We’re often told that wedding planning can be emotional. There’s the excitement of getting engaged, pride and glee in telling family and friends, and satisfaction in choosing the date. There’s also the annoyance of unwanted advice from colleagues and acquaintances, or the disappointment when a vendor isn’t available. But what many don’t talk about is the emotional response to RSVPs. Sure, we read about the expectations. Invite X number of people, and you can expect X to attend. RSVPify has even crunched the numbers on thousands of wedding invitations. I don’t know of a single wedding that’s had a 100% yes rate on their RSVPs, and yet, when the RSVPs began rolling in for our own, I thought we’d be different. I knew it was unrealistic, but we’re having a small wedding so I genuinely wanted everyone that was on the guest list to attend. But our wedding was not the exception, and sure enough, there were no’s among the mix of yes’s. The room full of guests that we had originally planned for shifted and in unexpected ways.
To understand why RSVPs can be so difficult to handle, we have to honestly discuss the inner rankings of the guest list. There are secondary guests, like the ones included because it’s important to our parents, or plus ones we haven’t met or don’t know well. Then, there are the friends and family that we’re close with, but know ahead of time may not be able to make it. And finally, there are the guests that we are closest with, that we know without a doubt will be there for us.
And it’s those. Those individuals in that last group that can cause the most hurt. And I’m here to tell you that it’s ok to be upset when someone you care about can’t attend your wedding. You can be angry, or frustrated, but what you can’t do is hold onto it. That frustration can ruin your wedding planning. It takes away from the fun moments, and without even realizing, can easily damper this exciting time.
So take some time to acknowledge the changes to your guest list. Talk to those individuals that aren’t able to attend, because more often than not they are just as upset that they can’t be there, and then move on with your planning. Focus on the things that you can control and change, and remember to be grateful for all of the guests that will be there. You’re loved by both those in attendance, and those that can’t make it. Stay focused on the positives, and remember your wedding day will be special regardless of your guest list.
And, one more tidbit-- You’re not alone in chasing down RSVPs the week of the deadline. We get this question a lot from worried couples thinking only their guests aren’t responding. It’s a little heartbreaking feeling like your wedding invitation was not important enough to warrant a response, or that they’re lives are just too busy to think about attending your wedding, but neither case is true. All guests are forgetful with RSVPs. There are great tips to get your guests to respond on time, like these from Taryn Westberg, owner of Glo, but just like I’ve never seen a wedding with a 100% “yes” rate, I’ve also never helped a couple plan a wedding that didn’t have to chase down a few responses from silent guests. Whatever you do, don’t just assume no response is a “no”. Follow-up with those guests until you have a concrete answer. There’s nothing worse than extra guests arriving on the big day unplanned for and suddenly not having enough seats or food for them.