

RSVP's --- they're kind of the elephant in the room. Any conversation getting close to the wedding is bound to have them mentioned. Lamented. Yep -- I think lamented is the perfect sentiment!

Here's the deal -- to a random person not in the throes of planning and executing a big event -- it is a random little antiquated detail. (Why do you even need RSVPs in this day and age?!?) And I can give you some insight to that mindset --- I was that gal just a few years ago. It is with A LOT of chagrin that I remember texting a family member a week or so before their wedding -- to let them know that we would be able to make it to their wedding! Yay! And I remember her 'joking' that we might need to sit on the roof. I chuckled. She chuckled. I had no idea. And I think she probably wanted to choke me. {I should send an apology coffee card I think!!}

So -- here's some insight to both sides of the coin. If you haven't given them a thought -- maybe this will help. If you're in the midst of the struggle -- maybe sharing this will get you some of the answers you need. At least you know you're not alone!

To the non-initiated RSVP's do seem a little random and not that important. Here's a little peek into the mindset...might not be everyone's train of thought - but I am certain that these things cross the mind! A -- you invited me so you are planning on me so if I can make it that is fine

B -- you invited me so you have room set up for me unless I've told you no

C -- you obviously know not everyone can make it, so you are already factoring that in

D -- in a large-scale event my 2-5 people don't really matter in the numbers

E -- I've mentioned to someone in the inner circle that I am/am not planning on it, I'm sure they passed that on

F -- I don't know how my month is going to shake out so I am hedging in case I might be able to make it

And on the other side -- here are a few reasons why RSVPs are wanted by the planners!

A -- not knowing increases their mental load leading up to the event as another unknown

B -- they have focused on the details, and you are more than 'just' a detail

C -- they have vendors asking for final counts for set up, food prep, staffing, etc.

D -- they are making seating charts

E -- they don't want a ton of extra empty place settings both for pictures (looks empty) and to utilize that space for mingling

F -- there are financial implications ( we'll cover that below!!)

The financial implications get their own paragraph? Yep - sure does. Because while talking about financials can seem kind of mercenary when talking about your wedding or special is a very real thing. It's not that the costs change that you budgeted for it and want your invitees to come. But you don't want to throw money out the window, right? Depending on your venue there can be additional charges 'per seating' for additional tables, chairs, place settings, coffee/water service, etc. And don't forget about the catering! Price ranges change by region and style but for example purposes we'll say that you are factoring $30 per person for happy hour snacks, meal and dessert. If you have an extra 50 people who have not responded, and you order for them...that is $1,500. For people who very well might already know they are not coming. If they are coming - money well spent for time with the people you love! If they are not, money that could be shifted towards another expense or saved since it is not going to be used!

I know, Right? You can sort of see both sides...and so what I'll leave you with is this advice.


Commit one way or the other. For the respondent it doesn't REALLY matter one way of the other -- pick one. For the requestor it matters. It is hanging over their head and stressing them out. Having their guests just PICK is such a relief and takes out the stress! So, hedge in their favor and relieve some of that stress when you can!

Sara <3

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