RSVP Drama & How to Handle it Gracefully

Photo Courtesy of www.weddingbycolor.comGuest post by Glowing Bride, Author of Wow! Glowing Bride in 30 Days

Ah, those four little letters... R.S.V.P. How can four teeny tiny members of the alphabet cause so much grief?

The short answer is that the replies you receive may not match your expectations, and it’s hard not to take it personally or be disappointed. The longer answer is, well much longer! How can you keep a cool head during RSVP drama? Here’s the lowdown!

Scenario 1

- The RSVP’s are rolling in and the guest list is looking a little... lob sided.

It’s common to end up with an uneven guest list, (bride or groom-heavy), for many reasons. Since opposites attract it’s possible than one of you simply knows more people or has a bigger family. If one of you is getting married in your hometown and has more guests as a result, have you considered having another celebration in a second location? This could simply be a dinner or a smaller scale party for the other person. Whatever the reason for the uneven list, try to focus on the fact that your friends and family will become each others’ after the wedding - and look forward to starting those new relationships on your wedding day!

Scenario 2

- Your Aunt RSVP’d “With Regrets: I have to take care of the dogs.”

While some excuses for not attending are totally understandable, sometimes you might be presented with a really lame one. “I have to paint the house that weekend” was given to a friend tying the knot recently, and she was understandably hurt. It’s hard to accept, but your big day isn’t such a big day to everyone. Is that person that has to paint the house so desperately really that important to you anyway?

Scenario 3

- The reply simply said ‘No’, without a reason being given.

You might not be given a reason for all your negative RSVP’s, and it is not polite etiquette to ask. Accepting that people have their own commitments and that it is common (particularly with summer weddings) to have two engagements on the same day should make you feel at ease. Although a ‘no’ looks aggressive and uncaring, this is not a rejection - some people simply don’t know how to express their regrets and would simply prefer not to.

Scenario 4

- Guests aren’t RSVP’ing on time

Even if you set a deadline (which you should, it gets people’s butts into gear!), you may not receive all your RSVP’s on time. Some people don’t realize the importance of replying on time until they themselves plan such a big event. Even then, life happens and it can innocently slip one’s mind. It’s immensely frustrating but rather than waste your time and energy complaining about it, follow up with those stragglers and give them the benefit of the doubt for their tardiness! A simple phone call or email should help you collect the final responses in a couple of hours. And keep a cool head - no matter how hard it is to bite your tongue, do not make aggressive calls or write wicked emails at this time. Instead explain politely that you need to give your vendors a final headcount and would really appreciate a response by the end of the day.

Final thoughts: Receiving some negative RSVP’s is inevitable, and some are going to be more disappointing than others. You are never going to find a date and location that pleases everyone, and accepting that is important. On the day you are going to be so happy about those people that can make it, that you will hardly notice those that can’t. The only people that need to be there to celebrate your love are you and your man, and I’m pretty sure the two of you could do that on a deserted island, so any guests are just an added bonus!

Find more advice for the bride at

6 Responses to RSVP Drama & How to Handle it Gracefully

  • Sussex Wedding Photographers says:

    I was sent an invite by a couple to their wedding (it was a bit odd actually as I was their photographer), but still, I was the first person to send it back, the next one turned up from an actual guest three weeks later.

    The bride was really worried!

  • Dg says:

    "It’s common to end up with an uneven guest list" Yes, it is true.

  • Mabel says:

    Fab post! It's true that people just don't seem to reply to invitations like they used to, more likely to send you a text to say yes I'm coming than to return the r.s.v.p Like you say though, if they are too busy 'painting their house' to come to your wedding you probably didn't want them there in the first place!

  • Shasta says:

    Great advice! RSVP's can be so stressful.

  • grace says:

    RSVP indeed has a lot of dramas in it! 🙂 Maybe how brides should deal with this is to deal with it gracefully. And it's true that the most important persons that should be really in the wedding is the bride and the groom. 🙂

  • Christian says:

    Thank you for sharing.

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