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When Guests Don't RSVP

Strategies for When Wedding Guests Don't Return RSVP Cards

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It's inevitable that some guests won't RSVP or return the reply card to your wedding invitation. But when your caterer is bugging you for final numbers, your mom is pestering you about the seating plan, and you're not sure if you'll have enough wedding favors, non-repliers can't be ignored! Here's the proper way to politely deal with the stragglers, without offending wedding etiquette:

A Simple Phone Call

It's always possible that their reply card got lost in the mail, or worse, lost in your house. So, the first thing is to do is call the offending party. Cheerfully and politely say, "Can you believe it's only two weeks until the wedding? We're so excited. Unfortunately, we don't seem to have your RSVP card, but we're so hoping you'll be there. Will you be able to attend?"

Often the Mother of the Bride or a Maid of Honor makes the phone calls for the couple, but the task can be assigned to whomever has the time and can handle it politely. If the person calling doesn't know the guest, simply say, "Hi, I'm calling on behalf of [names of the happy couple]. I'm so excited that it's only two weeks until their wedding. They asked me to follow up with you and see if you'll be able to be attend."

Know Your Drop-Dead RSVP Date

There's the RSVP date you print on your reply cards, and then there's the actual must know, drop dead date. Hopefully you've allowed a bit of time between the two. Consider when you must give final numbers to the caterer, finish your seating plan, or personalize seating cards, favors, or programs, if applicable.

If They Still Don't Respond

Sometimes guests – especially younger guests – don't understand the importance of an RSVP. They may not yet know their work schedule, or haven't figured out transportation. If you don't receive a firm answer to your first inquiry, there's nothing wrong with saying, "I hope you can let us know by Friday, as that's when we must give a final count to the caterer." If you still haven't heard by that drop-dead date, call them and say, "As I haven't heard from you, I'm assuming that you're not going to be able to make it. Let's get together and share pictures when we get back from the honeymoon!"

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