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Open Thread: RSVP Drama


Tears shed over scraps of paper

by Meg Keene, Editor-In-Chief

Open Thread: RSVP Drama | A Practical Wedding

When we got engaged, I had a list of things I was worried about. I’m nobody’s fool, and I didn’t expect wedding planning to be a walk in the park. (I uh, had no idea exactly how un-park-like it would be, but I’ve documented that pretty thoroughly.) I was worried about stress over budgets, and bridesmaid dresses, and parental expectations. But there were a few parts of wedding planning that I cordoned off in my head as magical. Like the early engagement period. And receiving RSVPs. So maybe I am somebody’s fool, after all.

We had a long engagement. At eighteen months, it’s the one thing about wedding planning that I can decisively say I would change, looking back. But as we neared the end of that year and a half period, I figured we were heading into the good times. Creating our invitations had been my happy spot in planning, and I couldn’t wait for those blissful late spring days when we’d sit in our (briefly, suddenly) warm San Francisco apartment, and sort through the mail. We’d have a flurry of RSVP cards, with little notes, cute drawings, and other visible evidence of love. On those warm afternoons, all the borderline hell of planning a wedding we couldn’t quite afford would finally feel worth it.

Right.

(At this point, I feel like I need to put in a spoiler alert to remind you that our wedding was, in fact, pretty magical. But that magic did not extend to my afternoons sorting through blank RSVP cards.)

What I mostly remember about the RSVP period, other than frantically trying to get in touch with people who just. didn’t. respond., was the tears. Because I was so excited by the loving notes we’d get, we sent beautiful blank RSVP postcards, with tiny boxes at the bottom where you could mark the number of meals you needed, or didn’t need. And then the RSVP cards started landing in the mailbox. Blank. In fact, they were often blank with a little “0” marked under number of meals, with no signature, and no return address. (Thank the good Lord I was experienced enough with events to have placed a tiny penciled number on each RSVP card, allowing me to balefully check off exactly which rude person would not be attending our celebration.)

Every single person we invited to our wedding, we invited with a reason. Either we loved them and wanted them to be there, or one of our parents really wanted them to be there (given that they had smaller invite lists than we did), or we loved them and wanted to at least honor them with an invitation even if we knew they couldn’t attend. While we knew only a portion of our guests would be able to come, we cared about each invitation that we handcrafted and sent out. And when a good chunk of responses didn’t show any thought, let alone thoughtfulness, I was crushed.

There is a moral here, somewhere. There is the fact that I carefully saved all of the loving and thoughtful responses. (My grandmother’s response with a Piglet stamp, and a formally worded acceptance, lives on my office bulletin board.) There is the reality that the people that you need to be at your wedding somehow end up being the ones that show up and witness your love, and they are the ones who knit themselves into your community that day. There is the knowledge that love matters more in the end than thoughtlessness. Then, there is the fact that we really need to start teaching (written, formal) manners again, FFS.

But in the moment, none of that made the RSVP process easier for me. At the time, I wanted to know that I was normal. That I wasn’t the only person in the history of time crying over guests that I loved that couldn’t attend, or raging over guests that were flat out rude about non-attendance, or dealing with drama over various other RSVP problems. Or, holy fuck, being insanely frustrated over people who just didn’t RSVP.

I want to say that, with that experience under my belt, I never screw up now. I do, obviously, all the time. But I try these days. Hard. I try to always squash a little love note on my RSVP card, particularly when I can’t make it. I try to make everyone know just how grateful I am to be invited to their wedding (even if I forget to buy a gift till the day before). I know that being invited is an honor, and planning is tough, and a bunch of cards saying no can be hard—even if they’re expected.

today, I’m opening the floor to you. What is your RSVP drama? What secret crying have you been longing to have normalized? Which part of wedding planning is slowly killing you, even though you never saw it coming?

Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. Her first book, A Practical Wedding: Creative Solutions for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration, was published in January 2012, and has been a top three bestseller on the wedding bookshelf ever since. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in Oakland, CA with her husband and son. For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit MegKeene.com.

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  • Cbrown

    I think the uncertainty is the hard bit. We’re getting married in October and keeping things small. It’s a transatlantic flight for most of my friends and I really have no idea how many we’ll end up with. My excel spreadsheet (with percentage likelihoods says 61) but frankly, I haven’t got a clue.

    • Lawyerette510

      I think for travel like that, letting people know far in advance, and staying in touch with them about their thoughts will help you have a good idea. Good luck!

  • Anon

    We’re getting married in 25 days, and have officially hit the stage where some sh*t starts to hit the fan. However, I am so appreciative that RSVPs were not a headache/heartache for us – because I can understand how disappointing that process could be. We were fortunate enough to receive responses from all 150 invited guests before the RSVP date, no one sent back blank cards, and no one unexpectedly said he or she couldn’t make it. I was so impressed by our friends and family, not to mention grateful.

    • Jamie

      I was not adequately grateful to be in the exact same situation as you until I read this post. Thank you, APW!. And cheers to 5/31/2014 :)

    • Anon

      This is a MIRACLE!

      • Anon

        I know. I was nearly crying in my office today over other stupid wedding stuff, and then this thread popped up. And I thought, man, this is one aspect of wedding planning that went super well and I should just suck it up over the other stupid wedding stuff that has me down today.

  • A

    I am overwhelmingly grateful for the responses that we got to our wedding, and that they arrived (almost exclusively) in a timely manner. However, I do find myself wishing we had a few notes, particularly from my partner’s family, explaining why some of them can’t make it. I feel bad about feeling this way because they are all adults with their own lives and they really don’t owe us an explanation, nor is it really any of my business why they aren’t coming, but I am a little hurt on his behalf. Every single aunt, uncle, and cousin on my side of the family is coming (20+ people); none of his aunts, uncles, or cousins are attending, leaving my partner with one sibling and his family, two parents, two grandparents, and two godparents to love and be proud of him on this day. I can’t help thinking this is because they’ve already seen him married once, so this second wedding isn’t as much of a priority. I wish I could call them up and say, “You know he really wishes you could be there, right?” Sigh. Like Meg, I will try to remember to send a little note on RSVPs that I have to decline in the future. It really does matter.

    • Amy March

      Eh, I would never explain why I’m not coming in an RSVP. I just think it’s rude to tell someone what specific thing you care about more than their wedding. And, I can see how making it to see someone make a lifetime commitment. Again. Is lower priority.

      • ART

        In some cases, I’ve appreciated it, in other’s it’s been like yeah, you definitely decided to go to something else that day, not sure I needed that detail.

      • Bethany

        I can see both sides of this. We got a few with legit notes, like “I’m moving this weekend because I just got accepted to teach in Israel starting in August and that’s the only weekend I could move” and “My brother is getting married that day!” but we also got a couple with notes that were actually kind of upsetting and (unintentionally, I’m sure) hurtful. My cousin for one, is missing my wedding because it’s the same day as her 8-year-old daughter’s dance recital. While we’re not super close now, she is one of only three cousins on that side of my family, and we grew up pretty close. Rightly or wrongly, I’m a little sore that an 8 year old’s dance recital (of which she will likely have many, many more before she stops dancing) took precedence over this huge thing that is a massive highlight of my life so far (insert guilt over selfishness that I know I’m sort of kind of but not really entitled to). All I’m saying is that sometimes, ignorance is bliss and helps ward off resentment.

      • ML

        I think it depends how close you are, but if this marriage is important to someone important to you, it shouldn’t be a lower priority. And even if it is, there are more gracious ways to say “sorry, I can’t make it!” than just not saying anything.

        • JDrives

          As a future bride to a second-time groom, I’d feel very insulted and sad for my fiancé if anyone opted not to come to our wedding because it’s not as “high of a priority” as the first one. As if that has any bearing on the importance of our celebration and commitment to each other.

      • ElisabethJoanne

        The original piece mentions manners, and my 1950s and earlier etiquette guides say that “a prior commitment” is an acceptable reason for declining a formal invitation.

        Personally, I see RSVP cards as just things to tally. If I’m close to the principals of the wedding and want to elaborate on my response, I contact them another way.

    • Maggie

      I don’t know if it’s comforting or not, but the standard used to be that you did not explain why you couldn’t come — you simply “regretted exceedingly that you were unable to accept”. The nice thing about this is that you get the same response from the acquaintance who had a prior engagement, and from people with less-kind reasons (“it’s her second wedding,” “she didn’t invite me to her Christmas buffet,” “I don’t believe in marriage,”). I mean, I’m not deluding myself that the RSVP cards I got that were totally blank except for a check mark next to the “no” box were actually intended to conform to any standard of etiquette, old-fashioned or otherwise. But still, helpful perspective, maybe.

    • lady brett

      nearly the only notes we got with our rsvps (as well as the only gifts we got by mail) were from family who were religiously offended by the gay. i’m assuming it had something to do with assuaging guilt. anyhow, it put a different perspective on the blank ones (yes or no) ;)

      • Mezza

        Fascinating. I had the opposite thing happen. We got some lovely notes from people who had to decline but wanted to make it REALLY CLEAR that it was not about the gay, but then my family who were religiously offended mostly didn’t bother to RSVP at all (one cousin managed to check the “no” box on the website).

  • Juliet

    Our wedding is in October, and I was planning to do RSVP’s all online. Has anyone had any experience with this? It makes the most sense for us for several reasons, but I’m a little worried about some older relatives not being tech savvy enough to manage, and possibly thinking it’s tacky. Thoughts?

    • Amy March

      Just take those worries as a given. Some guests will not be able to figure out how to work your online RSVP. Others will think it is tacky. Is that okay with you? Worst case, some people think you’re tacky and you have to make a few extra phone calls.

    • Acres_Wild

      I wouldn’t be worried about tackiness, but you might have to devote a little more time than you otherwise would to making sure people do it right. A friend of mine is in the process of receiving online RSVPs right now, and she’s had to field a number of calls and emails from people who can’t figure it out for whatever reason. For older or non-tech-savvy guests, you may want to just send a traditional paper RSVP card and enter their RSVPs online yourself. It can be a really useful tool, though, and if you think a majority of your guests will be comfortable with it, I think you should go for it!

      • Mezza

        THIS. We sent paper invitations directing everyone to RSVP at our wedding website and ALSO providing a phone number (Google Voice). Maybe it’s the site we used (Appy Couple, for the record), but basically zero of our guests managed to RSVP properly online – most ended up creating duplicate listings of themselves and/or getting fed up and just telling us they were/weren’t coming. This included friends in their 20s and also my IT-manager father. But if you don’t mind doing some manual cleanup of the online list, it’s fine. We weren’t really bothered and none of the guests seemed to be either.

        • Lisa

          Now you’ve got me nervous because we’re planning to do our RSVPs through Appy Couple. I was hoping it would be fairly intuitive and that we could save money/the environment at the same time…

          • Mezza

            The trick is that the person has to enter their name exactly the same way you did. So if you invite “Robert J. Smith” and he tries to RSVP as “Bob Smith,” you’ll end up with a list that looks like Robert J. Smith hasn’t replied and Bob Smith has added himself. We just changed everyone’s real entries to reflect their duplicate RSVPs and deleted the new entries.

          • Lisa

            I think that’s something I can live with. I have quite a bit of downtime at my day job. :)

            And I think it might have been you who told me that you could send deadline reminders through Appy Couple? I’m trying to track down e-mail addresses now so I can make that happen!

          • Lawyerette510

            Yes, it will send reminders if you have the email of the person in there. If you want, I’ll send you an “invite” to our wedding via appycouple and you can test drive the RSVP. Our numbers are finalized at this point (6 days to go!!!!)

          • Lisa

            That would be awesome! I’m glad to hear you didn’t have any issue. My e-mail is l i s a . r u n i o n at gmail. Thank you!!

          • Lawyerette510

            Great! I sent it, so you can delete this comment if you want to protect your privacy!

          • Lisa

            Fantastic! I just responded to you. That was much easier than I thought it was going to be after reading the comments!

          • Lisa

            And congratulations!! :)

          • Lawyerette510

            Thanks! I’m finally feeling mainly happy and excited and have gotten over the worry that our wedding will suck and no one will have fun.

          • Lisa

            Um, I saw “Sunday Eve Fiesta” and got excited. Things can only be awesome when you have Mexican food + s’mores. If the before is that fun, I’m sure the wedding will be beautiful!

          • Lawyerette510

            Oh thanks! I have this thing with parties where I freak myself out that no one will have a good time. I keep doing that to my self for the wedding, but yet I’m all pumped for the night before because the food should be delicious, (they’re making the tortillas fresh onsite and the mole and salsas are made from scratch), I’ve perfected my batch margarita recipe to make ahead of time, I’ve got Three Amigos the movie to be projected on the background, and 6 different kinds of chocolate bars for the s’mores bar (plus three kinds of marshmallows!). That said, I am starting to give into the excitement for wedding day as well, now that the playlist is finalized and the seating charts are nearly done.

          • http://alifeworthwritingdown.blogspot.ca/ Jules

            That sounds AMAZING. How could your guests not have a good time with all that awesomeness going on?

          • Lawyerette510

            We used Appy Couple and had very little issue, actually we only had one person out of 50 duplicate herself.

        • Nina B

          My best friends used Appy Couple…. it was ridiculously difficult to figure out how to RSVP and I’m only 28 years old. There’s no hope for the over-60 crowd.

    • Megan

      I have no experience with this, but my only wonder about online RSVPs is if there’s a lower return-by-the-deadline rate? I know with the online RSVP for one invitation I got this year, since there wasn’t a physical thing to sit on my counter for a couple weeks and finally fill out and return, I forgot about RSVPing for awhile. (Although I still made the deadline, phew!)

      • Lawyerette510

        I think that’s a good point, we sent a postcard invite with the website and vague details (we had less than 90 days between choosing the venue and having the wedding, so we wanted to get those out as a quasi-save-the-date/ invite right away, and didn’t have some of the time etc figured out when we sent them). That said, we did have the RSVP deadline, so we put it on there, so people could have that physical reminder.

    • Flan

      We used Glosite for our RSVPs, and had an excellent response rate, including our 87 year old grandparents, who were delighted to RSVP online! It was also very easy to send reminders through the website, and for us to go in an manually log people we talked to. We got lots of positive comments about doing it online, but it also fit easily into the feel of our wedding.

      • Cbrown

        Agreed. We’re using glosite and if someone tells us they’re coming, we update it for them. Makes it easy to track the multitude of dietary requirements as well.

    • Ellen

      We’re figuring out right now whether we’ll do online or paper RSVPs (invites will be paper), and in the process I’ve spoken to my cousin who did paper invites/online RSVPs a couple of years ago (presumably meaning folks were somewhat less savvy). At any rate, he and his now-wife had a 100% on-time response rate for a ~150 person wedding and were very happy. His brother got married last summer, using paper RSVPs (for a wedding that was probably ~250-300) and had to chase lots of folks down. The online RSVP couple used weddingchannel.com, which I think has become the Knot, for their entire website process and were quite happy with it (I, as a person who RSVP’ed, was also happy). Honestly, the website piece is the big reason we’re hesitant to do it online. We already have a non-Knot site, and I’ve found it somewhat tricky to get Google forms to do what I want.

    • Tennymo

      We used paperlesspost for our wedding invites, and sent one paper invitation to my grandparents. It worked just fine. I mean, there were a few people who neglected to rsvp, but are all these comments indicate, that’s not just an “online thing.” No one mentioned having any issues with the technology.

      • dearabbyp

        We did Paperless Post for Save The Dates and I was hoping to see someone else using them for invites… any tips or tricks? We got 100% to open the STD and most people gave us a mailing address but now I’m thinking we just go online all the way.

    • Lindsey d.

      We used NearlyWeds from Wedding Paper Divas for our online RSVPs and it worked well. I’d say we got 80% of our RSVPs (about 80 invations sent to 130 people) on time. A couple of people RSVPed twice since they couldn’t remember, but it was impossible to send a blank RSVP, which was a bonus.

      A few people either are luddites without computers/internet access (grandparents and an aunt), but we talk with them often enough that they RSVPed directly to us. A few couldn’t figure out our slightly complicated web address and we got RSVPs for them either in person or by word of mouth (through my brother’s wife for her dad and stepmom, for instance). In the end, there were maybe 4-5 people we had to track down last minute for their RSVPs. I’d go that route again, frankly….

    • Meg Keene

      Look. Anything that will actually GET people to RSVP is good in my book. Someone might think it’s tacky, but you’re going to think it’s tacky when they don’t RSVP at all, so you’re even.

    • Faith

      We used the RSVP tool on our weddingwire website and it has been GREAT! We sent out paper invitations but didn’t want paper reply cards. I have had 0 people come to me with questions about how to do it. It is so simple. And it has the added bonus that people can only RSVP for themselves and the people in their party and they can’t write in any +1’s. Even the older crowd totally got it. It’s been amazing. We were missing about 30-40% of our RSVPs by the deadline but then it was super easy to send a quick friendly email to everyone (bcc-ed of course) with the direct link – I think we probably got about 50 RSVPs withing 24 hours of sending out that reminder email.

    • Nina B

      We’re using WeddingWire (hooray free!). So far people seem to be able to figure it out pretty well. We did mail paper invitations to everyone over 60 years old but some of them have done the online response too. I like that you guests find their name and it also lists everyone in their household who is invited so it says “Joe Schmoe accepts or declines and Joe’s guest accepts or declines”. You can also put in a box for people to leave comments when they’re responding (which maybe makes it more obvious that comments are welcome than just a blank card).

      • Lizzy

        I’m using wedding wire too, and so far, it’s been great! I love all the little notes I’ve been getting!

    • ElisabethJoanne

      As a guest, I couldn’t figure out my cousin’s online RSVP system hosted by TheKn*t. I tried a few ways of entering the names, but it still didn’t have a record of us. It said the system would send the couple an email. I don’t know how hard it was to manage on her end.

      She also included paper RSVPs, which we also returned. (Recent bride trying to be an excellent wedding guest and all.)

    • Anne

      We did both online and paper and it worked well for us. I would have preferred to do them all online (so much savings on paper and postage!) but my Mom had a fit because she thought it was tacky. I’m picking my battles and that isn’t one I wanted to fight.

      Most of our guests RSVP’d on paper, but we did have a few online, and the online form was great for reminding those who didn’t respond (“Just fill out the form at this link!”).

      For the record, we used a website and a form we built ourselves using WordPress. It just sent us an email when we got a form response and I’d add it manually to my Google doc of RSVPs.

    • Maddie Eisenhart

      We used online RSVP’s nearly five years ago and I was surprised how many people responded (of our 250-person invite list it was…a lot.) That said, we also put our phone number somewhere on the respond card so that older folks could call me. I think I maybe got…three phone calls? Most people were down with hopping online.

    • Kelsey

      I used weddingwire to catch the majority of my RSVPs, but I also set up a Google voice account, should people have problems with the website. Only about 5 people RSVP’d by phone, but they were all people who had problems with the website (for various reasons. Lack of internet, misspelled names on my end, and website bugs among them).

  • Stephanie B.

    I looked forward to getting RSVP cards, because our guest list was so small that we knew that virtually everyone would be there, so, like you we expected RSVP cards to come back with little notes of excitement and love. And, like you, I was quite disappointed at the cards that came back with just a name scribbled on the fill-in-the-blank line.

    “Thank the good Lord I was experienced enough with events to have placed a tiny penciled number on each RSVP card”

    This totally saved my bacon on a few RSVP cards with no identifying mark other than a checkmark indicating yes. I’m sure I read it here, because this was pretty much the only wedding blog I read. So thank you! (Among the offenders was my own dad, who was so excited that he returned the RSVP card immediately…but didn’t put his name on it!)

    My brother, who was the officiant, didn’t return his RSVP card at all. (When I gave him grief about it, he protested: “But you KNEW I’d be there!”)

  • Ella

    Omg yes. It’s amazing how people just don’t think. We printed their return address on the return envelopes for the RSVPs — SO GLAD we did that. It was super easy to do….we just ran them through our printer. My now-hubby set up the Excel document and just had our printer whiz away for about an hour. Saved us a ton of time and headache tracking people down when we inevitably received “anonymous” responses.

    Now, for those that don’t respond at all….or cancel 3 DAYS BEFORE BECAUSE IT’S THEIR “GIRLFRIEND’S BIRTHDAY” even though she was invited too (and declined), well, there’s a special place in hell for those people.

    • Meg Keene

      Or didn’t show because “MAN that was a crazy day.” WHAT? By crazy, I hope you mean you were in the hospital, since I spent hundreds of dollars on food for you and the guests you invited yourself that I was too polite to decline, not to even mention my damn emotions.

      • Ann

        My BIL drove his wife’s car into their house the morning of our wedding reception (which was at 6pm, in the same town). They did not attend, though they could have (house+car were basically okay, and they had 2 other cars). Not sure where that falls on the “good excuse” list.

        • ElisabethJoanne

          A big family missed our ceremony because there car was stolen the day of our wedding. They made it to the reception, though.

          • http://www.smittenchickens.com/ Sarah Hoppes

            I missed the wedding of one of my best friends/college roommate because we were stuck in traffic driving overnight from NYC to Ohio, and then our car broke down. And after a lot of sobbing, crawling on the ground in a party dress, and waiting for a tow truck, we still made it to their reception!

      • Eh

        We had ten people no show for our reception – four (plus one toddler) were my BIL and his family (due to a family feud – my MIL wanted to tell people that “something came up” so they couldn’t make it because she’s about appearances, I said that if I heard that the brother of the groom and his family didn’t come because “something came up” I would expect that something serious happened like a death in the family), two were an elderly couple-one of whom just had surgery that week (totally understandable), one was a university student who had an exam (we were told less than a week before even though she knew for over a month), and the other three (including two people who invited themselves, and a friend of my MIL) just didn’t both to show up – no explanation. That was almost 15% of our confirmed guests.

      • http://www.moxiebrightevents.com Renee @ Moxie Bright Events

        We had four people no-show to our Philly wedding. Their reason: It’s too far a drive from New Jersey. WTF? They JUST decided they didn’t want to drive? But just four weeks earlier, they were game? When they RSVP’d that they were coming? So bizarre!

    • jashshea

      Luckily wedding zen had already crept in when I got the last batch of “yeah, will be there if she can find a ride”-type responses. Are you joking?!

    • JenClaireM

      A friend of my husband’s canceled the MORNING OF the wedding, just sent an email saying “sorry, I’m not going to make it” and nothing else. No explanation – then or ever. I’m still pissed about it.

      • http://www.moxiebrightevents.com Renee @ Moxie Bright Events

        Is your husband still friends with him? I always wonder about the friendships in the aftermath of wedding rudeness.

        • JenClaireM

          Her. And yes, although they’ve only seen each other once. It didn’t bother him as much as it did me (which was true of many of the challenging things from our wedding).

    • Kat Robertson

      Ooh, I had a family no show because one of their kids “just really wanted to go to her friend’s birthday party”. I am trying hard to not still be mad about that one, especially since they never said anything to us and we heard their reason second hand. This was after they ignored multiple messages asking for RSVPs in the first place, both for the wedding itself and the bridal shower. I’m trying not to hold on to resentment about it, but their actions really have damaged my friendship with them. I just don’t trust them to consider my feelings anymore.

      • Lawyerette510

        I know it’s hard to communicate about, but I feel like for family, not talking about it means that the wound festers. I mean a friend you can phase out, but family you’re probably going to have to see again (and again and again).

        Also, this is a ridiculously shitty thing that they did. Sorry you went through that.

        • Kat Robertson

          That’s true, and this situation is awkward because it’s friends and not family, but it’s friends from my very small workplace. So, there isn’t family level closeness, but they’re people I need to deal with very regularly, plus the work dynamic makes it harder to bring up personal problems. It’s a hard one to navigate. I think it may be a case of changing the boundaries of the relationship – I can choose not to be resentful or nasty toward them, but I probably won’t be including them in any big life events in the future.

    • http://rebeccaharmon.blogspot.com/ Rebecca Harmon

      YES! I had to contact at least half of our guest list because they didn’t RESPOND AT ALL! Now our wedding day is 10 days away and I’ve had a couple people change their minds and now they are coming after all!! It’s like people don’t understand that we’re paying PER PERSON!!! This has made me so angry!

  • Kristen

    I have a question. When should you start contacting people about sending in their RSVPs? We’re 8 days from the deadline (deadline is May 14th, wedding is June 14th) and we’re still missing almost a third of our RSVPs.

    • Ella

      I waited until a few days after. Though it doesn’t hurt to check in sooner. Two people actually had their invitation lost in the mail, so I’m glad I checked in when I did because they didn’t get a save-the-date, either! They legitimately had to make a decision to come (out of state) in less than 4 weeks.

    • ART

      Our deadline is May 20. In a few days, I’m planning to do a quick reminder email and also give some “troubleshooting” options like Didn’t get the invitation? oh no! We’ll send a replacement… Sent the RSVP already? Maybe it’s lost in the mail – just let us know by email, whoops! Etc.

      • ART

        and I should say that we sent our invitations in February because there’s a ton of travel involved, so they’ve had a long time already!

    • Amy March

      Mailbox rule: 3 dats after they were due, since they’re still on time if they drop them in a post box that day.

    • Erin

      We’re getting married on June 15th! Our deadline is at the end of the month, which may have been a mistake…but, our saving grace is that the hotel blocks, with their limited window for discounted rates, are set to expire very soon. So, after I finish this next paper, I’ll be sending out reminders, under the guise of “the hotel block is about to expire, and speaking of, how ’bout that little stamped RSVP card?”

      • jashshea

        I had a cousin not respond at all to the STD or mailed invite, then text me 5 days before the wedding to tell me that the hotel block had expired. Um, no shit?

      • Mezza

        That’s helpful of you! I missed the hotel block window for a destination-ish wedding because the deadline wasn’t listed anywhere, which led to a rather desperate hunt for a room in sold-out fall-foliage Vermont a month before the wedding. It would have been great to get a reminder for the hotel.

    • Lauren

      i don’t think that it’s too soon to inquire. people sometimes forget. i chose to make my then fiance ask his friends and had my mom and dad ask their relatives (many of whom were terrible about rsvp-ing).

      • Lauren

        i think i started doing this about a month after i sent invites. soo.. we sent them on feb 14 for our april 18 wedding. we asked for a response by march 28. i probably started having people ask around the week of march-teenth.

    • Bethany

      We waited three or four days after ours were due (May 1 for a June 7 wedding … I liked the roundness of May 1). I’ve had a few where I accidentally “jumped the gun” and sent an email only to get home from work, check the mail and see the little white card in the box.

      ALSO, the best tip I ever got, which I’m using now and loving it, is DELEGATE. Is it his cousin who’s delinquent? Make him call. Is it your mom’s sister who hasn’t responded? Make her call. I got to the point with a few who I knew would never respond where I just said, just let me know over text message/email/voicemail if you’re coming and what you’d like for dinner, here are your options. You’d be surprised how many people lose those little buggers and are embarrassed/forget to tell you.

    • Peekayla

      I got asked, via my Mom, if I had sent back my RSVP to my cousin’s wedding about 2 weeks after I received the invitation. I think I had another month until it was actually due.

    • Jess

      Fact: I was IN a wedding for which I never received an invitation. It must have gotten lost in the mail. Never once did the bride contact me to ask why I hadn’t RSVP’d, and I felt really rude when she mentioned that it had bothered her. I thought maybe they didn’t order enough invitations and since I was in the wedding, they assumed I didn’t need one (no idea why that made sense in my head at the time)?

      So, sometimes that happens and I would totally recommend sending something out to everyone to double check/remind them.

      • ART

        Isn’t it funny what makes sense in your head and then COMPLETELY OFFENDS someone else? oh man, am I going through that right now. :/

        • Jess

          Erg. I do that all the time. Or I say something and I’m offended by what I said. Like, I’ll say something and be like, “Wow, that came out not at all how I intended it. Now I’m mean.”

          • ART

            I really want to tell my new in-laws that from this point forward, if it seems like I’m being mean, PLEASE assume I’m unintentionally being a moron, not intentionally being a jerk.

          • Jess

            Ha, I should make a sign. “I’m sorry I’m stressed and socially unaware right now. I really do care about you and do not mean to cause harm. Please accept my offer of noise-cancelling headphones until all of this blows over.”

      • ElisabethJoanne

        FWIW, my 1950s etiquette books say that if a couple is cutting back on invitation costs, bridesmaids are the first to cut out (’cause they don’t really need it, and they’re young so less likely to be offended at the informality). Of course, today, you’re hardly going to save a significant amount of money that way.

        • Jess

          Maybe that’s why I figured that was what happened! 1950’s etiquette must be hardwired to my brain!

        • Lawyerette510

          Yes, I feel like, if I’m in your wedding, and you know I’m in your wedding, and I have my dress, and my hair appointment and all the other pieces, you know I’m coming, so save a tree and don’t send me an invite, and really, do you need me to send the postcard back, because you know I’m coming. (That said, when I’ve gotten one, I ask the bride if she wants me to return it. Out of the 10 times I received an invite and was a bridesmaid, only 2 times has the bride wanted the actual RSVP).

          • Stephanie B.

            Here is where I admit that I gave my brother, who was our officiant, grief for not returning his RSVP card (“You KNEW I would be there!” he said, and rightly so). But it was good-natured sibling grief, not actual offended how-dare-you! grief.

          • Lawyerette510

            Well sibling grief doesn’t count– that’s anything goes for sure! :)

    • Meg Keene

      You should wait till (a few days after) the deadline. That’s what it’s for, in theory.

    • Courtney Kelsch

      We’re also getting married June 14th, also have a May 14th deadline, and are also missing a third of our RSVPs. So: solidarity! :-) I’m guessing (hoping) that we’ve got some procrastinators on our hands and the responses are going to start pouring in next week. Either way, I’m going to wait until after the deadline to start contacting people, because being tracked down for a response when you’re not actually late yet feels crappy. I had that happen a few months ago for a baby shower I was invited to, and I felt bad and a little defensive, like “Hey, I’m not late! I still have a week and a half to call!” So, there’s that.

    • Meg

      Hi June 14th buddy :)

      • MisterEHolmes

        Triplets! Though our RSVP date is May 20, so I hope that’s enough time!

        • Meg

          I don’t know shit yet, but I bet it’ll be enough time :)

    • Lawyerette510

      If you’re using a website and have email, then I think a reminder is nice about a week before hand. Otherwise, if it’s a matter of calling or emailing people individually, I think you start the day after the deadline.

    • Kristen

      Thanks, guys–I guess I’ll just have to be patient for another week :). I actually counted, and 37 of the 89 people invited still haven’t responded–so it’s actually more like half haven’t responded yet. Wish me luck!

  • Ann

    My mom dealt with most of the RSVP drama for my wedding, since she organized the bigger reception. She was pissed at all the non responses–even more so that they were from people her age and older, who she thought would know better. She complained and complained to me, and I think it helped a lot to have someone who would just listen and say “Yes, that person is terribly rude. I will join you in holding this grudge.” We also had 10 no shows (RSVP-ed “yes”) at a party of 80, which she was even more livid about (my parents paid). They were almost all friends of my in laws, who were added to the guest list late because my MIL had invited them verbally and insisted that my mother send proper invitations (all invites on my side were family. My family is huge and my in laws tiny. I think my MIL wanted to “even the numbers” and invited a bunch of friends, some of whom had never even met my husband). There’s still a strain on my mom’s relationship with my MIL a year later.

    For the actual wedding, the guest list was so tiny, that we basically did all the of the planning by talking to each person individually. Practical when you need to talk to ~15 people. Impractical with 50+.

    (Those RSVP cards had room on the back for notes, but basically no one wrote them. I did have friends who wrote in “YES!” by “Will be there in person” and then also wrote “Of course!” by “Will be there in spirit.” They further added the note of “We wouldn’t want to leave our spirits at home! We’d be no fun without them.” My mom LOVED that note, and I think it’s still on her bulletin board.)

    • Meg Keene

      I can’t talk about my feelings on paying for people who RSVP yes and don’t show. It’s the only time in wedding planning where I really wanted to send people a bill. Like, “OH. You decided day of not to show? Maybe you can just pay me this $300 I shelled out for you.”

      That is generally the opposite of how I feel about weddings. But dear God in heaven, we did not have extra money, and spending loads of it on no shows made me wanted to stab people in the eye. Not till days after the wedding, I was super Zen the day of. But a week after, I was a little stabby on the subject. Still kinda am, actually :)

      • Ann

        It being a wedding reception, I don’t think my mom had any wedding zen… and yes, she is still stabby, too….

        On the bright side, a few of our 20 something guy friends asked the waiters for the food for the no shows. The waiters checked with the manager, and then brought out all the food that would have gone to the no shows. My mom’s resentment didn’t really abate after I told her that because it was all about the principle of the thing–she felt it was deeply rude and inconsiderate. Particularly after she had had to order extra invitations to accommodate the late invites.

        • http://batman-news.com jbryant6

          My dad is stabby about this too. Luckily we did a BBQ buffet, so we were able to pack up all the leftovers and send them with friends and family who had been super helpful throughout the day! We actually ate some of the leftovers this weekend when we got back from our honeymoon, and it was still delicious. So silver lining, I guess :)

          • jashshea

            We had to have our final # to the caterer before we had all the info from the “lazy” RSVP’ers, so I fudged the number up by 7 or so. Then another 10 or so didn’t show. It pisses me off to no end that my parents paid for that! Luckily my dad was super zen about the extra food/cost (and most of the food was donated).

          • JSwen

            I am going to employ a friend to smack me any time I start counting heads at my wedding. I do not want to even think about that stuff because at that point, the money is gone!

          • Meg Keene

            You don’t realize then. You realize later. Then you’re like WHUT? WHUT?

          • http://batman-news.com jbryant6

            What Meg said! You don’t notice the people who aren’t there in the moment, you are too wrapped up in all the awesomeness that is your wedding day. It’s later when you and your now-spouse talk about who was there and you look at each and ask, “Hey, did you see Family Friend who RSVPed for 6?” that you realize who all didn’t come. It sucks, but hey, YOU JUST GOT MARRIED so who cares? At least that’s what I’m telling myself!

  • Katie*

    What timing! I very nearly submitted a post to “Tween” month about this issue. My good friend from high school, who I am not as close with these days, was not given a +1, but thought she had one and is bringing a friend of hers.

    My dad’s friend, who I don’t know well, was invited without a plus one. He has a couple of marriages and many girlfriends under his belt. But of course he RSVP’d with the name of his latest girlfriend.

    In the big picture, we can handle these additions. But it makes me feel like folks don’t respect my decisions as we’ve gone through the planning process.

    • Acres_Wild

      Have you called/emailed and asked them to please not bring the extra person? You could blame it on space/money issues. If it’s not worth it to you to have the small confrontation, that’s totally understandable – but if it’s bothering you, I bet they’d be fine coming alone if you brought it up.

      • Katie*

        I am so torn on this. Fortunately, I think my dad understands my frustration (I nixed 5 couples he wanted to invite, so he’s glad I didn’t nix all of his friends). And the guy’s girlfriend is actually someone I’ve met before. As for my old friend… she’s just lonely. And while she will know other people there, I think she’ll still be lonely. So giving her a +1 isn’t the worst thing. And again, I’ve met this person once before, so that’s some comfort.

        Thank God for my partner, who is rolling with this despite not wanting any crowd at the wedding at all.

      • ANWB

        We actually did this…I had a friend from high school who I’m not at all close with these days RSVP with a +1 and explained to her that, unfortunately, I could not make exceptions due to our budget/space constraints being tight…she ended up declining to attend even though our high school people from our circle would be in attendance without guests. And we haven’t spoken since. Oh well.

        Had to explain the same thing to one of the hub’s high school buds and it wasn’t the end of the world. Totally understood.

        I guess I don’t have any wisdom to impart here. Just my experiences.

        • Katie*

          Thank you! I wonder if we’ll get more of these, and then I will feel more willing to ask them to reconsider. Great perspective.

          • Laura C

            I got a message from a friend asking if her boyfriend was invited, and I had to admit that I hadn’t realized she had a that-level boyfriend. Which she probably didn’t at the time I made the list, and then we happened to go several months without much in-depth communication. And by the time she was asking, the answer was “oh, crap, I didn’t realize he existed, and now our guest list is a horror show, so if you’re making a weekend trip of it, he’s totally invited to the Friday night pre-party and the Sunday brunch and I really, really hope the RSVPs shake out so that he can be invited to the wedding itself, but I just don’t know…”

            And she was super gracious about it and I do feel bad, because it was such a fluke that I didn’t really know about him.

          • ElisabethJoanne

            I sent a few “and baby” invitations where the baby was due between making the guest list and the RSVP deadline.

    • Jules

      I have to second this…talk to her! If anything…learn how to say no graciously? It sounds like the gf of the dad’s friend could at least sit this out…

      Some people don’t know wedding etiquette and make wrong assumptions without trying to be rude. And it works the other way too. I was invited to a wedding once where I wasn’t sure if my boyfriend of ~6mos was invited too, and I asked my close friend who has a BF of ~2.5 years, and his name wasn’t on the invite either. BUT it was also a pretty casual wedding and they were “of course!” invited. So in that case it was just that the bride and groom hadn’t included ANYONE’S guest’s names.

      And then there was the wedding where they didn’t take RSVPs at all and also never sent thank you notes for the present that we sent in advance. Hmph.

      • Alyssa M

        Yeah I kinda blame Hollywood for some of the rando guest invites. The number of sitcoms where the character has to find a last minute date for this wedding make weddings seem like a bring a date kind of event. Um, no. It’s not a party or a dance. It’s a by invitation only, wedding.

        Attended a wedding recently where the Groom’s little brother was *surprised* when the Bride wasn’t happy he brought an uninvited date he picked up the night before. And he wanted her to sit at the head table with him. *wompwomp*

  • Laura C

    This is where I admit that it’s never really occurred to me to put a note on an RSVP card. I’m just proud if I get them into the mail on time. So it’s come as a bit of a surprise to get a few that did have notes on them.

    I remembered reading, presumably here, about the dangers of blank RSVP cards, so we just put names on them, because the whole numbers and keeping track of which number is which person felt complicated. Also putting names on felt like another subtle way to underline that people don’t get to bring whoever they want.

    Anyway, we are still at the point where we’re mostly getting yeses, because it’s early days. So we really, really want to start getting some nos, lest we have more people than we can actually have.

    • MisterEHolmes

      I did names, too, tiny and near the postage stamp. One relatively recent bride drew an arrow to it and her note was “I see what you did there!” Lol

      • Laura C

        I was blatant. Just on the response line, boom. Now you don’t need to fill out your name, how’s that for service? :)

        • EmilyRose

          This was my policy too – just write their names out for them on the response line on the RSVP card. I also have a weird pet peeve about people writing the names of the guests on the actual invite (reminds me of children’s birthday parties) so that was also our way of letting the guests know who was actually invited rather than scribbling their names all over our lovely expensive letterpress invites.

    • Katie*

      Oh man we should have done this! Probably would have been logistically more difficult with our printer, but what a brilliant move.

    • Anne

      The notes were my favorite! One of my bridesmaids drew hearts all over the card, and lots of people sent their well wishes. I especially loved hearing from those who couldn’t make it, letting us know they were sorry they couldn’t come but they were so excited for us. It made their “No” so much softer. I’ll always be RSVPing with a note for future events.

      • Hayley

        Same! Getting “no’s” with a sweet message made me cringe about all the times I have sent back a simple no, not even thinking I could/should write anything else. Now, I will always write a little message.

      • Guest

        My bridesmaid wrote “excited” all round the edge and drew little lovehearts, it made my day! I’m always going to write notes now too!

        • EmilyRose

          I’ve made a right mess of this, I accidentally posted a million photos and posted as a guest! Technology, argh.

    • JSwen

      My fiance’s older sister drew our dogs on the back of the RSVP… I think she’s secretly more excited to see our dogs than our wedding. :)

      • ElisabethJoanne

        My sisters’ favorite part of my wedding was meeting our baby cousin.

        • JSwen

          I guess it just goes to show that your wedding really is more important to you than anyone else. :)

        • swarmofbees

          I am almost more excited to meet my nephew the week of the wedding than to get married. I already met the FI, traveled with him, etc. I have yet to meet this wonderful new little person.

      • Alyssa M

        Are you my future sister in law using a time machine? LOL I haven’t even gotten a save-the-date (let alone an RSVP card to send back) for my little brother’s November wedding yet… but I’m always ridiculously excited to see their dogs. Their puppy Baxter is one of my favorite family members lol.

  • Anonymous

    OMG yes. I organized a baby shower a couple years ago and was really shocked at people’s inability to respond to RSVP requests. I sent hand-written invitations with clear instructions to RSVP to me, not to the mother-to-be, who was totally overwhelmed and didn’t want to be involved in planning. I didn’t hear from over half of the invitees, so I assumed they weren’t coming – but almost all of them came to the party, so I was totally unprepared fro the number of people who came. It turned out that some of them had RSVPed to the mother (despite clear instructions not to do so) and some just never RSVPed at all.

    I am now super diligent about promptly RSVPing to anything i receive a paper invitation to. (I try to reply to email invites too, but sometimes they get buried…) Thanks for the tip about including little love notes – I think I’ll start doing that too!

  • Amanda

    THE RSVPs. Have absolutely sucked. Like my sister, texting my mom that “oh she can’t come” with no explanation whatsoever. And the complete radio silence from others, like grandparents who haven’t said one way or another if they’ll be there, even though we’re getting married NEXT FRIDAY. I’m upset and hurt and pissed the hell off because what happened to manners? Ugh. Thanks for a place to rant. We’re down to details now that I’m actually enjoying, like assembling favors (s’mores!), which is nice because I’ve hated most parts of the planning process.

    • Meg Keene

      OMG. I’m so sorry. And… I… feel you. The worst is when people imply that if you’d just been more careful with your invitations and had a smaller wedding none of this would have happened (like other people’s bad behavior is your fault.) And you’re like “YEAH. I SHOULDN’T HAVE INVITED MY SISTER.” Or whatever.

      • Amanda

        I…wish that were the worst of it. As it currently stands, there will be absolutely no one in attendance who is blood related to almost-husband. It breaks my damn heart and there’s nothing I can do about it. His own grandmother won’t return our calls. His mom is busy trying to put his (wonderful) stepfather in jail. God knows what excuse his dad has. IS THIS OVER YET? Seriously, why could these people not have waited until June to lose their shit?

        • JSwen

          My friends got married and had a similar-ish situation. His side of the family is huge and the only people who came were his sister (w/ her 2 year old) and a great aunt. For what it is worth, they knew parts of his family weren’t coming so they made the wedding all about friends – and her family understood why they did it that way.

          • Meg Keene

            Yeah. I think in those (awful) situations, you have to focus on what you do have.

          • Amanda

            Fortunately, he does have many (many many) good friends who will be at our reception. (Small court house ceremony does not allow for all of them to attend. Which I’m now feeling guilty over but I asked MULTIPLE times if we should just invite them anyway and the answer was always no.) It just sucks, man.

          • JSwen

            Maybe some of those very good friends would love to take the place of those very bad family at your ceremony? Last minute requests are generally understandable when the reason is out of your control. The good friends might rise to the occasion!

  • Sarah

    I actually can’t believe how zen I was about the RSVP process. It stung to get the “no” responses and it was annoying and unsettling to get no response at all, but we planned ahead for it I suppose. We knew there would be people who couldn’t come and we knew we’d be sad. So we’d let ourselves be disappointed then we’d look at who WAS coming. We also knew there would be people who would never RSVP, people who would say Yes and then not come, or say No and come, or unexpectedly bring a guest. We just decided to be ok with that, paid for an extra table and food for unexpected people who showed up (there were a few) and chose not to be upset when a handful of “yes” people didn’t show. I’d rather plan for losing out on the money or have a backup for extra people than worry about it on the day of the wedding. And of course both happened. No, the numbers/prices didn’t even out – we were probably out a couple hundred bucks and had some empty seats – but I couldn’t even tell you anymore who it was or how much it cost. I just remember walking down the aisle and seeing my loved ones and exclaiming through tears, “everyone is here!” I am glad I didn’t let myself obsess over who came, who didn’t, and who was polite about it. It’s easier said than done of course. But it can be done.

    • Anon

      I wish I was as big of a person as you, and that I didn’t remember those who were rude. My husband’s close friend said he couldn’t come, but then two weeks out, he said he could, then insisted on bringing his girlfriend (of a few months). The big day, neither of them showed up, because they got the date wrong or something like that. We are all still friends now, but I can’t say I’ll ever forget that happened and how it made us feel. I admire your attitude though, because you’re right that in the end it doesn’t matter. We still felt loved on our wedding day, and all is well now.

      • Sarah

        We decided not to get too upset, but we still remember. Maybe I should say that we decided not to let it bother us as it related to our wedding day and the planning process, but it still affected our relationships with people who we felt let us down. We didn’t worry so much about “well so-and-so is going to cost us an extra $100″ or “oh no we don’t have enough chairs” but that doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt our feelings when it was a close friend or family. I think your feelings are totally justified (assuming the person really didn’t have a good excuse)

      • JSwen

        Um… you get the Big Person award for staying friends with those people. That would be very hard for me!

  • Candace Armstrong

    I totally didn’t expect wedding planning to also mean you were opening yourself up to what feels like CONSTANT criticism. Yes, there are a few things we are doing differently that I expected raised eyebrows (no bridal party, online invitations – because I knew dealing with RSVP cards was one thing I had NO desire to do). I also knew there would be tons of opinions about things. But I didn’t expect for it to feel so personal Even my fiance, who is wonderful, helpful and grateful for me doing so much for our wedding criticized the way I (make that, WE) had done something, and being a wonderfully sane person, I responded “WELL, NOW I KNOW TO DO IT DIFFERENTLY FOR MY NEXT WEDDING.” Thankfully, it made us both laugh.

    YAY, WEDDING PLANNING, FUN!

    • Megan

      I am totally going to steal that response–hilarious. Thanks for the laugh :) And total agreement on the feeling of constant criticism. Through the process I know my MIL isn’t criticizing things, but it always feels like the questions she asks have a pre-determined answer that she hopes I’ll respond with. Luckily it’s been awhile since there’s been anything to talk about, but with a couple of visits coming up I’m sure this feeling will start to come back to me.

      • Candace Armstrong

        Oh, yes! I’m familiar with MIL non-criticism criticism. You feel it when they say things like “Oh!” or “That’s an interesting way to do things.”

        • Megan

          Or getting really specific and asking to make sure you’re not going to do what they definitely don’t like like “Are you going to wear a birdcage veil?”

    • Erin

      Hilarious! I love your response! I might have to tuck that one away.

    • http://www.kandisebrown.com/ Kandise Brown

      Yes! I haven’t gotten to RSVPs yet, but in the sense of my planning, everything is going fantastically; we’re getting our first choice everything and it’s decently within budget target and miracles! rainbows! (except one vendor is a complete asshole, but we’re dealing).

      So what I did NOT expect was the family members who critique and question every.little.detail and “are you sure” and “what if?” and “don’t forget!” I’m a wedding photographer. I’ve probably been to more weddings than all of them combined, and like, recently. I know how weddings work! Shut up!

    • AG

      My wedding was a week and a half ago and my MIL’s new favorite game is “What would you do differently?” Um, we don’t get a mulligan.

      • Candace Armstrong

        Okay, this made me laugh REALLY hard. It’s over, let it go, lady!!

      • mackenzie

        That was my mom’s favorite game. Except it started the day after the wedding, and sounded a lot like, “Did you notice that xxxxxx didn’t go right?” Yes, I did. Thanks for rubbing it in. Can’t you please just tell me it was a perfect day and be done with it?

    • Meg

      Oh god I’ve found there is no wedding detail too small for ME TO BE WRONG ABOUT

    • Emily

      Feeling that criticism too, yuck!

      When I modeled my wedding dress for my mom over the weekend, she was very focused on what was wrong with the fit or my bra or something, rather than sharing in my excitement about the pretty thing, and telling me I looked pretty in it. Last time I spoke with her, she offered to take 360-degree photos of me in it so I can see what it looks like from different angles. WHY? I don’t know! There must be some reason for that suggestion, but she wouldn’t share.
      NEXT weekend, we have an outing planned to visit the wedding venue, since she hasn’t seen it yet. I am not looking forward to hearing about whatever she finds wrong with it. I’m totally happy with the choices I’ve made, maybe I need to just not share them if I’m not open to feedback?

      • Candace Armstrong

        360 degree photos?!!? No thanks!! And I love that now she’s not telling you why! It totally depends on your relationship with your mother, but sometimes you just have to tell people “I’m happy to show you the space, but since this is a done deal, I’d only like constructive feedback, such as ideas for how to arrange the space, etc.” But sometimes you just gotta let Mom be mom!

        I feel very similarly – I’m happy with all of the decisions we’ve made thus far, but it’s still no fun when people pick at them. I have a twitter friend who keeps telling me #YourDayYourWay. It’s become my mantra. Not in some insane “It’s my day, so everyone do what I want!!” manner, but rather a needed reminder that it is OUR wedding and that actually DOES count for something.

        • Emily

          I told her I can take my own pictures, my camera has a timer thingy. I think she (a smoker) probably won’t enjoy how it’s an outdoor venue, but they restrict smoking to the parking lot. Not sure what else there might be to pick at, but we’ll find out! Yay!

          • Heather

            Oh the smoking issue. My fiance and I had to talk thru this issue this weekend because we are really concerned our guests won’t respect the designated smoking area and I will be mortified if they throw cigarette buts on the beach. ugh!

        • Anon

          It sounds like mom is being critical, and maybe for no real reason, but that doesn’t mean the photo idea is bad. Just get someone else to take them (or use your timer, though I think you will get better results more easily of you have someone else do it).

          I took 360 degree photos and recommend it to everyone. And move around for them too. It is great to know how things will look from all sides so you don’t have to deal with surprises or anxiety.

          • Emily

            I took a front, back and side shot, and wasn’t too surprised by anything. So that’s good. Now that I’ve got the dress nailed down, it’s going to take some discipline not to want to try it on every day! :D

      • ART

        ack. I showed my mom my dress for the first time this weekend, and while her response was overall totally positive, she COULD NOT stop adjusting the straps and trying to come up with a new way to tie the sash, even though I told her that *I designed and made the dress* and the design was for it to tie in a bow at the back. It bugged me in the same way it bugs me that she comments on whether or not my face/skin looks clear every time she sees me, like even when she says “your face looks really good/clear!” I’m like, dude, I’m almost 30, really don’t need the running commentary on my pimples, thanks. MOMS!

      • Natalie Wright

        I’m having similar issues with my mother. She doesn’t like online save-the-dates, or online rsvp system, or that we want casual takeout dinner rather than catered, or that I’m doing a potluck dessert instead of cake, or thinks the flower girl basket I like best will be too big for the flower girl (seriously. We argued about the size of a damn basket for a 4-year-old for 5 solid minutes in Micheal’s). I took her to see the venue yesterday, and was soooo worried about all the things she would find wrong with it. But she gasped when she saw it and when she could speak again, only had gushing, nice things to say about how wonderful it was, then started tearing up when I walked the garden path I will take as my grand bridal entrance. I’m holding on to that memory for as long as I can, through all of her other “suggestions” and opinions.

    • JSwen

      Oh boy. Yes, just last week I had the “you said it was ok WHEN WE MADE THE DECISION TWO WEEKS AGO!” talk with my fiance. Turns out he was just sharing anxiety over it but of course it came off like, “we shouldn’t have made that decision and I don’t want to deal with my family’s reaction.” Grrrreat…

      Glad you guys can laugh about it! Hopefully we will be soon!

      • Candace Armstrong

        That’s actually very similar what happened to us! He was being reactive to his family’s overreaction. It’s so nice to find ppl in similar situations.

  • Allison

    My RSVP Drama is actually Delegation Drama. I read somewhere (probably here) early on that delegating is a great way to help with the stress. And people have been more than willing to take things on and have even volunteered from the get-go. The only thing is that it seems like most of the things I delegate… don’t happen? Or at least not when I would have expected them to happen by. I try to manage my expectations, trust people and of course communicate, but it has still been a serious struggle between needing to get things done and not completely annoying the people I love. Any advice on this one?

    • Bethany

      So, what I have been struggling with personally is the difference between my speed at getting things done, and the speed with which things *actually* need to get done. I am a list-checker-offer. I am super task oriented and like to get shit done when I want to get it done. Delegating is really a lesson in patience and trust. If they’re moving at a speed where they’re not creating problems, then I’d say, let it go for now. But, if they’re not getting the results you need when you absolutely need them, then I’d say, you need to take the job back over or alert them to the timeline and the significance of the deadline (like, if I don’t have the count, we won’t have enough food for them).

      • Allison

        This is exactly exactly exactly my problem I think. I am just ready for things to be done. But I don’t want to take them back because that seems, I don’t know… kind of mean. Or definitely not very trusting. It’s just one of those things that it’s good to hear someone else also feels because, man do I ever feel like an awful person for wanting the people who are offering to do nice things for me to do the nice things faster.

        • Hannah B

          The curse of being type-A….I feel you. I’ve ended up delegating only what I don’t super care about (like flowers at the church). Maybe when push comes to shove I will be roping people in like mad, who knows.

      • Amanda

        I am also a list-checker-offer. What I’ve found to help is delegate with guidelines. For example, the rehearsal dinner. It is going to be catered in the party room of my FIL’s condo complex. I did the legwork on picking out the things that needed to be rented and got the menu from the restaurant and suggested entrees. Then I handed that all over to his parents and said you take it from here to make the orders, confirm the deliveries and set it all up.

  • Maggie

    APW! You have a platform! A series about how to handle written social correspondence would be excellent.

    I know the old-school third person wording (Ms. Smith and Mr. Watson accept with pleasure the kind etc) seems fussy, but it’s actually so practical! It obviates the need for the various “we’ve saved __ seats for you” things, which can still leave you not knowing the names of some guests.

    I tried and tried to come up with a RSVP card design and wording that would head off all the possible unfortunates: surprise guests being written in, blank cards lacking the relevant information, lack of clarity about whether one half of a couple could come but not the other, etc. etc. And it was just not possible. You can’t contingency-proof for rudeness.

    I typed a whole long other rant, but basically, yeah, time for an etiquette refresher.

    • Acres_Wild

      Laughed at “you can’t contingency-proof for rudeness” – so true! I can devise a system that nobody will be able to misunderstand, but that doesn’t account for the people who will just choose to do it wrong. e.g. Writing in more names/numbers to the RSVP card. Who would think that’s ok?!

    • ElisabethJoanne

      My family was once invited to a bar mitzvah where the RSVP cards were just blank note cards. I wrote out the proper formal response – and the hosts couldn’t understand it. They had to ask my mom next time they saw her in person.

    • Meg Keene

      “You can’t contingency-proof for rudeness.” Indeed. That will be the one written in note you do get “I’m brining my friend Jon and his two dogs!” RAD.

      I love the old fashioned third person wording. If only people would… use it.

      • http://batman-news.com jbryant6

        I got a written in note that said “Bringing my mom and two nieces”. And then none of them ended up coming…

        • Meg Keene

          Why is it that the people that take it upon themselves to invite the biggest number of (previously uninvited) guests are the ones that don’t show up? ALWAYS.

          I think, if they don’t respect the importance/ cost/ whatever of an invite in the first place, they probably are not going to respect it at the end either, is what.

          • http://batman-news.com jbryant6

            The worst part? He was a groomsmen. We’d planned on him and his big party of family, and then he announced immediately after the ceremony that he couldn’t come to the reception. So not only did we waste money on dinner and drinks for them, our pictures are all lopsided because he wasn’t there for most of them. Still can’t really believe that happened!

          • http://www.therewm.com/ Rachel W. Miller

            This is the second story I’ve heard this week of a member of the bridal party leaving before the reception. WHY IS THIS HAPPENING!?!

          • Hayley

            “I think, if they don’t respect the importance/ cost/ whatever of an
            invite in the first place, they probably are not going to respect it at
            the end either, is what.” THIS. I also wonder if any of this is regional. People are accustomed to massive weddings where my husband is from, and I was surprised how many no shows or last minute cancellations we had, because where I am from, if you’ve said you’re going, you’re just…going, short of a major, serious emergency.

        • http://rebeccaharmon.blogspot.com/ Rebecca Harmon

          We have several single people on our guest list who aren’t in relationships, so we didn’t include +1’s on their invitation. Unfortunately, it seems that NO ONE understands wedding etiquette and every single one of those people is bringing a +1. We now have way more people coming to the wedding than we were expecting and about $1,000 over on the food budget!

          • Anne

            I was recently on the other side of this situation, as a guest. My BFF from college didn’t include my boyfriend of 5 years on the invitation (ie no names, no “we have reserved 2 seats”) but when I asked her if he was invited she seemed bothered by the question, even though she said “Yes of course he’s invited”. Should I have handled it differently?

          • http://rebeccaharmon.blogspot.com/ Rebecca Harmon

            I think you handled that pretty well! I only had one person ask me if she could bring a date. She said she realized that the invitation was only addressed to her, but she had just started a serious relationship and wanted to bring her SO. She also offered to pay for cost of the additional person. I told her not to worry about the cost. I was just happy that she asked instead of just assuming that she could bring a date (like most of our guests did).

          • Anne

            I can’t imagine bringing someone without asking. What would you do when everyone’s name is written out on little cards with their table numbers, and all of the seats at your table are clearly set out for other people?!? I would rather sink into a hole in the ground.

          • Brooke

            This was like my big (unintentional) wedding etiquette flub. I was a bridesmaid for my best friend’s wedding in college, and of course at the time we were all young and didn’t know much about how weddings work. I thought it was a little strange that my very serious boyfriend wasn’t invited, and talked to another close friend/bridesmaid about whether she thought the bride just didn’t know/didn’t think about the fact that I might want him there, or if not inviting him was intentional. Of course, the other bridesmaid went to the bride and just flat-out said “Brooke want to bring Luke to the wedding,” and the bride said of course Luke was welcome to come (maybe she didn’t understand invitation wording and thought it was assumed?) but to this day I don’t know if she was just being nice/felt confronted and trapped, or whether it really was just an oversight. It’s been almost 10 years now, I should probably just ask her. ;)

          • Anon just in case!

            See I’ve been afraid on the other side though too – like when wedding invites seem so informal that I worry I’m RSVPing no (because of the lack of a +1) when these seem to be people who wouldn’t think of that issue… Clearly all the people who continually ignore the lack of “& guest” on their invite might not be thinking about it in regards to their own weddings either? Anyway, it was just too far away to drive to by myself and on a weekend there were already other plans in place that were going to require a lot of logistical nightmares, but the boyfriend was willing to do so, but I wasn’t willing to do all that for me to have to go by myself! So I’m fine with it, and not upset at the couple at all, there’s just a tiny part of me that really really wants to know out of curiosity if they meant to only invite me, or if they just didn’t address the invites right.

      • Maggie

        Sigh, if only. I am actually really glad we don’t all live in an Edith Wharton novel — but in this *one small way* I wish we did.

    • ART

      I am past this point and have already offended everyone I’m going to offend with any invite/RSVP wording, but I think that would be a great post/series. I was really awkward about guests bringing people and kind of just didn’t say anything and decided to live with the consequences (people wrote in guests and I’m OK with that), but I wish in some cases I had specifically said “and your person” when that person isn’t a spouse, fiance/e, or live-in partner, but is obviously important to my guest and therefore obviously (in my mind) invited. I’m afraid that may not have been obvious from the invitation, in hindsight, and had to ask my mom to contact at least one person and say “so and so is totally invited even though the invite was just addressed to you.” ugh.

      Also, my fiance just got an invitation with only his name on it, even though we are engaged, do live together, and I have met the couple. He wrote in my name…to our thinking, a fiance/spouse/live-in partner is not a “+1″ – if you don’t have room for a committed couple, you don’t have room for just one of them. Some etiquette guides would say he should have just declined it without saying anything. If someone did that to our wedding thinking their partner was not welcome, I’d be so sad.

      God, I apparently hate wedding invitations.

      • m

        It sounds like you weren’t invited. Unless the couple sending the invites doesn;t understand wedding etiquette.

        • dearabbyp

          It is completely possible that the couple didn’t understand wedding etiquette (mainly because only brides or near-brides do). A few years ago, my fiance’s friend invited him to his wedding (we were living together at the time) and S, to my horror, simply wrote in my name on the RSVP. I explained that I *wasn’t* invited, but S called the best man and, eventually, the friend, who explained that they obviously meant to invite me, and didn’t know the custom. I think it’s worth an ask if you’re in a serious, long-term relationship, with all the caveats around, “If you’re trying to cut the guest list I understand and will be there stag with bells on,” etc etc

          • Ally

            We had something similar with a wedding of someone at our church when I was in middle school – I can’t even remember whose now – but the invite only had my parents names not mine. So I assumed I wasn’t invited. But my parents were like “of course you’re invited” (and they didn’t really even yet like leaving me by myself because ‘it’s not that we don’t trust you, it’s the rest of the world we worry about’ and all that) so they ended up asking. It really does seem like it was an oversight that folks just thought that was assumed, but I still worry that I might not have been and my parents forced the issue. (I wouldn’t go if they didn’t ask…I flat out refused to – I read too many old etiquette books from the public library for fun to go to a wedding where my name wasn’t on the invite!)

    • Outside Bride

      Some practical guidelines would be great. We didn’t do inner envelopes, and I found we were doing a lot of customizing – older relatives might be Mr. and Ms. His Name, younger couples with the same last name were just Her Name and His Name Last (except the new PhD – that had to be a Dr. and Mr.!), couples (married or not, including long term committed couples who are states where marriage isn’t an option for them – argh!) were both spelled out. Add in hyphenations, semi-adult semi-live-at-home children, a lot of “and family”, and some of those envelopes were getting full! I hope (hope hope hope) we didn’t offend anyone, but it was getting a bit confusing…

      • ElisabethJoanne

        Way back, APW did have a piece on how to address envelopes.

        Semi-adult, semi-live-at-home children were the hardest for us to figure out – separate invitation? (Young men especially we knew were likely to ignore it) Include with their parents? (but some parents will drag the kid with them, and we want to give the kid the option of just staying home)

      • Lizzy

        We had to do the same thing! Mr. His Name & Ms. Her Name & Family. They’re married, she just kept her name. Hyphens and live-in boyfriends and Dr. oh my!! We have a Dr. & Dr. Last Name. The toughest one was the baby daddy, on-again-off-again boyfriend who probably wasn’t coming, but whose name should probably be on the invitation. For some of my friends I just put guest because what if they’re dating someone else by the wedding? /(o.o)/

        • Alyssa M

          I tried my hardest to use actual names, but lord I’m glad I just settled for guest on a few. Talked to a friend in December and she and her girlfriend had been together a year! things were fantastic! moving in together! got a puppy! So I tried my hardest to invite the girlfriend, but settled for “and guest” when I couldn’t figure out her last name. THANK GOD I DID. I asked if she got my Save-the-date in February and wanted to make sure girlfriend knew she was invited too… and found out there had been a break up worthy of a soap opera including a new girlfriend!

    • LB

      This post is so perfectly timed…I had a major RSVP melt-down last night due to the “writing-in-guests-on-the-RSVP-card” situation. I thought it was obvious that those who are invited are listed on the envelope, however I have now received two RSVPs with extra people written in under “# of guests who will be attending.” Ummm…NO! You cannot just choose to invite someone to MY wedding. And who is this someone?? We also had one person ask my fiancee if there was a mistake and if he should have had a plus one, which my nice fiancee said “yes, sure” to. Cue the rage and meltdown from me. As the wise Stephanie Tanner once said, “How rude!”

      • Cortney

        THIS IS HAPPENING TO ME TOO. However, other people’s rudeness is really helping me to fully let go of what other people think. Do people really not understand that each extra person costs my family LOTS of money? Okay, maybe I haven’t quite let it go yet. But I’m working on it.

      • http://rebeccaharmon.blogspot.com/ Rebecca Harmon

        ME TOO!

      • http://www.moxiebrightevents.com Renee @ Moxie Bright Events

        Way to reference Full House! LOVE. Anyway, a similar thing happened to me. My sister-in-law has a lot of social phobias, so since her husband was the best man (and my husband’s brother), I thought it would be nice to invite her sister (and her sisters husband) so she didn’t feel so alone/awkward the whole day. When we received her sisters RSVP, we found out that her sister wasn’t coming at all. She was sending her husband and her 19 year old NIECE, who we had never met, to our wedding. This may be confusing, but we ended up with two virtual strangers at our wedding. I had only met her husband once, and the niece wore a skin tight mini skirt to my black tie wedding. It was so totally bizarre. I barely noticed them at the wedding (except for her outfit), but boy did I have a meltdown about it beforehand. People are so bizarre. The only comfort I can give is that you will hopefully be having so much fun on your wedding day, you won’t even pay them any mind.

    • http://www.theglowhow.com/ Annie

      Wait, it’s fussy?! I just thought it was the way things are done. So far, it’s (mostly) going well for us.

  • Kina

    We decided early on to have a smaller wedding. We’ll be somewhere between 50-60, which is great. I’m very wedding cautious (I had always seen elopement in my future) and also wanted to make sure if we did this thing, we had plenty of time to spend with people who came, which is why we’re also doing a weekend thing, with multiple events (though no pressure to attend things) so we can maximize quality time. Even with all that, I do find myself having these weird moments like “Will I feel all the wedding love you’re supposed to feel if it’s only X number of people? Will it feel awkward if it’s X number of people)?” And I’m sure it won’t, but I still hear that little voice in the back of my head asking if I should’ve just invited so-and-so because they’re nice, and wouldn’t it be great to guarantee just a few more positive people in the crowd….

  • Sarah

    Numbering the RSVP cards = genius! I can’t believe people are so rude! Of course, even with our wedding of 23 people total we had a few issues nailing down meal choices and other details. More of a function of the fact that of course they were coming and that we didn’t do official invites because just our immediate family and a few friends came. Then again, I’ve been guilty of a few RSVP blips myself. I’ve been invited to a few receptions after the dinner and since no RSVP came with that invite I didn’t think I had to say if I was coming or not. Oops.

  • TeaforTwo

    The part of the RSVPs that I found hardest was a bit self-inflicted. I’ve written before about how we both have big families, so our must-invite list of relatives was about 140, mostly local. Our venue held a max of 150 guests. We invited a bit over that list, but we each had only 3 friends (plus partners) on the original list, and that was TOUGH.

    We had a long list of friends we wanted to invite when we got enough regrets, which meant that I was really rooting for some people to say they couldn’t come. I spent the RSVP period twisted in knots, and when people wrote at the last minute to say they wouldn’t be attending, I was seething, because it meant that it was too late to invite anyone else. I know that we also offended some friends who weren’t on the invitation list, or got last minute invitations.

    We should have had a bigger venue, but we couldn’t afford one in the city, on our timeline. So we muddled through, and on the actual day, we were surrounded by people who loved us, and their love and support and joy for us was so much to take in that there wasn’t room for any of the anxiety about the people who weren’t there.

    • Meg

      I just want to say as a friend who was included as a last minute invite to a friend’s wedding recently I was definitely not offended. I was just so happy to be there an celebrate with her. So don’t feel bad!!

  • LBH

    RSVP time was really tricky for me. We were purposefully having a pretty small wedding, but that meant that every RSVP that said they weren’t coming felt like a major rejection — especially since we already were leaving so many friends out because we felt pressure to invite mainly family. We could have invited more friends, but by the time we got somewhat final numbers it was too late. And tracking people down was incredibly frustrating — at a certain point I felt like I was begging people to come (I wasn’t, but the very act of sending a save the date, and then an rsvp card, and then following up felt weird to me). The worst were people who were non-committal even when tracked down “we might be able to make it, not sure yet.” You’re not doing me a favor — come or don’t come, but make up your mind!

    • Lindsey d.

      I hate the “might be able to make it, not sure.” Um, you are clearly waiting for a better invitation for that day, so I don’t want you to come at all anymore!

    • JSwen

      We’ve only had one “might not” make it but she’s due to have their first baby that week. Her husband was a definite yes, so it’s all pretty understandable.

    • YetAntherMegan

      I have one person who reached out to me to let me know that she’s waiting on a job offer that if she got it would mean she can’t come. She’s far enough away that I wasn’t getting my hopes up about her attending anyway (though would absolutely 100% love it if she could be) so I totally understand needing to hold off a bit IN THAT CASE. People who are localish and don’t have a major logistical situation up in the air just need to make a decision already.

  • Megan

    We haven’t done invitations yet for our October wedding, but my sister’s wedding was last month and that stirred up some family drama on my mom’s side. My mom’s side all lives in New York/New Jersey and we were pretty sure most wouldn’t come to her wedding in Illinois. But given that most of them have a lot of money and travel, there was some hope. Everyone but my grandmother (who we knew would come) RSVPed no, and gave no explanation, no call to say congratulations and sorry we can’t be there, or anything. Even though we (mom, sister, me) all kind of expected it and had accepted it in advance, my grandma was PISSED. Then when my grandma was at some party a couple weeks after my sister’s wedding where lots of that family attended, NO ONE said anything about my sister’s wedding–no one asked how it was, if she had pictures to share, nothing. She was so hurt. It’s so ridiculous.
    It’s been nice to have my sister’s RSVP list so I can pretty much anticipate our family side number for our guest list in October. My mom/grandma are pissed and hurt enough that they almost don’t want to invite their side to my wedding anymore, but since we already sent Save the Dates, we probably will, Plus, it will force them to send $100 checks to me too :) Might as well…

    • JSwen

      We’ve got a similar issue. An entire side of the family is bowing out because we are getting married on another coast. I understand for most of them but for some others… they said they couldn’t make it and then booked a week long family vacation in Florida. FLORIDA of all places!

      • Megan

        My great-aunt has literally traveled to China by herself recently, and she could not be bothered to leave New Jersey for my sister’s wedding. Redonkulous.

  • Al

    My older half sister created her own check mark box, checked it, and wrote ‘Maybe.’ Not that we’re close or anything but that response card made me SO ANGRY because who does that? My older half brother didnt even send it back, I had to hunt down his wife, who also told me he would ‘maybe’ attend. My wedding is in a week and a half. Havent heard from them. Do. Not. Care. Anymore.

    • Acres_Wild

      WOW that is rude of them. It’s a wedding, not a Facebook event! I have no advice other than to say I am shocked on your behalf.

      • Al

        I spent a good portion of that day raging about it to my mom (they’re my dad’s kids from his first marriage). Then I sent a very curt, but kindly, worded email to my older half sister thanking her for responding at all, and letting her know I completely understood that she couldn’t make the wedding. I’m sorry but a maybe equals a no in my book. Make up your mind. (Her excuse was that her daughters have a dress rehearsal the day before, so you know. That. Granted she lived in Florida and I’m in New York, but “my daughter’s dress rehearsal” doesn’t really seem like a good excuse to me.)

        • Anonymous

          My cousin – ironically, the one who has most recently gotten married – replied with maybe. A week after I had asked for the RSVPs to be back. After I tracked him down on facebook to find out if he was coming or not.
          After a week of no further response (one week before the wedding!), I just sent him a message along the lines of, “So sorry you won’t be able to come. Hopefully we’ll see you at the next family function.” Because, you know, if I respond to rudeness with assertiveness and class, I’m totally winning!

          • Kelly

            This is all so crazy. Please report back— did they show?!

    • http://batman-news.com jbryant6

      We had some people say maybe too. Maybe was not an option, people!! So rude.

    • Jacky Speck

      Man, I thought I was the only one who knew someone THAT inconsiderate! Seriously, “maybe” is an even ruder version of a complete non-response. You’re still not giving any useful information about whether or not you will attend, AND you’re acknowledging your own refusal to do so.

    • JSwen

      Wow. Maybe there won’t be a seat for them at dinner, huh?

    • http://www.smittenchickens.com/ Sarah Hoppes

      “Maybe” is the worst. I blame facebook.

    • Meg Keene

      WHAT? What.

  • Mrs. Peterbot

    I still haven’t forgiven the two people who RSVP’d that they would come, then just didn’t show up. One who asked to bring her boyfriend though she wasn’t invited with a plus one! My cousin gave birth 8 days before my wedding and made it (rock star…also, third kid), so I’m pretty sure you could’ve sent word that you can’t handle the workload from your promotion and have to bow out. Sadly, we had family illnesses that kept people away (and they all communicated with us early and often in case they could make it), but some of the non-medical excuses were worse than simply saying, “We’re so sorry we can’t be there, but will be thinking of you!”

  • Emily

    We mailed our invites yesterday, so just about to enter this realm!! So excited / nervous about it!

  • Kayjayoh

    We asked people to reply by the 21st of May for a June 21 wedding. I am now wishing I’d set the reply-by date a little earlier, so that I could have the calling and follow-up done by then. I think we have about 40% of our responses. Among the people we haven’t heard from are any of my dad’s family. I know that my cousin and uncle are coming, but not from them telling me in any way. (My dad asked about the hotel and my cousin mentioned traveling to WI for a June wedding on FB.) My more local cousins, whose weddings I attended as a child, have not replied.

  • ElisabethJoanne

    I’d heard so many RSVP horror stories, I was zen about them all through the process. I also shared the horror stories with my now-husband, so he could be zen and prepared to track down the no-responders. As it turned out, I don’t think we had any horror stories. It helped that we got a lot of No’s early, so we didn’t sweat uninvited plus-ones, etc.

    I knew we’d have a few people who would only attend the ceremony, and wondered about accommodating that on our RSVP cards. Turns out, those people were smart enough to just make a note.

    We had a lot of family RSVP by emailing their travel itineraries, and lots of people just texted my husband. I know towards the end, he had a lot more info about some of the No’s than I did – so be sure to check in with your partner if you think a guest is being uncommunicative.

  • Jacky Speck

    Oh jeez. I know my wedding isn’t as important to most of our invited guests as it is to me personally. It’s a major life milestone for me, but to them it’s just one of many ways that they could spend one particular Saturday night. I understand that completely, and have tried to remind myself of that repeatedly throughout the process. But I’m STILL surprised by how inconsiderate some people are being.

    – Several people have sent back blank RSVP cards. Ours were fairly simple forms: all they had to do was fill in “NAME,” check off “DECLINES” or “ACCEPTS” plus a “NUMBER ATTENDING” line next to “ACCEPTS.” Apparently that is still too difficult for some people. I’ve gotten cards without a name, cards with a name but without either “DECLINES” or “ACCEPTS,” and cards without ANYTHING filled in. Good thing I wrote return addresses on all the return envelopes so I can at least call these people to find out how the hell they want me to interpret their responses.

    – Knowing that people live busy lives, we gave everyone THREE WAYS to RSVP: through our wedding website, by returning the paper RSVP card in an enclosed self-addressed stamped envelope, or by calling us on the phone. I’m finding that a surprising number of people are apparently too busy to do ANY of those things! And a lot of those people are local, so it’s not even like they need the extra time to figure out travel plans.

    – … Which reminds me, I’m especially mad at my fiance’s college friends. All of them are local, and because my fiance really, really wants them to come he called them the week that we sent out invitations to ask that they look for it in the mail. They all responded super enthusiastically: “Awesome, can’t wait!”, “Wouldn’t miss it for the world!”, and other stuff to that effect. That was over a month ago, and not ONE of those guys has RSVP’ed… Not even with a “no”!

    – One person texted me, “Hey I got your invitation! I’m going to send my RSVP back with a maybe because I don’t know if I can get a babysitter yet.” It took everything I had to POLITELY ask her to please NOT SEND THE STUPID CARD BACK UNTIL SHE HAD A DEFINITE ANSWER. What exactly is the point of sending back a “maybe”??? The card only includes checkboxes for “accept” or “decline” for a reason!

    – Not gonna lie, it stung a little bit when I got my first RSVP card with “DECLINES” checked off. Despite constantly reminding myself that my major life milestone is “just a Saturday night” to some of these people, I still read that first DECLINE as “screw you and your stupid wedding.” But now I realize that person was actually being very considerate by sending a response at all. Many people seem to think that non-response is an acceptable way to decline an invitation. Let me get this straight: you were important enough to ME that I invited you to my wedding, but you couldn’t take the time to call/text, put a stamped envelope in a mailbox, or even visit a website??? Yeah, that doesn’t feel good at all.

    • lady brett

      i will say that some of this is a matter of social education (i’m going to guess this is the deal with the college buddies) – just given the way i was socialized, i *had no idea* that rsvp’s were a big deal/mattered at all until i planned my own wedding. that kind of formalization just didn’t have meaning for me, and it’s likely that your fiance’s buddies feel like “wouldn’t miss it!” *is* a response.

      i’ll never really understand sending in a blank card, though (although it’s exactly the sort of absent-minded thing i can see my mother doing, so…)

      • Megan

        It really is amazing how much I’ve learned in the last year about how to be a good wedding guest, now that I’m going through planning one myself. Though I don’t think I’ve committed any major offenses, there are so many things I was completely oblivious to until this year!

        • StevenPortland

          100% agreed. From here on out I will be an outstanding wedding guest. I look back at a few horrible mistakes and have been wondering whether or not I should apologize even though it happened years ago.

          • Jacky Speck

            A good friend of mine got married during Hurricane Irene and I still cringe at the fact that I *called him on his wedding day* to ask if the wedding was still on. It was a local wedding, and 100% indoors. Oof, past me, what were you thinking?

      • Jacky Speck

        You’re probably right about the two single college buddies. But the rest of those guys were recently married, and had sizeable weddings (to which my fiance and I were invited AND sent our RSVP’s on time! :P). So I’m almost certain that they dealt with RSVP drama, or at the very least *heard* about RSVP drama from their wives and whoever else was helping them plan.

        I wasn’t really taught that RSVP’s were a big deal either, but I guess I take for granted that I grew up as a painfully shy, awkward little kid who was super grateful to be invited to *anything*, and therefore always responded promptly with a “OMG YES I’LL BE THERE” no matter how minor the event, haha.

        • lady brett

          well, of course, some people can’t be helped.

          ha, funny, as a painfully shy kid, my response to invitation tended to be “duck and cover” – hence the lack of knowledge about proper responses ;)

  • Kayjayoh

    I am more annoyed by people who don’t reply than saddened by people who can’t come. I mean, I wish everyone I invited would be able to come, but I dearly hope that this won’t be my last opportunity to see them. I will miss them on this occasion and look forward to the next one. But the people who are leaving me hanging get the side-eye.

    • Kayjayoh

      Specifically, the people who are leaving me hanging that have told *other* people that they are coming, but haven’t told me. There are people from far away that aren’t going to know if they can travel till the last minute. There are people who need to figure out work schedules. That’s understandable. But if you are telling other people “I’ll see you at Kayjayoh’s wedding” you’d think that Kayjayoh would be one of the people you’d tell?

      • Jacky Speck

        I wonder if this “telling other people you’re coming = official RSVP” idea is a generational thing? I have a number of people doing that too, and they’re all older. They call our grandparents or parents to say they’re coming, even though the invitation specifically requests that they RSVP through us (you know, the people planning this whole thing). Perhaps it’s a more “traditional” assumption that parents or grandparents are either financing and planning the whole wedding or heavily involved, and therefore one should RSVP through them? I have no idea. Either way, it’s frustrating. (EDIT: removing an extra word)

        • ElisabethJoanne

          My etiquette books, and conventional wisdom, say that “the older generation” would be more aware of and concerned with social details like RSVPs. In all sorts of wedding planning situations, I found that totally off. A guest’s age had 0 relation with whether they RSVP’d timely, or put me in a tough spot about gifts or whatever.

        • Kayjayoh

          My cousin who has posted about it on Facebook is in her twenties.

          I suppose it could be a generational thing in another direction? “I posted about in on FaceBook, therefore the world knows?” I only know she posted about it on FB because my sister is friends with her and mentioned seeing the post.

          I’m including her in the “soft rsvps” for now, but until she (and the other people in the category) actual tells *me* she’s coming, she’s still getting the mental side-eye from me. [shrug]

  • Amy March

    I’m really surprised by the amount of stress over people not replying weeks before the deadline you gave them to reply.

    • Kayjayoh

      What a kind and generous reply, Amy.

      • Amy March

        I am honestly surprised by this. You give me a deadline, and 100% I will meet it, but it would not occur to me that not replying early would be any sort of issue. And I started this as a new thread instead of a reply specifically because I didn’t want to seem to be calling out a particular poster about her feelings. If you’re stressing about something that others are doing to you, and it’s entirely possible they have no clue there could possibly be an issue, I think that’s a useful viewpoint.

        • http://karenmadrone.wordpress.com/ Karen

          I was stressed weeks before the deadline, too. And yes, people said back to me “I thought I still had time.” I responded, “Yes, you do, but it would be helpful if we could know if you will be able to attend.” We invited close to 300 people. Yes, it was stressful before the deadline.

        • Kayjayoh

          I know you weren’t just responding to me, because other people have made similar statements. But I honestly don’t believe “I’m surprised you are stressed about this” is a helpful comment to anyone. You know what? I’m surprised, too (or I’d have set the deadline earlier) but there you go.

          Somehow, a thread labeled “RSVP Drama” seemed like a safe space to talk about the things that are stressing us, so that we don’t take out are annoyance on our loved ones who are taking their time to let us know they are coming (including people who have told other people that they are coming, but not you). It makes sense to me to vent a little of that anxiety here, without being judged, so that we can go back to the rest of the world with a sunny face.

          EDIT: And this is where I’m leaving it, because I don’t want this to be actual drama and I know Meg hates that, too. I’m not trying to start a flamewar. :)

      • Amy March

        You know what? I’m actually not okay with this. I make a completely reasonable non-attacking on topic comment and I get snarkily called out for not being “kind and generous?” That’s nonsense. And it’s the type of dangerous nonsense that suggests that the only acceptable ways for women to communicate are soft and love-dovey ways. Calling out a woman for not being “nice” is a classic way of shutting down dialogue. And I’m not going to just ignore it.

        • Kayjayoh

          I don’t need you to be “nice” or “lovey-dovey” but your original comment read (to me, at least) like concern trolling. It came off as disingenuous, and I don’t have a high tolerance for passive-aggression disguised as helpfulness. It may have not been your *intent* for it to be an attack, but that is certainly what it looked like.

    • Kayjayoh

      Sorry for the snark. But honestly, sometimes it’s not easy to control what you are going to find stressful. And people being “really surprised” by that is not especially helpful.

      • Meg

        Also there will be plenty of people who will help you stress out over it…mother asking for a “headcount” 2 days after I sent the invites out :I

    • Nina B

      As a wedding guest, it never occurred to me to reply before the deadline. Now that it’s my wedding, I’m thinking “why hasn’t everyone replied already???” I’m also the person who sends invites to a cinco de mayo party telling people it starts at 6pm and then standing expectantly at the window at 5:30. Emotionally reasonable? Sure. Rational? Maybe not.

      I think it’s totally normal to stress out about RSVPs before the deadline… but I can’t blame my guests for not replying yet. I probably should have set the deadline earlier, but it’s too late to change that now.

    • Anon

      I too was genuinely surprised when i began to realize that friends were really getting stressed about RSVPs not coming in immediately when the deadline was weeks away. I did not expect any until the last minute myself–maybe because I’m a teacher, and people don’t turn things in early? Maybe because I often delay a response because I want to be absolutely sure I can actually make it (plane tickets, budgets, work schedule, etc)? Once I have said yes, I am going to be there, so I don’t take a yes response lightly. And maybe I really hope I can figure out a way to get to your mid-week wedding a plane ride away, so hesitate to say no right away in case I can make it happen?

      In any case, I am responding to this original comment of Amy’s rather than down the conversation in an attempt to avoid drama. I almost didn’t post because so many people are clearly extremely stressed out and sensitive about this topic. But I think the tense back-and-forth below is indicative of an important miscommunication that might be causing a lot of unnecessary RSVP stress.

      For those who have yet to set an RSVP date, there is a clear lesson: pick a date that is on the early side for RSVPs. And if you find yourself stressing about it ahead of the deadline, so be it, that’s wedding stress for you, but own the fact that you set the RSVP date, as Nina B does below. It is not rude of people to use the time you have given them. Another thing that helped me get an approximate head count early was the save the dates. A significant percentage of people told me right away yes/no, based only on the save the date, and I could extrapolate the percentages (fairly accurate).

  • http://batman-news.com jbryant6

    Oh, the RSVPs. We had an awful time getting people to get back to us. But the WORST thing is all the people who RSVPed and then never showed up. We had probably 50 people do that. Including the rude groomsmen who RSVPed for three people (when given a plus one) and the girl who originally RSVPed no, then called to see if she could change her mind, then texted to ask if she could bring a date. There were a lot of bad luck things that happened at our wedding (at least three close relatives were hospitalized within days of our wedding, so we knew quite a few people wouldn’t be able to come last minute), but there were so many people who disappointed us.
    I do want to say though, that I didn’t notice the no-shows too much on the actual day (other than the groomsmen who ditched everyone immediately after the ceremony). But now that we are a week out and I’m thinking back on things, I’m a little hurt by some of the no-shows.
    Then again, we’re married and it’s over and hallelujah!

    • http://www.nerds-in-love.net/ Stephanie

      Wow, I’m mad about the three people who RSVPed yes, were local, and then didn’t show without explanation. (We also had 2 people from out of town who cancelled last minute due to hospitalized relatives, but those I totally understand.) I don’t know what I would do with 50 people not showing up.

      • http://batman-news.com jbryant6

        I’d say maybe 10 of those who didn’t show were understandable. (For example, a relative had a grand mal seizure that morning, so that her immediate family couldn’t attend.) But yeah, the other 40? Not so much. Some of them did come to the ceremony, but not to the reception. Which is fine I suppose, but I wish I would’ve known that so we didn’t pay for dinner for them, you know?

    • JSwen

      Wow. Can I ask what your total invite number was?

      • http://batman-news.com jbryant6

        I think in total we invited about 275, and about 175 RSVPed. So we ended up having around 125 at the reception, I guess? Or at least that many ate the dinner. I had around 60 left over silver bundles (I put silverware in handstamped napkins and bundled them with twine), and I think I’d made 180.

  • Faith

    We sent out paper invitations but used our wedding website for the RSVP process. I am sooooooo glad we did this. First, it meant that every person was stored in the database and could look themselves up (easily) and RSVP for them and anyone else in their party (as specified by me) but couldn’t write in a +1. It also saved us money by not printing RSVP cards and not needing extra postage. And it made the reminder emails I sent to delinquent friends and family members that much easier as I was able to include a direct link to the website to everyone. At the due date, we were still missing about 40% of our RSVPs. I sent a reminder out that night (and also reminded anyone that if they wanted to book at the hotel, they had until the end of the week to get the discounted rate. This brought in a huge slew of responses and only a few more people to track down. I’m down to 5 people left that I have to hear from. Though there seems to be something wrong with the wedding wire websites today because 2 people told me they submitted RSVPs today and none of them are showing up in my database or generating the emails that normally get sent to me when someone RSVPs.

    • Felicity

      Oh this makes me feel better about our online RSVPs! It just makes more sense to us to do this, but I’ve been nervous about how it will go. What website did you use?

      • Faith

        We used WeddingWire to set up our wedding website and collect the RSVPs. It’s worked really well for us.

        • Kelsey

          Just a hint for anyone using WeddingWire: if you put people together in a household, and the guest RSVPs for some but not all of those people, the status of the unedited people goes blank and can’t be edited by guests. That sounds really confusing, but what it amounts to is this: When multiple households had the same last name, and I didn’t know who went with who (fiancée’s family) I just put all of them in one household, under their last name. The first couple went in and RSVP’d. Later, another couple tried to rsvp and couldn’t, because their RSVP status had gone from “no response” to blank. I had to go in and change them all back to “no response” for it to be changeable from the guest side of things… This was the cause of a handful of people being unable to RSVP (despite the fact that there was an alternative way of RSVP’ing by phone, but apparently people were afraid of that option–I only got 4/100 responses that way)

          • Kelsey

            Other than that, it was great! And free!

          • sara g

            Oh that’s good to know… I actually labeled the households as “Bob & Susie” etc so there wasn’t any confusion about the same last name for multiple households.

      • Jules

        As a guest, I loved this, because somehow it’s so much easier than walking the 20 yards to my mailbox.

    • Alyssa M

      That’s how we’re doing it, and I’m really hoping it goes well. Plus, I’m a little silly and got all upset when nobody looked at our website after getting our save the dates (I put so much effort into it!) and now they have to go to the site to RSVP! hah!

      • sara g

        Haha, I’m in the same boat. Spent several afternoons making the site all pretty and it has been viewed a grand total of 17 times in the month and a half since we sent the Save the Dates. :( But we’re making them RSVP on there, so they’ll have to look at it. So there!

  • Fergus30

    My RSVP drama is more of an invite drama – When we sat down to come up with our guest list I asked my parents and my future in-laws who they wanted invited – I then invited everyone they listed to the wedding. Now my father is upset that I didn’t invite a few people on his side of the family, people he didn’t include on the list of people he wanted to invite- the only reason I can explain why he didn’t tell me to invite them himself is that he wanted me to invite them of my own volition (dad and I are very similar, and this is something I would do, sadly)

    I’m thinking that I will invite them as they’re important to my dad and he’s important to me but I’m wondering if I should have done something differently?

    • Amy March

      Nope. If your Dad wanted them invited it was on him to tell you. He brought any hurt he’s feeling on himself.

    • ElisabethJoanne

      We didn’t have that kind of passive-aggression/miscommunication. We did have some just plain overlooked potential guests.

      First story: I sent my parents a guest list draft and said “please fill in the highlighted contact information blanks and let me know if it looks complete.” Well, some people they thought were of course invited weren’t on the list, and they didn’t catch it until after the RSVP deadline and they asked, “Did so-and-so send a paper RSVP? She’s really excited about coming!” We just sent late invitations, and all was well. [We had lots of No’s, so there weren’t cost/space issues.]

      Second story: I did the same thing. I typed up the guest list with respect to my church. Checked it 5 times. Showed it to the clergy. Still forgot the couple who founded the church. Just missed the name. Luckily, this one we caught when I passed around the list for parishioners to check their addresses.

      • fergus30

        I don’t think he’s trying to be passive aggressive to be fair, I think he’s worried that he’s being a bother and that he’s asking for too much. He’s made it clear that he’s ok if they don’t get invites, I just wish he would speak up for himself

        • ElisabethJoanne

          I guess I consider that kind of not speaking up for yourself passive-aggression. Since we had a 67% decline rate, my experience says to err on the side of inviting people, but every circumstance is unique.

    • Stephanie B.

      My dad literally told me not to invite his brothers and sisters (all in their late 60s/early 70s, and all in poor health) because it was too far to drive, to an unfamiliar part of town, and they wouldn’t come. But the key thing is that he literally said “Don’t invite them.”

      Then 2 weeks before the wedding he got really angry with me and demanded to know WHY his family wasn’t invited. O_O The worst part is, since he told me not to invite them, we invited other guests, up to the limit on our tiny venue, and we really, truly, had no room for any more guests.

      So, I feel you on this. If you have the room/budget, go ahead and invite them.

  • Meg

    My drama is that I did not write my address on the little mini envelopes for them to send back. I in my idiocy thought they could just copy them off the envelope that was sent to them. My mother called me immediately and told me I was an idiot for not doing this. I was like “what are you talking about, they’ll just copy it off the envelope”.
    10 people in counting have contacted me asking what my address is lol. Mooooother knows best!! (would be nice if she’d told me in advance). All of the advice I seem to be getting from her is coming in the form of criticism of things I’ve already “done wrong”.

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  • Michelle

    Right now the RSVPs I’m annoyed about aren’t even the ones to our wedding – they’re for the transportation service my parents are very kindly footing the bill for since our wedding is in a hard-to-reach area. Most people are renting cars, but for those who aren’t, we’ve booked a driver to get them to and from the airport and the major events of the wedding weekend – gratis.

    It has been like pulling teeth to get people to 1) tell us they need the service 2) commit to using the service, and 3) confirm that they received the schedule and other important info I emailed them (I SPECIFICALLY asked them to reply to confirm). All I need is a two word email back saying “Got it.” And thus far, the only people who have bothered to respond are my bridesmaids.

    What the heck? All I want to know is that they’re still planning on using the shuttle they told me they needed, and that they have read a brief email that tells them who to call if their flight is delayed (the driver, NOT me or my fiance). It’s a 1.5-hour round trip to the airport so I don’t want the poor driver going all the way there to find out the person made other plans.

    Our wedding is in a week. I do not want to be dealing with this. And I’m glad I can rant here, because my fiance’s response has been that they’re responsible adults who will find their own way. Which is true, but also not true, because there are no cabs and this is their only ride, and I don’t want us to be fielding calls from confused relatives waiting for a pick-up that isn’t coming because they DIDN’T COMMUNICATE WITH US.

    And I’m still ticked off at one of my future brothers-in-law, who emailed us long after the deadline to request a driver, to inform us (not request) that his date needs an airport pickup. He’s renting a car and is perfectly capable of picking her up, but I got her on the schedule and sent them both a detailed response with instructions. And I never received a response, let alone a thank you, from either of them. Ugh.

    • Ann

      I’d send out an email to everyone who hasn’t confirmed and say “I need you to confirm that this information is correct and that you will be on the shuttle. If you don’t confirm, I will assume that you have made other arrangements.”

      • emmers

        And then at the end a “we’re so excited to see you soon!” Or something. I do this at my job to make me seem nicer when delivering a direct email. And also to make me feel slightly nicer if I’m grumpy. One of my favorites: “I am happy to answer your question.” Which I’m typically not. But sometimes it helps me feel kinder.

        • Stacey H.

          I do this all the time. Responding with “thank you so much!” and “have a great weekend!” always lightens the tone for me.

  • Kina

    I’ll fess up – I’m totally guilty of not putting my name on others’ RSVP cards (which is another reason why I used an online RSVP system for my own wedding). Unless there’s a prompt like “Mr or Mrs _______” will be attending I forget – so there’ve been some blank ones that I probably didn’t put my name on. I guess I just assumed they had a system for figuring out who it was from (I know, don’t laugh). Just throwing that out there – some of us just aren’t thinking very much in the moment…

  • Bethany

    My husband’s aunt decided to RSVP for her three grown children (none of whom live with her!) on her RSVP card. We noted that she and her husband had 2 seats and she crossed it out and replaced it with 9 to include her kids, their spouses/dates and their kids. She didn’t write a note explaining this, so we were super confused, especially because all of the kids got their own invites (at their own houses! where they receive all other mail!)

    • ElisabethJoanne

      We had some extended-family RSVPs like that, but there was a note explaining.

    • Kayjayoh

      Sometimes all you can do is laugh. (Or cry. But maybe laugh.)

    • Amy

      One of my cousins is an adult living at home, and I sent save-the-dates and invites to both him and his mom (they have separate PO boxes). Both received save-the-dates but unfortunately, his invite disappeared because I wrote the wrong PO box number.

      I got a very indignant “Yes” RSVP from his mom, who wrote him in on her card and wrote across the bottom: “WHERE IS HIS INVITE???” He had contacted me a few days before to check in and we figured out the mis-address issue, so a new invite was in the mail, but I guess his Mom hadn’t gotten the memo. I had to chuckle because she tends to be pretty overprotective and rather than talking to her 27-year-old son about it, she sent us a nasty note assuming he had been disinvited!

    • Sarah E

      That’s really kind of you to remember that. My mom, grandma, and brother share a mailing address, though my mom actually lives 4 doors down with my uncle. So indicating invitations is an exercise in politeness as far as who needs a separate one.

      On the other hand, my dad keeps reminding me about my cousin’s wedding this summer. I never received a STD, though, so I don’t know if I’m invited. (Dad threw away his envelope, so no telling there. I asked him to feel it out, but that’s a toss-up.)

  • http://www.nerds-in-love.net/ Stephanie

    Oh the RSVPs were the bane of my existence, too.
    We invited several families with children, expecting that several of them would come as just adults or parent and older child, so to accommodate we had a line for name and “number of guests attending.” Certain people (mostly my husband’s single male friends) thought this was a chance for them to invite extra friends to our wedding. Cue one of our worst wedding arguments wherein I attempt to convince my non-confrontational fiance to call one such friend and explain to him that no he may not bring extra people to our wedding beyond who was on the invite. Ended up this particular “friend” never even showed to our wedding, and never called/texted/emailed/found him at work to apologize/explain.

    A bunch of people didn’t send RSVPs back at all. I emailed my mother and MIL a list of people on their respective side who didn’t RSVP and asked them to follow up. My MIL, unbeknownst to me, reported a bunch of yeses which I noted in my spreadsheet… but didn’t actually SPEAK to the people in question directly. She was going off previous convos or who she expected to attend. I figured this out when a week later I got an RSVP decline in the mail and went to enter in the spreadsheet only to discover that I already had that family of 5 listed as a yes. Yikes!

    Also amusingly, I didn’t receive an RSVP card from my uncle who swore up and down that he sent it. Three months after our Feb wedding I got his reply card in the mail, postmarked November. No idea where it spent the intervening 6 months.

    • Kirstin

      We also wrote in the number of guests attending. We didn’t have anyone actually write in extra people, but my mom immediately called us and said “Well why would you put that on there when there are some folks whom you didn’t give guests. People are going to be confused.” I regretted it, but couldn’t undo it at that point.

      • http://www.nerds-in-love.net/ Stephanie

        We actually did do every single person with “and guest” but the funniest were two of my husband’s groomsmen wrote “0” when they should have written “1.” They were groomsmen so I knew they were coming, but not bringing dates.
        I’m not sure how to do it better except to do “_ of _ attending” and actually write in the number of people you invited. And that seemed… awkward.

        • Kirstin

          Yeah, I’ve gotten a few invites like that. They said We’ve reserved X seats for you, right above the # attending line. The funny thing is, there were only 5 people total not given guests, and they were all younger cousins whom we figured would come with family, and then my mom. So I guess it was only confusing for her?

    • Laura C

      Oh my gosh, my FMIL is doing the exact same thing, and I learned the same way — she’s telling me she’s definitely talked to all these people and they would have told her if they weren’t coming and the same day we get an RSVP where one is coming and one isn’t. So now of course I’m wondering how many others she’s wrong on…

  • jashshea

    We had a large wedding – invited nearly 300, had almost 200 show up – but I still cried at some of our no RSVPs. It’s hard when people you really care about can’t make it.

    Aside from that, the whole process was maddening, but I loved getting mail each day. It felt so delightfully old fashioned!

    • Megan

      It makes me a little sad that the RSVP cards will probably be going to my parents instead of me, only because I get so much joy out of opening mail that’s not junk!

      • ElisabethJoanne

        We were a bit concerned about mail delivery at my apartment, so we had RSVPs sent to my parents’ house, but they were instructed just to put them in a box I made with a slit on top. They didn’t have to read them or anything. This meant they got some cards addressed to us, too, FYI.

  • Casey

    We had some wedding RSVP drama, but surprisingly the rehearsal dinner guest list/RSVP situation was the WORST! People who weren’t invited heard about others who were and were miffed that they weren’t included and that’s how we ended up with a 50 person rehearsal dinner! Yikes.

    That said, the sweet RSVP cards pretty much made up for it all. This one from my 10 year old sister in law is still on our fridge

    • emmers

      That is so adorable!

    • Outside Bride

      That is so sweet! One for the memory book, for sure.

    • Katelyn

      OMG who brought onions and decided to chop them up?

    • Meg Keene

      TEARS

    • Laura

      THIS IS HAPPENING TO ME RIGHT NOW. Ugh. Turns out my rehearsal dinner is going to be about the size I wish my whole wedding was.

      • Casey

        I feel your pain! We have a big family plus my husband’s parents are divorced…it was such a sensitive situation so we just said screw it, you’re all invited! Haha.

        • enfp

          Yep same here. We could not figure out the rehearsal dinner situation (big family, no wedding party, vast majority of guests from out of town) and then ended up just inviting everyone to a welcome party the night before. Figuring out the night before has so far been the most stressful part of the planning process!

    • Stephanie B.

      LOVE! (And…I shamefacedly admit I wondered why your 10-year-old SiL would glue a beer bottle cap to an RSVP card. And then I realized it was a magnet. YOUR magnet. Duh!)

      • scw

        I did the same thing!

      • Casey

        Ha! Yep definitely our magnet :)

  • Kirstin

    Our RSVPs were due on Friday, so this is super timely. I would totally agree that the process was harder than I thought it would be.

    Right now we are waiting on RSVPs from 4 folks, out of 73 total invitations sent. Not bad, although we would prefer not to track them down. One is “still deciding which guest she is bringing.” There are a number of people who didn’t RSVP, but at least verbally shared if they were coming or not. I have a friend who had the same deadline we did who was still 100 short on over 300 invites. Yes, you read that correctly.

    I think the part that was the hardest was seeing the number of folks who just RSVPed no without a note, or maybe with a tiny sad face, but that was it. Some of them were family, who we knew would have a harder time traveling. But they said nothing to us, nor to my fiance’s parents. No text or Facebook message. No reason given. No sorry we can’t make it. Just a no. He was sort of crushed. And I haven’t known how to respond to that. He now says that he wants to skip Christmas with them. We have some time before we will have to decide that. But it’s tough.

    I had the same thing with a few friends or individuals who have been very important in my life. I knew there was the chance that they wouldn’t come, but I would have loved to actually hear from them. After my own experience with this, I will now always text or write a note.

    The last thing I would add is an “oops” that I made, that others may not want to repeat. In trying to be helpful, I sent a note to all of our guests reminding them of the RSVP date and also the deadline for our hotel block. I included everyone, because while a number of folks had RSVPed, only 3 people had booked rooms. This resulted in SO many people messaging back, “Wait, didn’t you get my RSVP?” I created more work for myself than was necessary. Be careful with this.

  • Kristie

    Today is the day we requested our guests to RSVP by. As of today I have received roughly half of the 100 RSVPs I sent out. *sigh* so bummed that the final month of our engagement will be filled with phone calls and text messages and emails to people–some of whom we’re very close to–who couldn’t even check a box on a card and send it back in a pre-addressed pre-stamped envelope.

    • chirpygirl

      Right?!? WTF?!?

  • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

    We put chimpanzees (tastefully hidden in the design) on our RSVP postcards. That way when they came back without a name we could at least sing about how they “[came] anonymously so they [left] no trail.”

    My biggest RSVP angst, surprisingly, was our event coordinator telling me our buffet style food meant we weren’t spending enough on our guests to need them to RSVP and we should just guess how many people would be there for how much food we’d need. Um, what?! RSVP is not a matter of cost, but a matter of politeness, consideration, and respect.

    • Kayjayoh

      I love your chimpanzee RSVPs!!

    • Meg

      I’m doing buffet style and my caterer even wanted me to give people a food choice so he’d know how much to prepare for each. (Which has lead to a running gag about watching Fish Vs. Chicken duke it out)

  • YetAntherMegan

    I am so in the thick of this right now. Our RSVP deadline for our June 7 wedding is this Saturday because I KNEW I’d have to hunt down some people even though we sent out our invites the last week in March. But holy crap. We still have 64 that haven’t responded (40% of our total guest list). And yes, there are still a few days, but way to wait until the last minute! We both have big families so we couldn’t invite many friends and made very careful decisions about who to invite. And we recognize that it’s a long trip for our friends since we’re getting married where the bulk of our family is. But that doesn’t make the No’s any easier to see. Then again, at least no is an answer, which is more than we’ve gotten from a pretty significant number of people.

  • JSwen

    Hah! My fiance just asked last night, “I wonder if The Blog [meaning APW] has anything on RSVPs and being pissed at your jerk family.” Very timely!

  • ElisabethJoanne

    Question: What should a guest who would like to be a “maybe” do? Examples: You’re local, but due to deliver a baby near the wedding date. You suffer from or care for someone who suffers from a chronic illness that has flare-ups. Should Maybe’s just decline? Should they contact the couple and let them decide? Does it matter how “close” the guest is to the couple? How do you decide how close you are?

    • Kirstin

      I don’t know what “proper” etiquette is, but we appreciated the folks that called and had a conversation with us on this. When we were on the same page and knew they were in tough spot, it was a lot easier to create some flexibility for them in our planning.

    • Ellen

      I’d have similar desires to Kirsten. FWIW, I’m someone who would *not* expect to hear, from people declining, the reason for the decline, but I’d feel very differently about maybes. In particular, I’d think a conversation with the couple (or the member of the couple to whom you’re closest) could include, from you, when you think you’ll have a definite answer, and also leave an opportunity for the person getting married to tell you by when they absolutely must know (with an opportunity for either party to sort of gracefully bow out, should those timelines not mesh). I’d suspect that most couples would be happy to let you float until the very last minute, particularly if you’re dealing with something that just won’t be clear until then (a baby or a chronic illness, vs. a work schedule that you’ll know two weeks in advance), but I can imagine a scenario in which people might need more advance notice and I’d hope they’d tell you that.

      • Ellen

        I’ll also say that if you let a couple know, they may be able to make plans to accommodate uncertainty rather than being blindsided by it (in a yes response that turns out to be a no) or simply having you not there when they’d like you to be (should you respond no, even with a possibility that life would allow you to come).

    • Katie*

      My cousin just got a job as a forest firefighter 4 hr away from his home, where he works 4 days on, 3 days off. It’s too soon to know if he can get the time off, or what his staggered schedule will be, so his wife is coming and he is a Maybe. And since I know that, I’m okay with it. (although I have a more casual reception, not plated dinner).

    • KC

      Yeah – I had a wedding where I RSVP-ed yes… and then got sick enough a week before that doctor’s orders were “DO NOT FLY” and I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it (because, hello, I am one guest among many) and yet also did not want them to think I was blowing off their wedding for no good reason. (I asked the doctor “but… if I really, really, really want to go?” and she gave me the biggest side-eye known to mankind and told me not to be an idiot, approximately.)

      I felt awful about it, as I would have been there with bells on if I could have, but… no. But also not wanting to add to their stress. But how to change a yes RSVP into a no RSVP if one really has to.

      • ElisabethJoanne

        To me, a sudden illness is something where you call/email the couple and explain. Same with serious travel difficulties (blizzards, hurricanes, flights canceled for no reason). It’s when you know there’s an issue as soon as you get the invitation, but don’t know how the issue will play out, that there’s a question.

        • jashshea

          I got married the Saturday after Superstorm Sandy and most of my NYC/CT/NJ folks couldn’t make the trip. They emailed/texted/called to let me know and I appreciated that.

      • Meg Keene

        You call and you say, “OMG I’m so sorry. Doctor told me I can’t fly. I’m SO SO SORRY.” And they say, “OMG don’t worry about it.”

        • KC

          Yep, basically did that, except by email. (it felt less interrupt-y than a phone call, and also time zones, and also I’d rather give them the breathing-space to react irritatedly [because THE HEADCOUNT or THE SEATING CHARTS or other AUGH], rant briefly at the wall, and then react how they actually would want to react, if that makes sense) But I felt really badly about it, because this is Not What They Want To Be Dealing With At This Time.

      • Lauren

        Definitely once traveled a long way to a wedding (6 hours total via train and car) after having just barely recovered from the stomach flu. It turned out okay, but it was not my wisest moment and I don’t know that I would do it again.

    • http://www.therewm.com/ Rachel W. Miller

      I’d say contact the couple and let them know the situation…and also offer to pay for your plate if it turns out you can’t make it. (Even if you don’t contact them ahead of time, RSVP yes, and then can’t make it, I’d still say to let them know as soon as you do that you won’t be there and offer to pay for your plate at that point.)

      • Meg Keene

        I think offering to pay for your plate if you can’t come is perfect. It lights the fire under your ass to go, and OF COURSE if you were delivering a baby the couple is going to be all, “OMG NO,” when you offer to pay after the fact ;)

    • jashshea

      My $.02: A dear friend was suffering from PPD during the lead up to our wedding. When she told me she was going to miss a pre-wedding event (and wasn’t super certain about the wedding), I told her that there would be space for her if she was able to make it, but that I understood that her health and her family had to be top priority. I was very glad to know the reason for the decline when I did eventually receive it.

    • Meg Keene

      There is only a Maybe if it’s BIG issue (both issues you just named are big). You call and ask, and you only offer a tentative yes if you’re going to move heaven and earth to go. If it was near my due date, I’d say YES (hopefully) if it was a close friend. But if it was someone not that close, where I knew I wouldn’t want to go if I was just feeling shitty, not delivering, then I’d say no.

    • Kat Robertson

      Yes to what everyone said about talking to the person! There were various situations with a few of our guests like this, and we were more than happy to accommodate them. We made our best guess for our numbers, and in the end some made it and some didn’t but it mostly evened out. The communication relieved a lot of stress.

    • Caroline

      I’ve been a maybe before. I was clearly a round B invite (but not miffed at all, just delighted to be included) but it meant I hadn’t had a lot of notice about asking for time off from work. I asked for the time off as soon as I got the invite, but my boss was slow on deciding, so the couple called to follow up. I explained that I wanted to come if I could get the time off, and they said it was fine, just to let them know as soon as I did know. It ended up being fine. (And obviously, if I had known about the wedding invite with more notice, I would have needed to ask for the time off sooner or be a jerk.)

  • http://www.smittenchickens.com/ Sarah Hoppes

    I mentioned this briefly yesterday, but today I’m venting!

    A friend of my now-husband was invited to our wedding, along with his girlfriend. He knew the guy through work, and they’d gotten close while working on a documentary together. Our wedding was very small, and he is very, very shy, so an invite was a really big deal. This couple acted at the begining like they knew it was a big deal. They came over to our place for a dinner party and offered congratulations, and the guy even said he wanted to do a speech at the wedding. They made mention of the wedding MANY times in the months leading up to it.

    Right before the wedding, they told us they couldn’t come because it was in the middle of the week, which is “inconvenient for people who work.” The date never changed, so they knew it was on a Wednesday months before! The crazy thing was that the wedding was in Central Park, and they worked in Times Square. It was a 10-20 minute cab ride. And they work at the same place! We had friends driving from other states, and they literally could have come to the wedding on their lunch break!

    He was really, really hurt. He thought this guy was a close friend, and he turned out to be barely an acquaintance! The crazy thing was that when Sandy hit New York, their work ended up being closed. My parents drove around the city picking up people who needed rides, and other friends took cabs and car services since the subways were down. This couple went to the movies! And told us about it! And then told us they were going to a friend’s wedding in Jamaica soon! WHAT THE HECK???

    RSVP drama brought out so much anger and tears. And it unfortunately told us a lot about the people in our lives. Some people went so far above and beyond (like my dear friend who was stranded at work for 3 days when the subways shut down, but walked from battery park to the mid 60s to get a ride to the wedding, and kept apologizing because his flannel shirt and jeans weren’t nice enough for the occasion), and some people showed their investment in their relationship with us in an unflattering light.

    Our wedding was supposed to be calm, practical, and drama free, but it brought out a surprising number of hard-won (but valuable) dramatic lessons!

    • Meg Keene

      Yeah. One of the two girls who went wedding dress shopping with me decided to go on vacation instead of our wedding, last minute. So many tears shed.

    • Maddie Eisenhart

      Late-in-the-game work invites caused probably 90% of my wedding guest drama. Never again! (Well, you know what I mean.)

    • JDrives

      The part about your friend walking to get a ride to your wedding got me right in the feels. I want to give that guy a high-five.

      • http://www.smittenchickens.com/ Sarah Hoppes

        Yeah, he’s just the best. And I vented about the couple who turned out to not be as close as we thought, and it was a big deal at the time, but we think about that so rarely these days. It’s the moments where people really came through for us in unexpected ways we chose to reflect on most of the time.

        • http://www.smittenchickens.com/ Sarah Hoppes

          Because how happy do the three of us look? Flannel be damned!!!

  • Anna

    We’re having a super small destination wedding, so we knew a bunch of people wouldn’t make it (we invited 50 and it looks like 30 will be there). What bugged me was not the ‘no’ responses so much as the fact that some of FH’s friend left it until the last day to RSVP no, when they must have known they wouldn’t be coming for quite some time since they would have needed to book plane tickets etc. We made it super clear on our invites that we wouldn’t be offended if people couldn’t make it, because it’s not a cheap trip, but they could have at least eft a note! It just seems really cold to just reply no at the last minute with no explanation or anything.

  • Nina B

    Honestly, it never occurred to me to write a note on an RSVP card. Maybe I’ve been being rude this whole time? I guess I’ll have to make a point to write notes from here on out.

    • ElisabethJoanne

      Me neither. I usually do contact the couple in another way, though. My 1950s etiquette book says, “Receiving a wedding invitation obliges you to much or little, as you wish.” And then explains how to decline (little obligation) and your duties if you accept (bigger obligations, but it starts by writing the acceptance).

    • Jacky Speck

      It would only occur to me if the space to write a note were clearly marked somehow. Like, “NOTES: ________”

      That said, a few people wrote notes in the whitespace on our RSVP cards and every one of those basically made my day, even if it was a super short note like “can’t wait!” or even just “yay!” The cards had checkboxes for “accepts” and “declines,” and one person drew a tiny heart in the “accepts” line instead of just a checkmark. I was surprisingly touched by that.

      • MisterEHolmes

        Mine said “a message for the happy couple” and then blank space (back of a postcard space) … about half have left notes.

        But while I do LOVE the notes I do get, I don’t feel burned or miffed by those that I don’t. I’m just grateful for the RSVP.

  • BD

    I was genuinely surprised at how much stress the RSVP situation gave me. I made the RSVPs as simple as possible too – pre-stamped, pre-addressed, with three little spaces to fill out with minimum information. Only a little more than half the people we invited sent back “will be attending” RSVPs, which was heart-wrenching in itself (there was family drama going on at the time). Our caterer needed to know a month before the wedding how many would attend… I’m a black n’ white kinda person, and I assumed that anyone who didn’t send an RSVP wouldn’t attend (I mean, really, if you can’t be bothered to return a pre-stamped, pre-addressed post card within a reasonable time frame, then you must not care too much about attending said event). So I turned in the numbers based on what I had at the time. Then, two weeks before our wedding, my mother-in-law informed me that a couple we had invited told her that they were so, so excited about coming to our wedding. Which was news to me, as this couple hadn’t sent back an RSVP – nor had they called, or emailed, or bothered to make any damn contact with us at all. Not only that, but they were bringing their two grown children with them. I responded something like, “Well, I hope they bring a sack lunch, and their own damn wine, cuz I’ll have none to serve them!”.It didn’t matter though because several of the people in the “will be attending” camp ended up being no-shows anyway. Blah. Feels good to rant.

  • irsmitty

    We’re in the midst of planning our wedding in August and we just mailed out our invitations two week ago (mailed early due to it being a destination wedding). We received 5 accepting RSVPs in quick succession, and then got our first declined one. I don’t know whether to feel good or bad about the declined invitation, as it is from my fiance’s godfather and his 3rd (4th?) wife who we as a couple really have nothing to do with. But my future MIL insisted we invite them despite the fact that the godfather gives me to creeps and is flaky like there’s no tomorrow. I think I almost feel justified in not wanting him there because I figured he wouldn’t come to the wedding, and that future MIL’s must-have guest-list was far longer than my own.

    We haven’t received another RSVP card in the last week, so now I am getting the sneaking suspicion that I sent them out too early. I thought I was being considerate by sending the invites out sooner rather than later for those guests who don’t have the full details, but now I’m wondering if I’ve just given people way too much time to forget to fill out their RSVP cards and/or forget to mail them!

    • Candace Armstrong

      I think 4 months is great for destination. Any sooner you would have put people in a tough predicament (if they weren’t already saving for it). We’re having a similar thing with our destination wedding. Our hotel got hit hard early on and then hasn’t heard much more after the first two weeks. I think it’s just a reminder that some people are ON IT and some require a bit of…handholding, so to speak.

      • irsmitty

        Everything I’ve read about destination weddings points to sending invites out 3-4 months before the wedding date, so I’m right in the middle of that at 3 1/2 months to go. Our destination is in the U.S., halfway between my hometown in GA and where we live now in Philly. Everyone I have spoken to has booked their hotels, though most are choosing not to stay in the hotel in which we blocked rooms. We have about 60 guests invited, I am leaning towards half being “ON IT” and the other half…well…yeah.

        • ART

          We sent ours out 4 months in advance because nearly everyone has to make at least a 3.5-hour drive. We’ve had a similar RSVP trickle – a bunch came in right away, now it’s about 1 per week. Of the 45 or so we mailed, 12 still have not responded and our deadline is in two weeks.

          • irsmitty

            Aaah! I’m sorry to hear that you are still waiting on responses. Our wedding is around a 7 hour drive for most of those invited, but 10 to 15 hours for a handful of others, mostly my immediate family.

            I foresee being in the same situation in a few months and I am dreading it. We only have about 60 people invited and we speak to most of them on a regular basis, but most of those people still haven’t replied via the RSVP card. A verbal reply doesn’t really work in this situation!

  • http://karenmadrone.wordpress.com/ Karen

    I am so, so glad we are no longer in the third layer of hell that is rsvp’s. I had no idea going into it that this would be the hardest part. The first hard part was collecting addresses, which we did months in advance when we sent out the save the dates. You’d think the save the dates would have actually been the notice they needed. But clearly it wasn’t because we still had people asking when the date was, even after we sent the invite. People telling us, “Yes, we’ll rsvp. It’s [the invitation] is on our fridge.” Well, the fridge is not a good method for rsvp’ing. People who were thrilled when we asked for their address so we could send them the invitation but then never responded at all. We still don’t know why. One person who afterwards when we sent out the link to our photog’s website with our wedding on it responded back with “I’m so sorry I missed your event.” Missed our *event*?! Event? Is that what you thought it was? People who told us they didn’t show up because they were worried about it not being legal (we live in a non marriage equality state). What did they think? The police were going to show up? People who were maybes, didn’t show up, then were surprised when they heard through the grapevine that our wedding had a large number of people and that people loved it. How many people did they think would be there? If they thought just a few people were coming, you’d think they would take it even more seriously. The most fun one though, was M’s brother bringing up our wedding on facebook asking us if he could invite about nine people, tagging them all. He said he had *already invited* three of those people. He’s clearly never planned a wedding. I immediately messaged him and asked him to take down his post. People!

    • friedpod

      OH MY GOD. I had one cousin ask me to resend their invitation twice because apparently their mailman wants very badly to attend. Then they didn’t RSVP at all; turns out they were just simmering about the ‘no kids policy’ the whole time and the fact I’d invited one other kid to be IN my bridal party. So it was like an amazing Law and Order-y crossover episode type ish of wedding drama.

      • Megan

        thanks for the laugh out loud moment :)

      • ElisabethJoanne

        What the…

        We did have one invitation get sent back after double- and triple-checking the address. I don’t remember how it all worked out. I think they never got an invitation, but wouldn’t have been able to come because they were not local and the wife was heavily pregnant.

        • http://karenmadrone.wordpress.com/ Karen

          One of our invites was returned to us. I contacted the guest (through facebook) explaining that the invite was returned and asked for his mailing address. He gave me his email address. Again I asked for his mailing address. He did not respond and did not come to the wedding. I guess I seriously overestimated our importance in his life.

          • ElisabethJoanne

            Our problem was getting children’s names. We asked some people multiple times. People were so unused to children being invited, they couldn’t even respond to a text/email asking, “How many children do you have, and what are their names?” We had to put “and children” on some inner envelopes.

          • http://batman-news.com jbryant6

            I had to do that too. I even had to just put “The Smith Family” on a few, because they were extended family of my husband’s and no one could tell me the names!

          • Kelsey

            This. 10 people in my fiancée’s family still haven’t RSVP’d (we’re letting those be our just in case seats), but no one in my fiancée’s family can tell me if there are, in fact, one or two Amy Cs. Grrrrrrrrrr.

          • Kelly

            ha! those Amys.

          • qwerty

            This made me laugh. Mostly because we’re in the same boat as double check our list before sending out invitations – there may or may not be another Mr. W., who may or may not have a spouse, and no one seems to know for sure, but if he’s out there, darn it, we are obligated to send him an invitation.

        • Kayjayoh

          We had a friend announce on Google+ that his move that weekend had gone pretty well…the day after our invites had gone out. He then emailed after a bit to say that none of his forwarded mail had gotten to him yet, so we sent out a 2nd one. Then he got both at the same time.

        • Laura C

          We’ve gotten three invitations back so far. One of them I have since double-checked and it was the correct address. One I need to double check, but I’d gotten it from my friend no more than two weeks before sending so I feel like it was probably right. And one of them was a friend of my fiance’s and I don’t know the story.

          • ElisabethJoanne

            The one that got returned twice was a kind of unusual address. I think it was a numbered street. We first did what the old etiquette books say, “1234 First Street.” Then, after double-checking, we tried “1234 1st St.” Both got returned.

  • macaroni

    I have bridal shower RSVP drama! Friends of my stepmom are hosting a shower for me this weekend, and I just found out that 5 out of 7 of my bridesmaids didn’t RSVP. I’ve been really open with them about the fact that I’m only sending invites because I want them to feel included, and by NO means do I expect them to come to any/all (some live across the country) showers, and if they come to multiple to only bring a gift to one, if at all. But it really irks me that they didn’t RSVP. My matron of honor is the only bridesmaid coming to this shower (it’s out of state), so I knew how to reply without having to track them all down, but I REALLY don’t want this to be a problem once actual invitations go out. Is there a good way to let them know that it was frustrating (and frankly, embarrassing) to have to RSVP for them, and to please be more attentive in the future?

    I swear, sometimes I feel like I’m taking crazy pills. WHO DOESN’T RSVP?!? WERE THEY RAISED BY WOLVES?

    • MisterEHolmes

      Before she quit, one of my bridesmaid’s claimed she hadn’t RSVP’d to the shower (4 days from that time) because “she didn’t know if [I] wanted her to go.”

      Honey, you got an invitation. Do you want to go? Yes/No. Not hard!

      • Jess

        Hilariously, this is how R responded when I asked him out! “Well, I wasn’t sure if you wanted to go out with me.” I asked you didn’t I? I am NOT in the habit of asking people to do things I don’t want them to do.

    • Kat Robertson

      I had bridal shower RSVP trouble, too! I had to contact more than half the people the host invited. It felt very awkward, because I was embarrassed my friends were being so rude to my host, and also like I was demanding attendance from people for a party to give me presents when I really just needed a head count. Really sucked!

      • ART

        precisely!!!

  • JSwen

    We are on the second or third wave of invites because all of our families are coming from another time zone so as “no” responses came in, local friends got added. I was feeling weird about not having invited two very important guy friends from high school so I decided to invite them, three months out. One hasn’t responded to my text or email (welp, I don’t feel weird about not inviting him anymore!) and the other immediately and joyously responded but he’ll be in Oman at the time. So the end result looks much like the starting point (neither are coming) but I’m so glad I did it, for two very different reasons.

  • Jules

    RSVP drama from the guest side: not being included on the [informal-ish] invitation when you’re definitely invited and trying to explain to boyfriend why you want him to make sure. Stressing about whether someone IS invited or not on another invitation and hoping that if you ask, your friend will be honest enough with you to either say, “Oh I’m so sorry, but we won’t have space” or “of course” and be telling the truth. :(

    Feeling SUPER HAPPY when “and guest” IS included since it’s crystal clear, but then being slightly awkward since there’s no room to write in the name (only the # attending).

    Having to attend a wedding in the presence of your ex and his asshole friend who hates your boyfriend and tried to punch him at New Year’s.

    • JSwen

      Yeah, we only invited those we could name so no “and guest”s. The only vague language I used was “and family” when I didn’t want to misspell everybody’s weirdly named kids :)

    • ElisabethJoanne

      Worst for me was when I received a save-the-date but no invitation. I had to contact the groom with this real awkward “Is the wedding still on? Am I still invited?” stuff. He said my invitation had been lost among the group helping with addressing, but one was sent right away. It was a really great wedding.

      • ART

        This has happened to my mom twice (STD, no invite). She never followed up and didn’t go to the weddings. That’s part of the reason I plan to send a no-pressure reminder email before our RSVP deadline, hopefully to find out if any got lost along the way!

    • Kirstin

      I’ve gotten the Save the Date and no invite before. Not fun.

      My sister has twice been invited to bachelorette parties and/or bridal showers and then not the wedding (when everyone else invited to the bachelorette party was going to the wedding). I feel like that just feels awkward.

      • Kayjayoh

        Oh, that is awkward.

      • StevenPortland

        Yeah, a group of friends and me were all “pre-invited” to our mutual friends’s wedding. But then it got closer and closer to the wedding with no invite, and no mention of it from our friend. It was very awkward.

      • Jules

        Ick. WHY WHY WHY.

        Once I got a Facebook invitation to a shower (with over 60 guests…) to a girl I was in Youth Group with from ~4-5 years before. I had no idea she was engaged. I sent her a quick congrats and told her I unfortunately wouldn’t be able to make it, and how were things going? And she sent me back about 2 poorly written sentences and I never heard from again (no invite, for sure).

        Oh weddings.

        • ElisabethJoanne

          Best spin: Those are people taking “The bride shouldn’t plan her own shower” too far. They get a list from the mother-of-the-bride, or the bride’s Facebook friends, or something, and never run it by the bride. (Or, with over 60 guests, they do run it by the bride, but she doesn’t look at it super-careful.)

          I was in a similar situation where I received an oral invitation to a wedding ceremony, but no invitation to the reception. (which was fine, under the circumstances) Then I had to explain later to mutual friends why I wasn’t at the reception.

          • ART

            Yeah…after my initial list to my friend planning the shower, I never saw that a bunch of people got added, but not like ALL the people (as in, you’d for sure invite X if you were inviting Y, because otherwise X’s feelings will be hurt). I was not able to monitor the list and had no idea this was going on, and as a result my future step-mother-in-law (who I love, but hadn’t originally included for distance and not-creating-obligations reasons that somehow made sense at the time) was like the only person not invited, and took it really hard (naturally). That SUCKED. I feel terrible.

          • Kirstin

            Having been a Maid of Honor, I think that the bride is the only person who should get to dictate a guest list for a shower or bachelorette party. You should stick to what you get from her. I feel like actual date/time or activities can be a surprise, the guest list should not.

          • Jules

            Oooh. Hm. I like that. How awkward! Honestly, I never even realized I didn’t get invited to the wedding until months later since we weren’t even friends. But it was still pretty weird in retrospect.

      • Lindsey d.

        Reminds me of two friends and the wedding of one of their friends. First they were supposed to be bridesmaids, then readers, then were demoted to handing out the favors. They ignored the favors, then took them to the bar after the wedding and gave them out to randoms.

        • Alyssa M

          honestly can’t decide who in that story makes me more rage-ey… aaaahhhhh…

    • thefluter

      I’m in the “weddings” stage of life, and mostly I haven’t been offended by anything.

      But.

      My boyfriend and I have now been together 4 years. We live together. Another of his friends (whom we see fairly regularly) is getting married. Our save-the-date came recently, addressed to “Boyfriend’s Name & Guest”. I can’t help but feel a little slighted, since we almost always see these friends as a couple, even though I know they have a lot on their plates. Sigh.

  • Katelyn

    All of my RSVP drama comes from family – none of my mother’s three brothers or their families will be attending. All three made it to both of my brothers’ weddings. Their excuse is the travel (it’s in Las Vegas) but they all had to travel extensively for the other two weddings as well. Also, some of my closest cousins on my dad’s side recently had to inform me they won’t be there, either. My fiance’s family will be similarly sparse.

    I put on a brave face for everyone and say “it’s ok, we understand, it’s a destination wedding and people have a lot going on in their lives. We’ll send pictures/see you at the family reunion/etc.” But I’m going to just up and say it here: I feel rejected and very,very sad. 200 people invited. 45 attending.

    This wedding sucks.

    • JSwen

      Same situation! I hope you and your mother can get past it and enjoy the people who do make the trek to fabulous Las Vegas for your wedding!

    • scw

      I’m sorry to hear that you’re feeling that way about your wedding. If it’s any consolation, you’re going to get a lot of wonderful face time with those 45 people, and be able to make memories you would miss out on if you had to make the rounds to say hi to 200 people (or even 100).

      • Katelyn

        I know, and that’s definitely what I tell myself, I’m 99.9% of the time one of those half-full types. There have been some lovely surprises! But to have such a huge part of my family, who have always kind of treated me like the redheaded stepchild, reject me so publicly is very hurtful.

        Oh! And our friends are AMAZING. Right now they’re like 80% of the attendees and just thinking about their support gets me a bit weepy. So I’ve got that going for me.

    • Jen

      :( You will still love having time with those 45, I absolutely promise!

      • Katelyn

        Yeah, I flip-flop between being stoked and sad, and I promise most of the time I settle on “stoked”. I just wish my family liked me :-/

  • Meigh McPants

    There are people that are still dead to me b/c they couldn’t manage a proper RSVP for our wedding. (Mostly b/c it made the wife cry and there’s no coming back from that.) I take my RSVPs seriously.

    Recently, I was handling RSVPs for a client, and I got one that just said “SALMON”. No identifying info whatsoever, not even a return address on the envelope. SALMON. (Of course, I had numbered them so I knew who it was, but still.) SALMON.

    • YetAntherMegan

      And your choices were beef vs pasta, right? ;-)

    • http://www.aprilbooth.com/ April

      I’m laughing so hard at this. I’m nowhere near this stage (firmly pre-engaged) so I can only imagine the lasers that will shoot out of my eyes the day I get a returned RSVP with nothing written on it but SALMON.

    • http://www.smittenchickens.com/ Sarah Hoppes

      damnit. I just did a literal spit-take.

      • Meigh McPants

        My life is now complete. Salmon.

    • Jenna

      I will now be listing the RSVP options as “SALMON” or “not SALMON”. Cannot. Stop. Laughing.

  • Kelly

    My RSVP struggle is that my family & his family are treating them like concert tickets– transferable. I chose, after much debate, to invite my uncle’s super-wonderful girlfriend instead of his estranged daughter (my cousin), who is incredibly mean to his girlfriend. Instead, he uninvited the girlfriend and is trying to bring daughter instead. Or my in-laws, who basically are telling their family that an invite for “uncle sam and aunt susie” really means “any two people who feel like a free meal.” We crafted our 115-person invite list with care and are excited to be surrounded by our loved ones. Turns out, we really want Uncle Sam and Aunt Susie to be there, not cousin whats-his-name that is always rude to us. RSVPs aren’t transferable, folks.

    • Sarah E

      Transferable?! Omg. Sending strength.

      • Kelly

        Thanks for the love, you three. My sweet fiance doesn’t really agree with me on this one, so he (a long time ago) told his mom that it was fine. In his defense, there are some good reasons. And it IS fine in practicality- I don’t expect anything to change now. But I’m glad to hear that the premise IS IN FACT INSANELY RUDE.

    • Lawyerette510

      I think this is a hard conversation to have, but an important one to have right away, otherwise I could see it leading to hurt feelings on all sides that linger for a long time.

    • Jen

      At my very small wedding (two weeks ago), my now-husband’s aunt was sick so she and his uncle couldn’t make it. At some point before that day (we still aren’t sure when), said uncle contacted his sister (my husbands mother) and gave her a heads up that he was sending his two teenage children instead. (Ironically he had already been told by my husband that he couldn’t bring his kids to the wedding when he tried to RSVP for them the first time). It was an awfully dramatic hour once we found out (by calling him!), mostly about where an additional car could park (since apparently this affected carpooling plans that the uncle had already agreed to). It was stressful and absolutely not appreciated on my wedding day. Aka I feel you. :( good luck!

  • Laura

    Strangely enough, the fact that I think my RSVP cards are really beautiful/awesome/adorable kind of attenuates the annoyance of organizing them and the sting of the “Regrets.” Also, we did this on the back, which has been so much fun to read (like when your cousin and your German friend have the same answer):

  • Sarah E

    My drama isn’t from my wedding, it’s from my cousins. And as yet, my reaction may be out of order, only time will tell.

    Dad keeps reminding me about my cousin’s wedding in July. Dad received a save the date, I did not. Dad did not keep the envelope (nor read it closely, in typical fashion), so I may or may not have been included on said envelope. I live 1100 miles away from my Dad and my extended family, and have lived in said established adult household for nearly 3 years. I keep having to talk myself down a bit because I’m gearing up for hurt feelings no matter what: If I’m not invited, that’s hurtful (we’re an everyone-invited-nearly-everyone-shows family). If I AM invited, Cousin couldn’t be bothered to ask his mom for my address and send me my own grown-up Save the Date (I know his mom has my address, she sends me birthday cards).

    True, I couldn’t attend the past two cousin weddings (One was about a week after we moved across the country in a UHaul, the other was Thanksgiving weekend, so I couldn’t afford plane tickets). BUT. If you’re going to send me an invite for the bridal shower, I expect a save the date. Obviously, your future mother-in-law who never met me can ascertain my address.

    Maybe the save the date was lost in the mail. I don’t even consider save the dates all that necessary. Obviously a lot of family emotion dredged up.

    • ElisabethJoanne

      I’ve missed weddings for similar reasons. I still voted and had my driver’s license in California, but I was spending most of my time at law school in Virginia. I never saw a save-the-date or invitation, and no one passed the info along to me. Had I gotten timely information, I could have arranged my exams around the wedding, but I didn’t.

      My advice would be to figure out whether you were supposed to get a save-the-date. Best would be for your dad to contact the couple and say he tossed the envelope and can’t remember whether you were included. Maybe also say, “And if you did mean to include KC, it’d be better to send it and the invitation direct to her at xyz address.”

      • Lawyerette510

        I think your advice is spot-on!

      • Sarah E

        I’ve reminded my dad that I don’t know if I’m invited (every time he reminds me when the wedding is) and that he should put out feelers to my aunt to see what’s up, without causing drama. The trick is reminding my dad at a time very close to when he’ll be talking to my aunt, cuz otherwise he forgets. Classic absent-minded professor type.

        If the invite goes to Dad and includes me, I will have to try very very hard not to be passive-aggressive and send a self-made RSVP from my home address :-) Every shower invite I get, I acknowledge, send on my regrets and express appreciation at being included, so maybe my karma will balance.

        • Jessica Nelson

          Wait…you got an invite to the shower, but didn’t get a save the date? To me that says that the save the date simply got lost in the mail, or that excel went wonky for them, or something. If you are close enough to your aunt that she’s still sending you birthday cards, then just call her up – or maybe send her an e-mail to avoid putting her on the spot. “Hey, my dad got a save the date and I didn’t, but I did get an invitation to the bridal shower — should I be planning on attending the wedding too? Oh, and you know my dad, he’s such an absent professor type…it’d be better to just mail me these things directly. Thanks!”
          tl;dr: shower invite + no STD = assume a mistake on somebody’s part, not something intentional

  • YOQ

    We are slowly but surely getting our RSVP cards in the mail. We did an ad-lib style RSVP, and we’re enjoying reading the replies, but I think some of our oldest guests may be a bit confused. The RSVP is a postcard, and we left the back blank with the option for people to write a haiku or draw a picture. It’s been really fun to see the results, but I’m pretty sure it slowed down the responses. The one thing we did that I am *really* glad that we did was to write everyone’s names on their response cards in invisible ink. Someone suggested it here on APW and oh my gosh, what a great idea! This way we don’t have to keep track of which number goes to which guest, the guest doesn’t see a thing, and yes–it definitely is still readable after a journey through the post.

    • JDrives

      We received an ad-lib RSVP card and it was SO. MUCH. FUN to fill it out! Where did you get your invisible ink pen?

      • Erin

        A little late to the party, but we did the same thing – and we picked our pen up at the Paper Source, but you could probably get one at a craft store, like Michael’s etc.

  • Stephanie B.

    My favorite RSVP story from our wedding is that my husband’s best friend (who lives a few blocks away) brought the RSVP card over in person the day he got the invitation. Way to make us feel loved!

  • veronica

    RSVPs are due for my wedding in one week…yet only HALF of the people have sent them in. We have a distant relative who is angry that we didn’t invite her kids (no kids invited) and will most likely not answer because of it. My other favorite part is my future MIL inviting random people on the fly without consulting us, and then getting angry when we tell her there is no room and she needs to rescind the verbal invitation.

    • Alyssa M

      Aren’t verbal invitations kind of offensive to the guest anyways?

      • veronica

        I suppose they will be offended when they never receive an actual invite in the mail :/

  • Sarah

    This is my great (or is it awful?) example of a bad RSVP situation.

    We chose to have our wedding in the city that most of his family is currently living in, even though his family, of the two families, and I have struggled with this decision since the day it was made. The reason we decided to have it near his family was so that his grandparents (who physically just wouldn’t be able to handle travelling) could still attend. In my head, this is an excellent reason! I want them to be there, they are the grandparents! It is completely legitimate, and if we had to choose again right now where to have our wedding, we would probably still choose the same place. (Or just elope, we definitely should have just eloped months ago) But I am really struggling to be ok with how few people from my family will get to be at my wedding because of this decision. For a month or two, this was the root of basically any disagreement we had, even some non wedding related things, because I felt like we were ignoring my family.

    Then, to top it all off, I found out that my father’s parents are not going to attend my wedding, because they don’t want to/cant physically handle travel. Honestly, it just knocked the wind out of me. We had picked his hometown because that was the only way for all the grandparents to be there, but it turns out we were just picking which grandparents we wanted to attend! I have really had to give myself time to grieve about this, as odd as that sounds. It’s just by far the shittiest thing about this whole thing. My grandparents wont be at my wedding, because we decided to have it in a place where his grandparents could go. It’s just so impossible to avoid “picking a family” in this situation, and its so hard not to get defensive about not picking mine.

    And as I write this I struggle with the guilt of complaining about it! Because I know I’m blessed to even have living grandparents that want to support me and my fiance. And after our wedding and our honeymoon, we will have plenty of opportunities to see my grandparents, where we may not have many chances left to see his. So I just go between feeling guilty for being selfish and feeling unhappy that my family are the ones burdened with making the trip.

    I am also worried about coming off as a big whiner. Because I am about to have a lovely wedding surrounded by a group of people who love my fiance and I, but I am sad about two specific people who won’t be there. SO MANY EMOTIONS ALL THE TIME.

    • ElisabethJoanne

      Your feelings are normal and legitimate. The truth is, almost every American wedding is a “destination wedding” for a good portion of the guests. And any date or place a couple chooses will necessarily exclude some loved one, as a practical matter. We just make the best decisions we can with the information on hand.

    • Anne

      (((hugs))) I’m in this situation, but in your husband’s place. Of 11 tables at our reception, only 3 will be filled by my fiance’s family and friends. The rest are from “my side.” We chose to have our wedding in my family’s hometown so my grandmother could attend, but she passed away unexpectedly a month after we set the date. None of the other grandparents can travel to attend, so we will have none at our wedding and I can completely relate to your feeling of grief. Can you think about other ways to include them, like having an engagement party or shower in your grandparents’ town?

  • Kelsey

    All of my coupled cousins want to bring their girl friends/boy friends… I was very generous with guests–if they’ve been to a family holiday ever, or you live together, they’re invited. But now there are an additional 8 guests, and I’ve never met any of them. My mom, who’s paying, did not understand why I wanted to tell them no/was upset–we have room, and she’s paying–and told me I was being a huge brat. Isn’t the fact that I don’t want your high school fling taking up my time in my receiving line enough of a reason? That and the principle of the matter… (I wrote your name, and your name only on the envelope FOR A REASON).

  • Gina

    Oh man. The One Big Fight my husband and I had during wedding planning was about RSVPs. He kept being non-confrontational about his friends who would RSVP with rando plus ones when they hadn’t been given plus ones, and I kept being furious at him.

    It gets better. Which is to say, either you scream “fuck it! we’ll invite the whole damn world!” while furiously consuming a pint of Chunky Monkey while your fiance looks at you in horror, OR you’ll tactfully and respectfully contact the guest in question and let them know you only have room for X people and aren’t adding anyone at this point. I’m not saying which of those two things I did.

  • JennaRose

    My RSVP drama was as a guest being invited to my live-in boyfriend’s brother’s wedding as a Guest. We had been dating for over 2 years and I had met the couple several times, whenever we visited his out-of-state family. I am also facebook friends with the brother if he needed to look up a hard to spell last name. Then the icing on the cake was that my name was spelled incorrectly on the table card. I have passive-aggressively thought (not seriously!) of inviting them to our wedding at Brother + Guest although I don’t think they would get it.

    • Jacky Speck

      I’ve heard so many different versions of “The Official Wedding Etiquette Rules,” one of which is “anyone who’s not a spouse gets invited as ‘Guest’.” So, maybe it wasn’t personal and they just thought “this is what we’re supposed to do.” Still, to me it would feel very weird to do that when I actually KNOW the person. As a Jacky who often gets invited as “Jackie” I definitely get the name misspelling frustration, too.

      • thefluter

        Do those rules apply to save the dates, too? A similar thing happened to me — live-in boyfriend, have been together longer than the marrying couple, I was the “& Guest” — and I’m a little miffed about it.

        • Jacky Speck

          I heard the “any unmarried person = Guest no matter now well you know them” thing after being inexplicably And-Guested myself on a wedding invitation. So I can’t say if it applies to save-the-dates.

          “And Guest” makes practical sense on an invitation if you don’t know who the addressee will be bringing, because then they could put a name on the RSVP. For a save-the-date, you would probably not include “And Guest” at all because the formal invitation is coming later. And in either case, it doesn’t make sense to “And Guest” someone that you know, even if only by name.

          • thefluter

            Interesting. I guess there are a lot of “etiquette rules” (fake or not) that people think they’re abiding by. Emily Post says couples who live together should be addressed by both names, so I’m going to continue to feel deservingly miffed. ;)

            (and then, of course, say nothing, attend the wedding, send a gift, and wish them nothing but the best)

    • Alyssa M

      Yeah, the man and I have been together 8 years at this point, living together for four years, and he still got “and guest” to his buddies wedding in March. At first I was offended “we’ve been together longer than the couple marrying! I’ve been around at least as long as he’s known the groom!” But then I just figured, the bride probably didn’t put that much thought into it. What was for me, something of a slight, was probably just “ok, Keith’s in a relationship, give him a guest, next invitation please!”

  • Ariel

    What perfect timing! I wrote in last weeks happy hour how upset I was over a recent “no” RSVP. It is that I really really really wanted these people there and I really really really thought they were coming. I cry over every unexpected “no”. I was hardcore crying over the one last week – and then I realized today that I don’t think any of my extended relatives will be coming (I don’t have many – and they’re not coming). Immediate family will be there (which wasn’t even a given at one point – sibling in the military), but I don’t think any aunts and uncles will be. I’m glad I have friends.

    • Eh

      TWO of my cousins came to my wedding. I cried a lot when I realized that pretty much none of my cousins were coming. I understood (our wedding was a long way from where they live and it was in the fall so they had work and their kids had school) but it still hurt. One of my cousins that did come was married the year before (the other cousin that came was her brother) and me and my sister were the only people from her father’s side of the family at her wedding. She knew how much I hurt.

  • mackenzie

    Or the time that you paid a professional stationer to develop a custom suite for your wedding and she, being rather “green behind the ears,” chose paper for the RSVP postcards that disintegrated in the USPS machines. They arrived to us shredded, if at all. She also missed every deadline, sent us the wrong number of invitations, plastered our personal info all over the internets before our wedding date and without our permission, and, and…I had been so excited about our whole stationary situation (vintage hankie invitations and all), but she was truly the worst vendor ever.

    • Alyssa M

      Oh my gosh that’s a nightmare!!! I got nauseous just reading that!

    • ART

      oh noooo, that’s terrible. we did ours ourselves, and while i was pleased with everything we did (printed at Catprint), i really wished we’d mailed ourselves the hard copy proof of the save the date postcard, because it also had a bit of trouble going through USPS, and while i’m pretty sure it got to everyone, half of them had our website URL ripped away – that must have been the corner the machine caught :(

  • Ashley Hairston Doughty

    The best: during the weekend of our engagement party, my maternal grandmother threatens to not show up to our wedding because my THIRD COUSINS were not invited. My mom (the rock of my family) cries.

    Good times.

    My grandmother did show up.

    No, my third cousins were still not invited.

    • Eh

      My MIL wanted to invite her cousins and my FIL’s cousins and their kids (e.g., my husband’s second cousins) and I said no. My FIL backed me up and said that that group of people would not be offended if they were not invited (being “offended” was our line to determine if some people were invited – e.g., if they were offended that they were not invited to my BIL’s wedding then they should probably be invited to our wedding).

  • Penny7b

    We saved ourselves the heartache and did email invitations for most of them. We still did printed ones with self addressed response cards for our parents and grandparents, but everyone below the age of 60 got and email with a lovely PDF invitation they can print themselves if they like. It might seem gauche to some, but it meant that we got most of our rsvps within 48 hours, most with a lovely note about how excited they were and of course All of them clearly identified.

    While I can see how the old style communication is romantic and sweet, I’m not sure it’s a great idea to expect people to learn a completely different style of communication solely for the purpose of writing and responding to wedding invitations.

    • Alyssa M

      I think it really depends on your people. A LOT of my guests would be very weird/offended by non paper invites…

  • Lily

    Our RSVP disaster has now been sorted out–but it was insane enough to mention in case it happens to any of you… My husband and I had to move right before our wedding, and didn’t have our new address by the time we had to order the RSVP cards. Our solution was to address them to a local PO box that my Mom could check.

    Sounds good, right? Nope. A glitch in the post office system meant that about 1/3 of our RSVP’s got returned to sender, ending up back in guest’s mailboxes all over the country. The post office could not explain why it happened, or why some were returned and others got through no problem. Also, the very first person to get theirs returned was my mother-in-law’s elderly neighbor. You better believe I heard about the problem quickly…

    The hardest lesson we learned: many people don’t write their return addresses on envelopes. We had a surprisingly large number of guests (including most of my extended family) who both sent their RSVPs to us without a return address and also got caught in the post office glitch. Those poor RSVP envelopes must just be lingering in post office limbo somewhere.

    In some ways this gave us a great excuse to call people whose RSVP’s didn’t get there on time (or at all)–but it was also the biggest pain ever… Ironically, most of the people who got bounced back by the post office were also people who had replied right away. Whoops. Guess that’s what you get for being prompt and respectful with your RSVP…

    • ART

      Almost no one has put a return address on their RSVP envelope, which surprises me because I am pretty sure I always put one when I send anything, so yeah…wouldn’t have thought of this before, but putting their return address on for them, while a pain, might be a good idea!

      • Jacky Speck

        I put return addresses on all the RSVP envelopes too. I was so paranoid about lost RSVP’s after the post office managed to lose both my photographer AND florist’s initial “reserve your date” deposit checks in the mail. So far I don’t *think* we’ve had any RSVP’s get lost… But now I’m starting to worry. After all, those long-cancelled deposit checks had return addresses on them and we still have no idea where they ended up :X

  • Bsquillo

    We’re about one week away from the RSVP deadline I put on our invites, and so far about 40 out of 182 guests have responded…so yeah, my spidey senses are telling me there will be a lot of follow-up phone calls. And we even did the RSVPs online- super easy, takes 1 minute, and you don’t even have to put pants on to drop something in the mailbox. I don’t know how it could get any easier.

    I’m trying to remind myself that unless someone has planned a wedding themselves or been to a lot of weddings previously, they may just not know the expectation or the importance of the RSVP. I didn’t grow up attending a lot of weddings, so until I planned my own, I didn’t really understand that not responding or RSVPing yes but not showing up could cost the bride and groom hundreds of dollars. I also grew up in the South where very few weddings involve a seated, formal dinner, and the more common practice is a bunch of heavy snacks or a buffet/potluck. And people seem to invite everyone they know to weddings in the South, so I just always assumed folks guessed at how much food it would take to feed a couple hundred people. One bride I knew basically had an open invite to her wedding, and had over 1,000 people show up (this would be my personal hell, I think.)

    Anyways, I’m trying to give people the benefit of the doubt and not become rage-y at people who are slow to respond….trying is the key word.

  • Lizzy

    I’m enjoying the little notes that are coming in with the RSVP’s, but some of the declines hurt. I know that not everyone can come, but it’s an irrational thing, I guess. I’m a little anxious about the pace that they’re coming in, but there’s not much I can do about that. Two have come back, which was super weird, because their save-the-dates went through. Apparently FH’s cousins have moved to the Netherlands between September and now.

  • http://innercupcake.blogspot.com innercupcake

    Having not yet gotten to the point of invitations for our wedding (although it approaches), my most cringe-worthy RSVP story is really more of a problem on my end, which is when I wasn’t sure whether my significant other (now fiance, at the time living together for a year an half and dating for three years) was invited to my cousin’s wedding. My dad’s (now wife, at the time girlfriend of about a year or so) was for sure invited, so I felt it was fair to think my SO who I had been with longer and who had met said cousin and a lot of my extended family at brother’s wedding previously, traveled home with me, etc was invited. Turns out, my extended family hadn’t really realized how serious we were and had lumped him in more as a plus one (and none of my cousin’s friends were allowed to bring plus ones) and not an SO/family, so when I rsvp’d including him, cousin emailed me to say, sorry he can’t come, we don’t have room, I got suuuuuuper upset and cried (this was in serious pre-engagement phase where we were committed to each and I was a little annoyed that we weren’t engaged because I wanted people to take the relationship seriously, so it hit me really hard that dad’s gf was invited and my bf wasn’t) and I was facing the idea of going alone to a fairly expensive across the country wedding that I had already made and paid for travel arrangements for two people. When I mentioned I was surprised and upset to my brother who passed it along to my SIL, who then got more family involved….urgh. I still cringe thinking about this situation that I wanted to handle as an adult (and didn’t realize the way I do now going through planning what I was asking of my cousin and family), that wound up being a family discussion. The fallout? My SO came to the wedding, and I’m glad he was there because we only get to see some of my extended family at funerals and weddings really, but I’m still unsure of whether its permanently damaged my relationship with my cousin- we’re not super close, but its something I value, and I never received a thank-you note from her for the wedding gift plus SO commented that she didn’t really talk to him at her wedding (really big wedding, so we didn’t really get to see her much :/). I hope that she and the rest of her family will attend my wedding. So many Feels over one tiny piece of paper.

  • DKTX

    To add another perspective, I was once one of those people who got a last-minute invite due to an impolite family member who wanted me to come although I hadn’t been invited. The decision about whether or not I should accept the invitation once it was begrudgingly extended, or not go and be perceived as snobbish for wrangling an invitation and then turning it down was _terrible_. Sometimes there’s just no winning the wedding etiquette game.

    In case anyone wants to hear the whole dramatic tale:
    I saw on Facebook that a 22-year-old cousin, who was in the Navy, was marrying his girlfriend. Good for them, I thought, and then forgot all about it. I’m not at all close to that branch of my dad’s family, even though they live relatively close to me, and haven’t seen any of them in years. I didn’t even know my cousin, the groom, was dating someone until I saw the engagement on Facebook.

    Some time later, in June, my mom* calls me to ask if she can spend the night at my place the weekend of cousin’s wedding in August. She wants to stay with me because I live nearer to the wedding than she does. (She’s about a 3 hour drive away). I tell her that’s fine, I haven’t received an invitation to the wedding nor did I expect one, but she can stay at my house regardless.

    *(I’d like to note here that this was a wedding on my dad’s side of the family, and he and my mom divorced 30 years ago, and my dad passed away ages ago, so he’s not a factor in all of this.)

    Sometime mid-July, my mom calls again and asks if I ever got an invitation to cousin’s wedding. I tell her no, and again, didn’t really expect one. She got an invitation, but of my three sisters, A, who is middle-aged and lives with my mom, didn’t get an invite; B, who is married with kids and lives 500 miles away *did* get an invite; and C, who lives out of the country and hasn’t seen anyone in my dad’s family in 20 years, did not get an invite. I sort of snort at this, because B got an invite, and A & I didn’t, presumably because we are unmarried spinsters and my aunt, the mother of the groom (MOG) has always been weird about including single people in family events. She was still sending a Christmas card to my mom’s house, addressed to my mom and me, for years after I graduated college and was living on my own in another city. (A lived elsewhere at that time). Typical Aunt MOG, I think, and then whatever, I didn’t expect to be invited and I have a strict policy about not going to these sorts of things unless I get an invitation (sent to me, where I live, not tacked on to my mom’s invite. I’m in my 30s, yo). I assure my mom that she can still stay at my house even though I wasn’t invited to the wedding. I now have an out-of-town bachelorette party that I’m going to on the same weekend (although I’m due back before the wedding, which is on Sunday evening).

    My mom isn’t happy about that though, because she feels weird about going to the wedding when A, who lives with her, wasn’t invited, and about staying with me when I wasn’t invited. So she calls my dad’s sister, my Aunt E, who is the keeper of the gossip in my dad’s family and who my mom keeps in touch with. Aunt E tells my mom that her oldest daughter, who is married with kids, got an invite, but her younger daughter, who is in her late 20s and still lives at home, didn’t. But Aunt E plans to bring her younger daughter along to the wedding, because everyone knows Aunt MOG is weird about singletons and it’s family and everyone should be invited, and we should all just come. My mom, knowing that’s not going to fly with me – I won’t go unless I get an invitation – says as much to Aunt E. Aunt E then calls Aunt MOG and reads her the riot act for not inviting single adults in the family, and Aunt MOG then dutifully calls my mom to ask for addresses for A, C, and me. My mom, who felt weird previously because we weren’t all invited, now feels weird for having stirred the pot, and tells Aunt MOG that A lives with her and doesn’t need a separate invitation, and C still lives abroad and wouldn’t be able to come anyway, but Aunt MOG can send an invitation to me.

    This all gets relayed to me, and I think, great, now it looks like my feelings were hurt for not being invited and I’ve wrangled an invitation, when in reality, I didn’t care and would be just as happy not to go, given that I’ll be partying all weekend with my friends. A week or so later, I get an invite sent to “Mrs. My Name” in the mail, and I chuckle at the “Mrs.” and chalk it up to the bride not having a clue who I am and why she’s inviting me all of a sudden. And a week or so after that, I get another invitation, this one addressed to “Ms. My Name Misspelled.” I have no idea what’s up with that, but whatever. I am a bit put out though, because neither invitation has an RSVP card or a return address, so I have no way of letting them know if I plan to come. Maybe they just assumed I was coming because of all the preceding family drama? Who knows. I emailed Aunt MOG (fancy that, direct communication) and asked her where I should send my RSVP, and she gave me her address. I feel like after all this, I have to go to the wedding, lest I cause offense, so I write a nice note on my own note card and let them know I’m coming and happy to be included.

    A week or so before the wedding, I send another card with a check to my cousin. Their registry is one of those honeymoon registries, and I figure that since he’s still in the Navy they’re probably not setting up house just yet, and money is the best gift. The wedding is fine, and I enjoy catching up with my dad’s family. After the whole thing is over, a month or so later I get a thank-you card from the bride that says, verbatim, “thank you for coming to our wedding and thank you for the gift,” which… okay. That about wraps it all up.

  • musicalsock

    My RSVP card was a mock-Lichtenstein cartoon that my brother drew, with my and my other half looking at the guestlist. On one of the replies I received, my (female) friend wrote the words ‘Help me, I’m trapped!!!’ on the ‘guestlist’ bit of the cartoon. I wasn’t wholly surprised when she announced her separation from her husband 11 months later.. :(

  • Apples

    as of last Saturday which was the due date, a little over 1/3 of our guests did not respond on time, and weirdly most of the non-responses are family (mostly aunts and uncles and their families). That’s very frustrating. Now to go track all of them down…

    • http://www.nthdegreedesigns.com/blog Seshat

      That was pretty much exactly our situation too! And they were almost entirely relatives from my mom’s side. My own grandmother never bothered to send any sort of RSVP and that was probably the worst.

      • Amanda

        Yep, our deadline is tomorrow and still waiting for my grandma’s response. I even mentioned it to her last weekend when I talked to her on the phone. “Hey, haven’t gotten your RSVP yet. Were you going to send that soon?” Her reply was “Well, you know I’m coming so I didn’t see the rush. I was deciding what to eat.” GAH.

        • Eh

          My step-grandmother verbally responded to my father and expected that he would tell me. After the deadline had passed I called her and asked if she was coming. She was surprised that my father hadn’t passed along the message (my father does not like being a messager). No she was not coming because the trip was too long and she had no one to travel with.

  • katie

    RE: B list invites. I would caution anyone using this method of inviting people to be very very careful. I have been a B list invitee before, and I have a marvelous friend, who is a phenomenal wedding guest, who is REGULARLY a B list invitee. He gets so so so offended. When I was a B lister, I was also so so offended. I think the situation where you can B list people without hurting their feelings is very limited. Let’s all remember that yes, it’s expensive to throw a wedding and pay for guests, but it’s also expensive to attend weddings these days when there’s travel and hotels and meals involved.

    Personal Rant: We’ve got two months to go before invites go out, but I am anticipating horrendousness. We’ve started collecting addresses, which FH has asked some aunts to help with (there are a ton of cousins), and everytime they send us some, they’ve added people. HIS AUNTS. Then, his parents have verbally invited three couples that they know without asking first. And we’ve got the whole “invitation as a ticket” situation with some family already calling his parents and letting them know that they’re certain such-and-such child will be invited, but he’ll be at school so we’re going to bring daughter’s boyfriend instead.

    Listen people. No. The truth is, we’re already going to max out the capacity of our venue at this point, and we’re COUNTING on some people not coming. That’s how this works. Some people can come, some can’t. You got an invitation EVEN THOUGH WE KNEW YOU COULDN’T COME because you are important, and we wish you could. You don’t get to go around scalping your invite if you can’t attend. It’s not some form of currency. /rant.

    • ART

      I agree with you about the B list. My mom thinks I can just invite a bunch of extra people now that we’ve had some “no”s (less than 2 months out, when we sent invitations in Feb.) I just can’t bring myself to do it, it would be too obvious what the circumstances are.

      • Lynsey

        I am a proponent of the B list under the right circumstances. I started a new job after getting engaged, and didn’t know any of my co-workers well enough to invite them initially. However, after receiving regrets from a group of family friends we thought were a sure thing, a table opened up. I ended up inviting a few friends from work and their spouses and I’m so glad that I did! We had the best time and I’m so glad they were there to celebrate with me.

        That being said, I think if you are doing a B list, it’s important to be upfront. Tell the person the reason why you couldn’t invite them before, the reason why you are inviting them now, and express understanding if they can’t come on short notice. If you are sincere and genuinely want someone there, I think most people are understanding and supportive.

    • Jess

      R and I were a B list attendee for someone who I had a known for a while, but didn’t really KNOW when they first decided to get married. He had actually told a friend to ask me as a date in case they didn’t have enough invites.

      I was super happy that we got invited, since our friendship had gotten deeper after the initial round of invitations/save the dates, but totally understood not inviting me the first time around.

      But I was local to the wedding, and was one of those strange “got to know them too late” situations… so… YMMV.

    • Berkshire

      I’ve been a B-lister once, and we turned it down – it would have been a lot of travel for someone that I wasn’t very close to, and she was moving away after the wedding, making it even less likely that we’d stay in touch. I did send a gift.

      We knew about some “no’s” early enough that we could have done a B-list. But a friend verbally invited several people who weren’t invited, which meant we had to clarify to them that they weren’t invited, which meant we couldn’t quietly add them onto the list later.

  • Berkshire

    We had a few people who we were positive would come (very close friends) who didn’t because … well, they got opportunities to do something else. Those really hurt. But I remind myself that neither were married at the time, and I think that some people don’t realize how much it can hurt to have a close friend not come. Before I got married, I almost bailed on a wedding because I was in a bad mood, and I really didn’t think she’d notice. I’m so glad I didn’t, because now that I’ve been a bride, I know that she definitely would have noticed and been hurt.

    The “funniest” RSVP we got (well, we laugh at it now, but at the time it caused stress): the childhood best friend of my husband’s aunt (no, I have absolutely *no* idea why we had to invite her in the first place), RSVPd for herself “plus guest”. She literally wrote that. We had to hound her to find out who she was bringing so that we could put the name on the place card. There was a slightly rational explanation – she was bringing one of her (adult) sons, but hadn’t figured out which one yet. However, at the time, all I could do was scream to the heavens “You, a person who means absolutely NOTHING to either the bride or the groom, invited an extra person to our wedding, and YOU don’t know who it is????? ARE YOU F@$#ING KIDDING ME???”

    … whew, I feel better.

    • Eh

      Four months before a friend’s wedding her MOH (who was her best friend) tells her she is “unavailable” (but doesn’t go into details – makes it seem like it’s a money issue). My friend found that that the “best friend” ditched her wedding to be in another wedding. They are no longer friends.

    • http://www.moxiebrightevents.com Renee @ Moxie Bright Events

      I has one of those too! I am so glad I am not the only one! A friend of my fathers, whom I had never met, wrote “his name +TBD” on his RSVP card. Um. TBD? I didn’t get a name until 4 days before the wedding. He brought his sister.

  • TeaforTwo

    I had completely forgotten about this until now, but another thing I learned from our RSVP period was the beauty of electronic invitations. (Which we didn’t have.)

    We sent out gorgeous paper pearlescent invitations on thick paper from Minted. And then two got lost in the mail. One was – thank heavens – to my little brother, who knew full well that he was invited. The other was to my best friend from high school. I was terrified that more had gone missing, and so in mid-October started calling people who hadn’t responded to make sure they had received theirs. It was two months before the wedding, and I’m afraid it ruffled a few feathers from at least one couple who thought we were shaking them down for an early response. It was never our intention, I just knew that it takes some advance notice to hold a Saturday in mid-December.

    Sigh. I am so glad that getting married is something I will only do once.

  • Eh

    The RSVP process was very emotionally draining.
    1. My husband has a set of cousins who complained that their children were not invited to his brother’s wedding and as a result they felt that they were not welcome either. We invited the three of them, their husbands and the children (9 between the three of them). In the end none of them came to our wedding (even though they were local). At least this time they had nothing to complain about.
    2. My BIL and his family did not RSVP as they hadn’t decided if they were coming due to a family feud. We hoped for the best and included them on the “attending list”. My inlaws were furious that my BIL would be so rude to not make the decision before our wedding (which didn’t really help with the family feud).
    3. People inviting themselves to my wedding: This was mostly a result of my MIL not checking the guest list over closely enough. I don’t know who to invite from my husband’s side and my husband doesn’t know people’s names or how they are related (not kidding, on his initial list he forgot his aunt how he used to live with). The husband of my MIL’s friend was not invited but his name was on the RSVP so I got the point. Another family friend was forgotten but his daughter was invited and she inquired if he could come too. My response was, “yes, ofcourse”. My MIL couldn’t believe that she had forgotten him and my husband had purposely left him off the list to keep our numbers down. In the end, both of these people did not attend our wedding as other things came up.
    4. “Every single person we invited to our wedding, we invited with a reason.” We invited a lot of people because I have a large family that I am close to but we love all of them and wanted all of them there.
    a. It really hurt when people I really wanted there (cousins, step-grandmother) were unable to attend. Our wedding was a long trip for my family as they live all over the country but I was hoping more would make the trip. Our wedding was also in the fall which made it difficult for some people to attend.
    b. My BIL’s wife (involved in the family feud) flat out told us that she was only invited because she is married to my BIL – yes this is true, I only know her because she is married to him but we wanted her there because she is family and that should be an honour (not an obligation).
    c. We had a very low acceptance rate, even after taking into consideration the number of invites, travel distance and time of year it was low (50%) which really hurts when you have only invited the people you are closest to (my dad’s theory about wedding invitations is that you invite your “Christmas” family – anyone you would want invite if you were hosting Christmas).

    Everyone (yes, every-single-person) who sent us back an RSVP wrote their name on it. It was amazing. My husband was a bit disappointed since we had used invisible ink (visible with a black light) to mark each card and we didn’t need to use it.

    Even though it was emotionally draining, I loved getting the little notes that people wrote on the cards. A very close family friend wrote that he wouldn’t miss our wedding which meant a lot because he had been very sick and he had to travel 5 or 6 hours for our wedding.

  • Erin

    We wrote RSVP card Mad Libs, which pretty much guaranteed love notes, since we’d mostly written them already ;) But they cracked us up! Some of them were funny, some were sweet, and only a few people actually did them Mad Libs-style (i.e., they made no sense and left us wondering whether they were actually coming or not).

    • Elizabear

      We did Mad Libs RSVP cards too! I saved all the ones that filled them out and put them in an album with photos from the wedding. Only my sister and her date did it in traditional Mad Libs style and it is one of my favorites. I was pretty immune to the no responses and even people I couldn’t even get to respond. The one that hurt me was my “best friend” and bridesmaid–she didn’t fill out the Mad Libs! She just wrote their names and indicated they were coming. I didn’t save that card and obviously I am still pissed about it (evidenced by my use of quotation marks around best friend). It seriously would have taken 1 minute and even the older invitees figured it out…

      • ART

        I wanted to do mad libs and my fiance was adamant that no one would actually do them as mad libs and if anything, they’d be super boring…he was probably right for most of our list :(

  • macrain

    The wife of one of our groomsmen excitedly told me that she had found the perfect outfit for our wedding. She showed me on her phone the outfit, which was…. a baby’s outfit. She then went on to discuss with me how she would probably have to leave the reception early because of the baby.
    I was taken by surprise enough that I did not relay to her that children are not invited. We hadn’t even sent out save the dates at that point, so I wondered why she would even bring it up.
    I go back and forth on this- was she just oblivious to how rude this is, or was it some kind of power play- like, just so you know, I will be bringing my baby to this wedding. I’m not asking, I’m telling you. (That’s what it felt like.)
    We haven’t sent out invitations yet, but I’m just waiting to get back their RSVP with the baby’s name on it. Something fun to look forward to!

    • http://sweetteaofftheg.blogspot.com/ Kate V

      Sounds less like a power play than a flippant disregard for your preferences. I wouldn’t read into this – people really just want to talk about themselves. Mark the inner envelope with adult’s names only and then you won’t need to explain that the wedding is adults only.

    • http://mnnjcooks.blogspot.com/ Jessica Nelson

      How old will the baby be when your wedding happens? Even if you have a “no-kids” wedding, I wouldn’t expect parents of babies who are under a year old to leave them at home. Especially if the mom is nursing and hasn’t returned to work yet – it can be painful for both mom and baby to go without nursing for several hours. Either way, you won’t have to pay for a meal for the baby, and any other parents at the reception will understand that kids were not allowed but babies were. Unless you are really really opposed to having any babies at your wedding (and are OK with the groomsman’s wife possibly choosing not to come at all), I’d just let it go.
      I agree the conversation was a little presumptuous, but I’d read it as her trying to let you know that she and the baby are a package deal when it comes to the wedding, and/or maybe trying to explain/justify in advance why she won’t be partying hard at the reception.

  • Sara

    We sent out mad-lib RSVPs with the knowledge that many members of my family wouldn’t be able to attend and the hope that their humerus RSVPs would cut that pain at least a little. We are now 6 days past our RSVP date and only a few members of my side has RSVPd at all and most of them are unable to attend. I overheard a conversation my fiance had with his aunt in which she cooed about how happy they all were for us and how much they can’t wait to attend our wedding. As happy as I am that his family will all be attending and that they’re so happy for us, it was a bit of a knife to my heart. Those in my family who have sent back their RSVPs have sent them back blank (with maybe 3 or 4 exceptions). No note. No attempt at filling them out. Just blank. Those who haven’t RSVPd are unlikely to do so. It seems like such a small insignificant thing to so many people. It’s unfortunate that that’s the case, given how meaningful it is to us.

    • Meg

      “humerus RSVPs” sounds like you really tickled their funny bones!

      • Sara

        oops lol. autocorrect.

  • Heather

    Thank you for writing this post. You just articulated ALL of my many fears/worries about RSVPs. We are just preparing to send out the save the dates and I’m dreading the invitations/rsvp process. Family Drama, no shows, people just showing up, do we include the wedding website on our save the dates? Will people take that as an indication that they can just write down the address and show up?! yikes. I’m going to have to do a lot of deep breathing thru this process. otherwise, I might have a panic attack. And I agree with you wholeheartedly on the following statement:
    “Then, there is the fact that we really need to start teaching (written, formal) manners again, FFS.”
    Absof**kinglutely

    • ART

      We included the wedding website on our save the dates, but we did not put the venue address on the save the date or on the website. That’s partially because it’s a private residence, but partially because that meant they would KNOW they didn’t have all the info yet and would have to pay attention to the invitation (in theory anyway!)

      We did say on our website “check back in a few months for more information!” – but it seems people have NOT taken that advice because we are fielding SO MANY questions that are answered there, so YMMV :/

    • http://www.moxiebrightevents.com Renee @ Moxie Bright Events

      We put our website on the STD. But only had the venue name on the website, not the actual address.
      And we made sure to include “formal invitation to follow” just in case anyone was confused.

      • Jacky Speck

        I included “formal invitation to follow” and my grandparents still thought the save-the-date was a real invitation… Oh well. They’re a bit of an exception though, because they’re from another country and not great at English.

        But if you only send save-the-dates to people who will actually be invited, there probably won’t be problems with people assuming they can “just write down the address and show up” after visiting the website.

  • REL-Bride

    Oh man, reading all of these stories makes
    me REALLY nervous!!! My Fiancé and I are about to send out
    invitations. Originally we had wanted a wedding of about 100-120 however
    my parents gave us a list of people that exceeded 87 so we knew we were going
    to be over. We are inviting about 200 people and are crossing our fingers that
    we only have 150 -160 RSVP yes so I know that the next few weeks are going to
    be VERY stressful!! We only put “and guest” on the few people who we know have
    long time significant others and we left off kids all together. So I am sure
    that there will still be people who assume that they get a “plus one” As if
    stressing about being WAY over on the count was not bad enough there is also a
    lot of added family drama. My uncle is an awful person, cheated on my aunt,
    abandon my cousins (my age now) left the state to avoid paying child support
    and alimony and he has been married like 3 times since then, he is a dead beat
    in my opinion. The problem is that my grandparents love him, he is their son
    and he can do no wrong and my mom always wants to see the best in people so he
    is invited. My cousin who’s two daughters are my flower girls called me the
    other day to make sure that her dad would not be there, she doesn’t want there
    to be a scene and take away from my day which I appreciate. I am sure that her
    mom and my other cousin will not come because they are afraid that he will be
    there. My grandparents are insisting that he is coming and even he says that he
    is coming but I am insisting that he not since he is only coming out of spite
    (he missed his own daughters weddings, why in the hell would he want to come to
    mine) Ugh, of course at one point in time I had this dream that everyone would
    be at my wedding and it would be peaceful and the whole family would be together
    and my uncle would see his granddaughters walk down the aisle and tear up and
    apologize for his 10 years of F**ing up but I have grown up a lot and I know
    that this is not possible. The only possible way to keep the peace is for him
    not to be there and even then there will be tension between my grandparents and
    my aunt and cousins. Oh man why is there so much drama in the world!!

  • Joanna

    My mother-in-law told my husband she would not go to the rehearsal dinner if her ex-husband (hubby’s dad) would be there. Since we had already heard from my father-in-law that he would be coming, we took that to mean that she would be unable to attend. We made the reservations at the restaurant and life was good until mother-in-law texted me to find out what time to go to the dinner. I politely explained to her that the reservations had already been made and our understanding had been that she wouldn’t be coming. Of course, this made me the bad guy.

    Hmm… but when you receive an invitation with PLEASE RSVP BY DATE, what makes you think that you are above that rule? Did she think I was doing it just to be a brat? NO, lady, sometimes you need to let people like CATERERS and RESTAURANTS know how many people are coming!

    It’s been over a year and I’m still angry about it.

  • Anne

    Can I get some honest feedback on an invitation question? I’m not engaged yet (but so close!) so I think the perspective of people who are actively planning will help.
    My partner has been a groomsmen in many of his friends’ weddings and the invitations to two of the weddings he was in misspelled his last name. He’s been friends with these people for nearly 20 years. Since he was in the wedding party and I figured his name might appear again on programs, place cards etc, I mentioned the typo to both couples in a way that I thought was gentle (“hey no big deal but you might want to double check if the software you’re using for addresses is autocorrecting X’s name, it was misspelled on our invitation”). One of the brides I mentioned it to seemed really miffed that I had brought it up. Should I have not said anything? And what should I do if it happens in the future?

    • Emily

      Huh. I know people hate to be told their spelling sucks, but really, I think it’s rude to not know how to spell someone’s name right, especially someone special enough to you to be inviting to your wedding. Let alone having them in the wedding party! I would have corrected them, too. Sounds like you handled it well enough, you can’t control other people’s reactions.

    • http://www.moxiebrightevents.com Renee @ Moxie Bright Events

      I think you are totally right to say something. It’s his NAME, it should be spelled correctly. I think you handled it perfectly.

  • Vic Horsham

    Ohhh I so hope my copious anxiety-brain plans for dealing with RSVPs will actually nix some of the pain of all of this. Our plan is: We will send out RSVP cards in the post, with requests for specific things we’d like to know (dietary needs, favourite booze, if kids or a +1 will be coming…). But the cards will also include the invite-only facebook event page and website for our wedding, and we’ll send FB invites to invited people for the event. People can go to the website to find out anything they want to know (we’re having a Lokean x Chaote Pagan handfasting so we’re anticipating questions!) and can choose to either RSVP by post or on the facebook event page. Pretty much all of both our families is reasonably computer savvy – even the grandparents are frequent FB users – so we’re hoping at the very least everyone will be able to send some sort of response.

  • Maeve

    Oh man, the RSVP drama, we’re in the middle of it right now for a June 14 wedding. I’m keeping my shit together and not nagging anyone about the 50% of our RSVPs we haven’t heard back yet from (May 20 deadline), but I just found out that my family has been not-so-subtly discouraging extended family from coming under the guise of helping. :( We made it pretty clear to our parents from the beginning that since we’re paying for everything ourselves and we picked a tiny venue (capped at 80), that we wouldn’t have room for their work friends or cousins’ dates. We axed things that we really wanted in order to make the budget work to invite extended family, but now I find out that my dad has told his brothers (who admittedly I don’t see often, but I like) and my mother has told her cousins not to come “because it’s a small wedding and they really can’t afford it.” We got rid of things like a live band that we really wanted in order to make sure we could afford it, we budgeted for it, and now we’re a month from the wedding and we’re looking at 40 attending out of 90 invited and I don’t know if I should contact some folks to let them know that yes, we really do want them there, or what. :(

  • http://www.moxiebrightevents.com Renee @ Moxie Bright Events

    We had our fair share of RSVP drama, but the most baffling was that a good number of our guests didn’t realize that our RSVP card was an actual postcard. We got at least 4 of them mailed back to us in awkwardly shaped envelopes. One guest called my mother to complain that she “had no idea what to do with this random card!”, and another guest messaged me on Facebook to ask for my address. People, TURN THE CARD OVER. IT HAS A STAMP. AND OUR ADDRESS. The only way to have made it clearer was to put the word “postcard” on it. Which I now recommend to all my couples if they want to do a postcard RSVP. SO frustrating.

  • Ragnhild

    Our deadline for our June 28 wedding was May 1st, so I have started to track people down now. I am glad I had a very early deadline, and most people would know already if they could make it. I had one couple RSVP yes, even though she is due with a baby the day before. They hope to make it, and I am fine with that answer, and would totally understand if they can´t make it.

    The worst part has been good friends who say no, or still not decided, without good reasons. We will have a small wedding, and every person invited was carefully selected, so it makes it so much harder when they dont RSVP or say anything at all about our wedding!

    We wrote an email address/phone number to RSVP to (which is custom here in Norway) and a married wrote their own RSVP card and hand delivered it – so sweet! She said they got one handwritten reply (from a grandma) and I guess they learnt to be extra kind to future couples. Makes me want to do that too!

  • Emily

    Having sent my invites out this past Monday, I was pleasantly surprised to get one back both yesterday and today! My aunt even wrote a sweet note on the back of her card! Overachievers. I noticed my custom square envelope’s stamps haven’t been cancelled, the machine must have missed them? Can I get in trouble for their machinery’s error? Bonus thank you card postage!

  • Pingback: Just Say No To Attending Weddings (when you can’t go) | Uncommon Courtesy()

  • http://mnnjcooks.blogspot.com/ Jessica Nelson

    Just thought this “accurate wedding invitation” summed up most of the problems discussed here. If only people were honest about which boxes they checked! :)

    http://cheezburger.com/8185174272

  • Daisyglaze

    I think I got about 70% of RSVPs back and the rest we had to track down, there really wasn’t too much drama associated with it. BUT (and I’m now 8days away from the wedding) the pain doesn’t stop with the RSVPs, because so many people don’t consider them binding! I’ve had several people cancel in the last couple of days, and several people try to invite extra people. My fiance’s aunt wants to bring THREE extra people with her, and rather than asking us, she called his dad who had no idea whats going on and he said yes. I know, I know, the numbers actually even out with the canceling and adding but it’s still making me crazy. It just seems so disrespectful given all the work I’ve done, or it does to me now that I’m officially losing my sh*t about the wedding next week. And it was such smooth sailing until now!

    Did anyone else have family members who said no/yes change their minds the week of? what about trying to invite random people? Did you just say NOOOO!!! (That’s what I want to do, but I’m almost too tired to bother).

  • Amanda

    My wedding is two months away, and I made sure for everyone invited that they get an invitation almost six months in advanced due to the fact I’m from Iowa and I know people need time to make plans for travel.

    My problem is pretty much just a hand full of people on my fiance’s side has RSVP’ed and I honestly don’t care if they aren’t there but I’m praying they don’t have a change of heart and show up because they will have nowhere to sit.

  • jjjoy

    I haven’t even sent out my wedding invitations (will do later this month) but I’ve already been dreading getting RSVPs back. My fiancé and I were very selective about who we invited and I think I would take it very personally if people did not give us the courtesy of a response. We’ve also made a somewhat controversial choice to NOT include stamps on our RSVP postcards (sry not sry) because we’re giving the option of RSVPing on our wedding website. We’re hoping that encourages people to RSVP online, which we prefer because it automatically populates a spreadsheet for us.

    Both of our mothers are being pretty rude about guests. We wanted an intimate celebration with only our closest friends and family so we made the decision upfront that our guest list would have to be fairly small (about 100 people). It was also a budget driven decision as my fiancé and I were firm that we wanted to pay for most of the wedding ourselves. We communicated that to our families early on (months before sending out Save the Dates) but now they are adding more and more people that they feel like they SHOULD invite. I actually talked to my mom last week and she said one of my cousins asked her about the wedding date and is now planning to come when we have not included them in our head counts at all! At this point they’ve increased our guest count by ~20%! They are offering to cover the costs of extra people but that isn’t the point. We are both firstborn children so I get that this is a big deal for both of our families but I’m tearing my hair out.

    I’m also feeling the criticism as well. Most of the weddings in our culture are big blowout weddings in hotel ballrooms with 300+ guests and I feel like that’s what our families (at least the older folks) might expect. My fiancé and I actually have a lot of fun with the wedding planning until we mention something to our parents and they want to pick apart our decisions. My mom also told me she’s invited all of my relatives to the rehearsal dinner when I was only planning for just the bridal party and our immediate families. I really didn’t want a huge wedding and I feel like that’s what they’re turning this into. NOT COOL.

  • Aniela Frattarola

    My RSVP drama hasn’t been too bad…said no bride EVER! Ugh between people not putting their names on the “No” RSVP card (didn’t we learn this first in school – put your name on your paper?!?!) and those who don’t include their meal selection to the real winners – the non-responders I’m exhausted! My wedding is exactly 30 days from today. We’re doing this DIY where practical and paying for some things because it would cost more for me/him to do it. We made our invitations and inserts together and put a lot of thought into who would be invited to our small wedding. I can understand the ones who cannot make it due to work/distance/money, but I do not understand never responding. My fiancé and I have been painstakingly contacting all the non-responders via Facebook (private message), text and phone calls. Heck we even have a parent who hasn’t acknowledged the invitation yet!! Anyhow, I’m just glad I have my fiancé and my valium to keep me somewhat sane! Oh wait – I’ve got to do a rehearsal dinner invitation?!? Yeah their getting an email/phone call. I can’t handle any more of the drama!

    • Aniela Frattarola

      As for the constant criticism – mainly “helpful” suggestions (???) from my 21 yr old daughter as to what I should/shouldn’t wear for shoes under my dress to what songs to be played, etc… I love her dearly but could scream “I’m the bride it’s my choice” many times. My MIL passed away almost 2 years ago – wish she was here to put in her two-cents. I’m just keeping my eye on the prize – marrying my best friend.