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RSVP-ageddon: Getting Your Guests to Respond!

It’s become a universal problem that guests aren’t sending their RSVPs! In this blog post, we present a way to increase your chances of getting a response AND what you can do if they don’t respond to tell you if they are coming to your wedding…or not.

Wedding Couple Kissing on Stairs

Hey, Christie!

Help! My wedding is coming up and I don’t know what to do!

This past weekend, my fiancé, Todd, and I attended the wedding of our friends Sara and Rob in La Jolla, California which was held in an amazing Catholic church, Mary, Star of the Sea.

The problem was SOME of the guests.

While the church seats 420, Sara and Rob invited about 200 people. When I looked back at the guests seated behind us, it seemed as though there were more than 200 people. I noticed the wedding planner running around frantically and wondered what was up.

I found out later from Sara that over 35 people who had not RSVP’d had simply shown up!

Luckily, the reception was at the Estancia Hotel, which can also accommodate 420 wedding guests and with the catering facilities on site, they were able to provide food for these people.

I am worried that this might happen at my wedding.  Although I have invited 120 people, only 42 have sent me their RSVP. What should I do about the rest of the invitees?

Newlyweds walking down the aisle after marriage ceremony
Church with wedding guests entering

What if we only have 50 people? We’ll need to move our wedding to one of more intimate venues at  Ainsworth House & Gardens venue to host fewer guests.

Is there any way to cajole guests into RSVPing while preventing or at least curtailing guests showing up when they don’t RSVP?

–Stella Stymied in Stanfield, Oregon


Hey, Stella!

You are not alone: It’s being called “RSVP-ageddon” because invitees aren’t responding to wedding invitations. 

First, the issue is NOT with you…it’s with the guests. Unfortunately, it’s becoming more of a problem all the time.

Because The Knot selected Ainsworth House & Gardens for the top 1% of wedding venues in the United States, other wedding vendors often turn to us and our blog for solutions to challenges that they are encountering. This problem of people not responding to your RSVP and then showing up anyway is becoming more common each day…sad to say.

I think those of us who planned a wedding in the past and know the frustration of invitees not sending their RSVPs are very sensitive to this issue. 

blown glass sculpture at Ainsworth House & Gardens
happy people jumping at sunset

Personally, since I know how irritating it was to track guests down by phone before my wedding, I’ve never missed any RSVP date since then!

I make sure that I politely respond before the deadline so that neither the bride, the groom, or someone’s mother has to call me.

But on’t worry! I have a solution!

  1. If you wish to send “Save the Date” cards, they can be sent out as much as one year before your wedding.
  2. Set up a wedding website. In bold font, put your deadline to respond date.
  3. Invitation timeline: If your Ainsworth House & Gardens wedding is a destination wedding for your family and friends, then send your invitations out three months before your wedding. 
wedding invitation
wedding bride, groom, and guests jump for joy with a cat in the foreground

If your guests are mostly local, then you can send your invitations out six to eight weeks before your wedding.

With either a destination or a “local” wedding, your RSVP deadline should be three to four weeks before your wedding.

About two weeks before your RSVP deadline, start a countdown on your website.

You can send these messages to any guest by text or e-mail.

Message/Post 1: “Our RSVP deadline is quickly approaching. We’re still waiting to hear from some of you. If you haven’t told us if you are coming to our wedding…or not…click here:”

Depending on how many have not responded, you might want to start now by calling them. Just give them a nudge.

One week before deadline, post this: “Hey! Our wedding is coming up on ____. If you’d like to come, click here. If you can’t make it, we understand. Click here.”

Three days before your RSVP deadline: “Yo! If you would like to come to our wedding and you would like us to have delicious food for you, click here. If you don’t, we won’t be ordering ____ for you and you’ll miss the yummy___. If you can’t come, let us know by clicking here.”

Wedding invitation with bouquet
wedding invitation

Deadline day:

“Last chance! If you want to come to our wedding on ____, click here. If you can’t make it, click here.”

After your deadline, send a “Missing RSVP” card (text or e-mail) to anyone who has not responded.

This may curtail them showing up unannounced at your wedding.


What is a “Missed RSVP” card, text, or e-mail?

This is brand new in your wedding planning tool kit.

While etiquette experts encourage engaged couples to send these messages to non-responding invitees, there is no set verbiage yet for putting on the printed card, in an e-mail, or in a text.

For that reason, let me suggest two different sets of words:

Missed RSVP

We’re sorry that you can’t make it to our wedding.  Our RSVP deadline has passed. We would have loved to have you attend, but final numbers have now been turned in to the caterer.  Your presence will be missed.


___(bride) and ______(groom)  

sad woman at a window
sad man


We will miss you!

Since we didn’t hear from you before our RSVP deadline to turn in our final numbers, we will miss you at our wedding!

We would have loved to have you attend. Please know that your presence will be missed.


___(bride) and ______(groom)



Can you compose your own? Yes! Absolutely! You can print them and mail them out to invitees.  In the “old days,” brides called all the guests to confirm who was/wasn’t coming which was a huge waste of time.

Let me know if you have any further questions.

Your friend in the wedding business,

Christie Shyne



wedding ceremony in Oregon City under 200 year old Ponderosa Pine

Images courtesy of,, Kami Olavarri Photography of Mary, Star of the Sea Church, and Ainsworth House & Gardens.

© 2023-2024. Come Rain or Shyne, LLC. All rights reserved worldwide.


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