How to Navigate 6 Common Wedding RSVP Issues

A wedding seating chart at a reception.

One of the most exciting parts of wedding planning is when you send out your invitations. This point in the process makes it feel like your big day is really happening. As your vision begins to come to life, you also await something very important from your guests: their RSVPs. Along with the waiting comes a range of possible issues. While they may leave some brides panicked, there are very simple ways to deal with these common guest RSVP problems.

People RSVP with Their Kids

A young boy and girl sitting on the floor at a wedding reception.

Many couples opt not to include children under a certain age in their big day. While this is totally understandable and quite common, many couples end up receiving RSVP cards back where guests have indicated they’ll be bringing their children—even if their names weren’t on the invitation.

This issue may be panic-inducing at first glance, but there are definitely ways to solve it. The best way is to simply communicate with the guest. Let them know that you’re so excited for them to be a part of your special day, but politely inform them that there was a mix-up and children are not included in the festivities. Let them know that you understand if the inability to include their children results in them not being able to come, and end the message or conversation on a positive note.

If you’re not willing to confront the guest and discuss the policy on kids at your wedding, then you’ll have to simply allow the kids to come. Alternatively, you can compromise with the guests and perhaps allow kids at the reception but not the ceremony. Do what you’re comfortable with, but remember that it’s your big day and you don’t have to explain your preferences for it to anyone.

People Don’t RSVP at All

There will definitely be people that you’re chasing down after the RSVP date to decipher whether they’re coming to your wedding or not. Unfortunately, this is an unavoidable issue. People are forgetful and sometimes downright inconsiderate! For those that don’t RSVP, give them a grace period of a few days past the RSVP date, perhaps even a week if possible. Then, contact them in whatever method is comfortable for you. Politely ask them if they’ll be attending your wedding and let them know that either way, you totally understand, but you need to give your venue the final headcount. Hopefully that will be enough to drag a final answer out of those stragglers!

Guests Don’t Fill in Their Name on the RSVP Card

Sometimes people fill out the RSVP cards in such a rush that they neglect to include some important information: their name. To avoid this frustrating issue, get ahead of it before your invitations go out the door. Number the back of each reply card (if you don’t want people to know you did so, you can even do it with invisible ink only to be revealed under a blacklight). Keep a spreadsheet with the name of each guest and their coordinating reply card number. Then, if a card comes back blank, you can simply look up the number on your handy spreadsheet. Crisis averted!

Guests Assume They Have a Plus One

Wedding guests sitting at a table eating during the reception.

You may not be giving each guest a plus one to your wedding, which is understandable. However, it’s possible for guests to assume they have one when they do not, and then RSVP accordingly. This can be an awkward situation, however, it does spur the need for a conversation with the guest and some transparent communication. Let them know that you’re trying to keep things intimate or that your venue can’t accommodate beyond a certain number of guests. Of course, stress how excited you are to share your special moment with them and always leave the conversation on a positive note.

People Bail at the Last Minute

Every wedding, for one reason or another, has people who decide at the last minute that they can’t attend. This can be frustrating, but it’s simply unavoidable. When this happens, immediately communicate the change in headcount to your venue to see if they can deduct from the catering order accordingly. If they can’t, you have to cut your losses and figure there will be some extra food to go around as a result!

People Decide at the Last Minute to Attend

This is the opposite issue from what’s discussed above but, nonetheless, it’s another problem that commonly happens with weddings. Since it’s pretty unavoidable as well, simply build a couple extra people into your guest list to account for this potential situation. Also have a few blank place cards on hand and build in some empty seats at a couple tables so that you can easily add last-minute additions onto your seating chart.

These issues can be rattling and downright annoying, but they’re all fixable and nothing to get too upset over when it comes to planning the most important day of your life!

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