Some of my favourite posts to read have always been about invitation breakdowns. I always found them so entertaining and informative! So, I’m paying it forward. Without further ado, I give thee The Waterfall Invitation Breakdown! (I hope you read that last part in an ominous voice.)
If you recall, early on in the planning process, we butted heads with my parents about the guest list, because Mr. Waterfall and I wanted to keep things intimate while they basically wanted to invite the whole world. Honestly, the guest list was the bane of my existence for the last two years of my life. It created so much drama, and I just wanted to be done with it. There was a lot of compromising and negotiating, but also many a tantrum thrown. Hive, it’s never easy accepting money from someone, and trust me, there are always strings attached. Any time I refused to invite someone that they wanted, my parents pulled out the money card. It was awful, and to be fair, I didn’t really notice the extra people we invited to appease them, since I spent most of my time surrounded by the people who mattered to me, so in hindsight, I should have saved myself the headaches.
Before we go on, I’m gonna let you in on a little secret: we used a B-list. You see, we had a minimum of 150 people at our venue that we HAD to meet, but we also didn’t want to end up over-inviting and having to pay for 250 people, so we did rolling invites (basically a B and C list). I know the etiquette police are coming to get me, but it just made the most sense. We knew we had a lot of courtesy invites that needed to be sent out to people from out of town that probably wouldn’t be able make it, but you never know! So, we sent those invites out first, and would send out our local invites as the nos started trickling in. This way, nobody got offended and we were able to keep our numbers manageable.
Out of 233 invites sent, 159 were mine, 63 were Mr. Waterfall’s, and 11 were neutral (such as mutual friends and vendors). The initial breakdown looked like this:
This is a more detailed breakdown of who’s who. As you can see, a large part of my list were family friends, whereas Mr. W had many friends, but no family friends.
I know the list looks super one-sided; don’t worry, we knew a lot of my people would not be able to make it, whereas Mr. W’s list was all local. This is how our final numbers broke down:
When all was said and done, we invited 233 people, and ended up with 150 people exactly, a 64% attendance rate. As you can see, most of the negative RSVPs came from my side of the guest list, so things evened out in the end, though I still had a few more guests than Mr. W.
Since a large portion of our list was international, with guests coming from the States, Cuba, and even Europe, we were expecting a somewhat higher decline rate than the industry standard of 20%, but we actually had quite a few surprising nos that were really disheartening. Many people who had been very vocal about wanting to attend weren’t able to make it for different reasons, and it really bummed us out. Because of our high decline rate (36%), we actually had to extend a few last-minute invites in order to meet our minimum. Mostly, we did this by awarding a few extra plus-ones to people who had previously requested them, so again, no hurt feelings.
Even with all of this, we had guaranteed 150 adults, but had 150 people total, including a few children and five vendors, which were all supposed to be half price. So when I met with my venue coordinator the week before the wedding to give her our final numbers, I was able to negotiate a few upgrades for free, like a martini bar, to make up the price difference. If you’re in a situation where you’re struggling to meet your minimum, talk to your venue to see if they’re willing to upgrade you! In the end, everyone loved the martini bar, and we were able to spend lots of time on the dance floor with the people that were able to make it!
So there you have it, folks! The Waterfall RSVP Breakdown! What are everyone’s numbers looking like?
* All photos personal unless otherwise specified