What to do if wedding guests don’t RSVP? Copy ‘n’ paste this polite message!

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"Inked" RSVP card design available here.
“Inked” RSVP card design available here.

My wedding is in exactly one month. Yikes. The deadline for returning RVSPs has come and gone… and I still can't get answers from 30% of my guests! I looked at some of Offbeat Bride's articles, like “3 ways to chase down RSVPs from lazy guests“, and I tried a lot of things… But there are still a ton of guests who haven't given me a definitive answer or answered at all.

All I get are “I'm still not sure what's going on with work.” Or “I really really want to be there. I just have to see how things go.” Or absolutely nothing. No response of Facebook or by mail or anything. And I unfortunately don't have their telephone numbers.

Do I make sure there's table space and food enough for this non-committal 30%, and hope that they show up? Or do I mark them down as a No? What if wedding guests just don't RSVP at all?!

I'm going to let you in on a little secret:

Most of us are lazy.

Most of us are busy.

Most of us have trouble pinning down our calendars.

If you have guests who just can't seem to get their shit together to give you a solid answer, you need to stop asking them questions and start telling them what's happening.

Simply put, anyone who hasn't committed a month before the wedding, mark them down as no — and then politely tell them so!

You don't have to be rude about it. Just a simple statement like this will work:

We have to finalize wedding catering counts this week and since I haven't gotten an RSVP from you, I've marked you down as unable to attend. If I don't hear back from you, I'll assume that's ok. Hope you're doing well, and let's catch up soon!

Here's the key: You're not asking them for anything. You're not giving them another item for their to-do list. You've told them exactly what's going to happen if they close the window and ignore your message, which makes it really easy.

There's no threats or rudeness, no games or manipulations to get them to answer.

You're just letting them know what's happening and why, in a straightforward and loving way!

This is a lesson I've learned that works great in business communications, too… when deadlines loom, at a certain point you stop asking questions, and just let folks know what action you're taking. No shame! Again, we're all busy and lazy, and that's okay.

You might then get some panicked messages saying, “Wait wait, I got my work schedule figured out!” but chances are decent that folks who haven't gotten back to you yet probably aren't going to make it, and you've just made their (and your!) lives much easier by letting them know that you won't expect them.

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