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The RSVP Controversy Part 1: When You Don’t Respond

Recently our social media has been flooded with videos of brides who have found unique ways to deal with RSVPs that are not responded to. From comical responses to what some consider flat-out rudeness, here are our two cents on RSVPs.

The French coined the phrase, “répondez s'il vous plait” which literally translates, “respond, if you please.” This polite request for a reply in invitations serves two-fold. The first reason is to allow the couple to know who will be coming to their wedding. They sat together and put a lot of thought into who they wanted to share this very special day with. Understandably, they would want to know if you are coming to their wedding celebration.

The second reason is more practical. The number of guests determines the following:

1.  How much food and drink will be needed.

2.  Seating layout and seating chart (two different things, will explain below).

3.  Quantity of wedding favors.

4.  Event insurance cost.

5.  Number of hospitality personnel (servers, bartenders, wedding assistants, coordinators, etc.).


The seating layout is how the tables and chairs will be laid out in the room where the reception is taking place. The seating chart indicates where the guests will be seated, as in what table number.

It boils down to how you as a guest affect the numbers. Standard industry practice is that the couple must provide their final count to all their vendors at least 2 weeks before the wedding date. This year we saw an increase in that time frame from some vendors to 1 full month before the wedding day. The economic ramifications affect a plethora of vendors, their purchasing, and the return on investment, and in the end, it also affects the bride and groom’s budget.

On the day of the wedding, you might find someone like us, a wedding coordinator, walking around with a clipboard or iPad, checking to see if you are on the guest list. Depending on the bride and groom’s instructions and even on the venue policy, there is a high probability that you will be declined entry (picture Gandalf from Lord of the Rings saying, “You shall not pass!”).

Stating all of this, we urge you, to please make sure you RSVP if you have the intention of going to your family/friend’s wedding and avoid being turned out at the door.                 

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