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I *MUST* Come To Your Wedding!

My husband and I got married a few years ago shortly after he’d completed his BA and just before my final year of my degree. We had a few, close mutual friends from university, but not very many. We didn’t want a huge wedding, and so were primarily restricting our guest list to family members, friends from church, a few former coworkers, and those friends from university that we were close to (e.g., had taken trips with or were former roommates).  However, before our invitations went out, a fellow classmate of ours — let’s call him Ryan — told us he wanted to come to our wedding. He tried to make it sound all cutesy — “I HAVE to be there to shower rice on you guys!” or “I want to see you feed cake to each other!” and even, “I can’t wait to dance at your reception!” — but his message was very clear. He wanted to be invited to our wedding, and not just that, but to our reception too. We were friends with Ryan, but we’d never, say, done anything with him outside of school. If he had an event going on, we weren’t invited and vice versa. When we talked with Ryan, it was primarily about school subjects, and while the chats were good, they weren’t the conversations of very close friends. However, after many of these broad hints and a lengthy discussion between my then-fiance and I, we decided to invite Ryan to the wedding. Ryan was a close friend of my two roommates at the time, so we knew he’d have people to talk to at the wedding reception.

Fast forward a few months when the RSVPs start coming in and, guess what, no response from Ryan! I email/call those who haven’t responded to find out whether they’re coming or not. Ryan finally RSVPs a week before the wedding saying that yes, of course he would be there! He was so excited! Our wedding is beautiful. We’re surrounded by family and friends and everything’s perfect. But guess what? No sign of Ryan. We arrive at the reception hall and still. . no Ryan. We find out later that he’d been scheduled to work that day. I don’t know why he didn’t at least send apologies along with my former roommates who both sang at my wedding and did the flowers. Our wedding wasn’t extravagantly expensive, but we did pay $30.00 a person for a plated service. Maybe, when Ryan finally gets married, he’ll realize that it’s a bit of faux pas to invite yourself to a wedding and then not show up.

We’re still friends with Ryan. We stay in touch through Facebook and have come across each other a few times at various events. But neither of us ever go out of our way to get together with each other because that’s simply the way our friendship has always been: pleasant, but not very close.   0513-10


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  • Mechtilde August 16, 2010, 4:24 am

    I would disagree with the OP on a couple of points.

    It is not a faux pas to invite oneself to a wedding- it is rude.

    It is not a faux pas to RSVP in the affermative and not turn up- it is very rude and inconsiderate.

  • Maryann August 16, 2010, 6:48 am

    Who does that? Insists on being there and doesn’t show? I think I would have found a way to politely call him on it. Something like “Oh, we missed you so much! We thought you really wanted to be there. The food was delicious, you really missed out on a fantastic meal, the *caterers* (heavy emphasis on caterers) were really top notch!”

    • admin August 16, 2010, 7:25 am

      It’s more common than you think. A friend who recently married off her daughter told of how a guest, who had been invited, called her long after the RSVP due date begging to be added to the “Guests Attending”. This person gushed how they wanted desperately to witness the wedding and enjoy the reception but had gotten too distracted by life to RSVP to the wedding invitaiton in a timely manner. So my friend caved, called the caterer to confirm another guest and then was dismayed when this guest failed to show up to the ceremony or reception. No explanation given for the absence.

  • Typo Tat August 16, 2010, 7:01 am

    Sounds to me like Ryan wasn’t really inviting himself to your wedding, just “playing” interested for conversation’s sake.

  • Jillybean August 16, 2010, 8:25 am

    The OP never should have invited him – but that said, wow!

  • Bamff August 16, 2010, 8:57 am

    We had quite a few people RSVP for our wedding and not show. One was my godmother and her family. I was surprised to get a “yes” from her to begin with as she was having major family issues of her own and lived 500 miles away. When we received her RSVP, I made sure to have a corsage made for her to wear at the wedding. I was caught up in everything the day of but was trying hard to seek her out, when finally I asked my dad where she was and he was surprised that I would expect her. Ouch.

    I had another friend who woke up the morning of the wedding and just decided that he didn’t feel like driving to the wedding. First, he told us this two months later, honestly. Second, there were about 25 people coming from the city he was in and he could have carpooled.

    There were more people and many of them said “something came up”. I must have missed a major natural disaster or huge accident for I thought that once you committed to an activity, short of death or illness, you stand by your commitment.

  • Mechtilde August 16, 2010, 8:59 am

    We had a similar situation at our wedding. One of our single friends was invited with a guest. He asked if he could bring two friends (they were a couple) and we agreed- especially as he wouldn’t have known many other people at the wedding. Then neither he, nor his friends showed up. As our other RSVP and no show was on the same table it was really noticable. At least the other guy had the decency to call and leave an answerphone message, even if we didn’t get it until after our honeymoon.

    Why do this? Bothering people for an invitation places them in a very embarassing situation.

    RSVP and not turn up is unkind. Very unkind. If, for any reason a guest can’t come, then they could at last phone. If you can’t get hold of the hosts, call the venue if you have to, but do call.

  • Kriss August 16, 2010, 9:06 am

    If you weren’t good friends to begin with a polite “Thank you for being so supportive! I wish we could invite you but we’re restricted to pretty much family due to our situation at this time.” should’ve been enough.

    I don’t know how much time has gone by but if it was fairly recently I would call him out on it. And not in a playful light manner either. He insinuated himself into the wedding and reception, forced you to pull strings, cost you money for the meal (dollar amount doesn’t matter. Money is money whether it’s $5 or $55), and didn’t have the courtesy to send an explanation.

  • DGS August 16, 2010, 9:12 am

    It sounds like Ryan was very rude and presumptious to invite himself and very inconsiderate to subsequently, not RSVP in a timely fashion and not show up. Hopefully, he has subsequently grown up a bit and has become more considerate.

    In regards to the statement, “He wanted to be invited to our wedding, and not just that, but to our reception too”, I do want to point out to the OP that if someone is invited to your wedding, it is the height of rudeness to not invite that person to the reception. If someone is important enough to you to witness you marriage ceremony, that person should also be important enough to be treated to the reception, if you are having one, even if it is on a shoe-strong budget, regardless of whether the reception is a sit-down dinner or some cake and punch in the back of a church.

  • Princesssimmi August 16, 2010, 9:21 am

    I can completely see some of my family doing this. It’s so completely and totally not on. I would have originally given him the excuse ‘I’m sorry, but the venue only allows us a certain amount of guests so I am unable to invite you’ and if he still managed to wheedle his way into the wedding and then didn’t show up I’d say in polite conversation ‘it was a shame you couldn’t make it, you would have loved the (insert favourite dance/a food they like).’ It’s just downright rude of him.

  • Molly August 16, 2010, 9:28 am

    A similar thing happened to my family. A husband and wife who were good friends with my mother were invited to my brother’s wedding. These guests had long since moved away from the area but RSVPed that they would be there and in follow up phone calls sounded quite excited to see everyone again. Day of the wedding arrives and no sign of the couple. The ceremony goes off and the reception starts and still no sign of them. No phone call, no email, nada. It has been a year and my mom hasn’t heard a peep from them since just before the wedding–it’s like they fell off the planet. They don’t even answer their phone anymore. And honestly, my mom wasn’t mad at them for not showing up, she was worried. And since they live quite a distance away, a little lie like “Oh, Joe fell down the stairs and we were at the hospital” can’t be verified and would keep them from being so embarrassed they have to avoid the phone. Strange. So apparently going from “OMG, I am SOOO excited!” to “Uh…” is pretty common.

  • Sarah August 16, 2010, 9:39 am

    I want to know what’s up with this part: “He wanted to be invited to our wedding, and not just that, but to our reception too.”

    How can you invite someone to the ceremony but not the reception? I realize she invited him to both, but did she also invite people to one but not the other? That sounds like being invited to the shower but not the wedding – rude!

  • Bint August 16, 2010, 10:00 am

    Someone did this to me and 3 years later I just asked him why he never appeared. He shamefacedly admitted he’d got so drunk the night before that he was too hungover to come. I laughed at him and said it was a shame he’d missed it. Idiot.

  • josie August 16, 2010, 10:08 am

    Am I safe in assuming they never got a gift from Ryan either? Would be tempting just to bill him for the $30 of the meal.

  • AS August 16, 2010, 10:32 am

    It is awful for Ryan to not show up to the wedding, in spite of RSVPing (late that too) positive.

    OP and fiancé needn’t have felt obliged to invite Ryan either, just because he seemed he really wanted to attend the wedding. Chances are that he was just taking interest in a friendly (and probably a bit immature) way in your life, but didn’t really expect an invitation. He probably was pretty embarrassed to have got one. If yours is one of the first weddings amongst your friends, that can explain his excitement.

  • Elizabeth August 16, 2010, 11:19 am

    We had people try to invite themselves, and we just said no (in a nice and polite way, of course). We even had a few no shows that RSVP’d yes. That really didn’t bother me, because we did our wedding on the cheap and the food was a light buffet. I could very much see how insulting it would be to have someone push to come and then be a no show. . . especially when the price per head is so high.

  • KMC August 16, 2010, 11:42 am

    I was shocked by how many people asked or even demanded to be invited to my wedding. The worst was a friend of my grandmother’s. I was at a fundraising event my grandmother had organized and this friend of hers marched up to me, stuck her finger in my face and told me “I’d better get an invitation to your wedding!” And then marched away. I had met her an hour before, and had said nothing to her about my wedding, and neither had Grandma. Grandma told me later the lady said she had noticed my ring and decided she wanted to be at the wedding.

    I was surprised my grandmother didn’t get an earful when that lady DIDN’T get an invitation.

  • Amazed August 16, 2010, 12:36 pm

    That kind of thing happens all the time, sadly. Give a dinner party or get tickets to the theater or the ball game and some clueless clod will either cancel at the last minute or just now show up.

  • Anonymous August 16, 2010, 12:54 pm

    I got married during the last year of my degree as well, and had similar responses. We were having a small, family-only wedding, and several good-but-not-close friends kept pressuring us (in what was clearly meant to be a friendly way) for an invite. It was easier to say no, since we could just keep saying that it was parents and grandparents only.

  • kero August 16, 2010, 1:08 pm

    It is rude and annoying. Unfortunately, it spans across all event types :o(

  • BusyBee August 16, 2010, 1:18 pm

    How totally rude! It’s amazing to me how people behave when it comes to weddings–especially regarding invites. They seem to lose all sense of what’s appropriate. My fiance had several former co-workers (whom he has not seen or kept in touch with for some years) call him up and tell him they wanted to be invited, and I had someone who writes for me ask to be invited to my bridal shower! People are strange…

  • SHOEGAL August 16, 2010, 1:48 pm

    Unfortunatley, guest sometimes RSVP in the affirmative and then don’t come anyway. For my wedding my husband’s cousin didn’t make the due date for the RSVP so calls were made to find out if he was coming or not. He answered that he wasn’t sure about his daughers’ schedules to include them – and then finally after a couple more days said that only he and his wife were coming. Neither one of them showed up. My photographer was going around our reception taking pictures of some of the little details we incorporated into our day and took a snapshot of the placecards but AFTER all of the other guest had taken theirs and were seated. I have a great shot of their cards sitting on that table and all I can think of is how rude they are.

  • mommaknowsbest August 16, 2010, 2:15 pm

    I’m kind of surprised at the number of brides here who “keep score” on who’s there and not. I know on my wedding day, I was so overwhelmed with the ceremony, etc. that I honestly had no idea who was there or not. I get that today’s brides are paying huge costs in individual plates at the reception – but again, if you are going to be cringing and keeping track at who’s there and who’s not and how many plates you had to pay for, do something more simple and low budget so it doesn’t bother you so much.

    • admin August 16, 2010, 3:24 pm

      Mommaknowsbest – In my experiences, it’s the parents of the bride who take notice of which guests failed to rsvp or did not attend when they said they would. It comes down to concerns for the budget. When one of my brothers married years ago, the bride’s father furiously collected up about 20 place cards of guests who had rsvped in the affirmative and then did not attend. For him, that was $400.00 in catering he felt he wasted on people who did not honor their rsvp committments.

  • TylerBelle August 16, 2010, 2:31 pm

    It may be total cluelessness of what they are putting the hosts through, or something may have legitimately come up last minute, though what I read in behavior like this is people’s need to feed the ol’ ego. They want you to jump through hoops to accommodate their request, then when they get what they’ve asked for, they say in words or through actions, ‘Ah no, forget it, I’ve changed my mind.’ Grrr…

  • badkitty August 16, 2010, 2:51 pm

    This is the problem with people who can’t manage to RSVP on time: they generally can’t be counted on to RSVP correctly, either.

  • RP August 16, 2010, 2:51 pm

    Ryan sounds more like an acquaintance as opposed to a friend.

    @Typo Cat – I think you might be right but then couldn’t he have affected interest without acting like he wanted to attend? He could have said something like, “I can’t wait to see the pictures” or “I bet planning this is a lot of work”.

  • Chamoisbear August 16, 2010, 3:29 pm

    Something similar happened at my wedding. I had a friend that happened to call me at work a few months before my wedding, and as we were catching up, I said that I was getting married. She begged for an invitation, and said she would definitely be there. She sent the RSVP back with a “yes” also. My venue does their own catering (amazing food!!), and I had to have my numbers in to them 2 weeks before our wedding day. 12 days before the wedding, friend calls and says that she can’t come because she has a cold. I just told her that I had already turned the information in to the caterers, and it couldn’t be reduced at that point. Since there was still almost 2 weeks to the wedding, I told her to see how she felt later, since I couldn’t change anything on my end. She and her husband didn’t show, and I’ve not heard from her since (our 2 year anniversary is next month).

    Don’t even get me started on my dad’s friend (that mom & I didn’t even want on the guest list as they are notorious flakes) that when called – since they didn’t send in their RSVP – said they would definitely be there. Three days before the wedding, a mutual friend called them to see if she could get a ride with them. Yeah, they weren’t coming because they “didn’t feel like it”. They never called us to let us know that they wouldn’t be making it. We found out through the mutual friend.

  • andi August 16, 2010, 3:31 pm

    i still feel horrible for not making it to the reception of a coworker /friend. Not many work people had been invited and i had RSVP’d on time, looking forward to the event (since i was also planning my wedding) and feeling rather special at being included. The day of the wedding i woke up feeling “off”, made it to the ceramony but barely through it. Said “hello” at the receiving line then asked another coworker to please take my gift to the reception since i wasn’t sure at that point if i’d make it. I didn’t – and was still sick on Monday. I still feel bad – but she’s never mentioned it and neither have i.

  • Azhia August 16, 2010, 3:49 pm

    I’m the one who submitted this story and I realise I need to clarify something. I don’t usually hold with inviting people to a ceremony but not the reception, but it was pretty standard practice at the small university I went to. With a student body of 300 and numerous weddings every summer, it was extremely common to receive a verbal or even a written invite to the church but not the dinner and dance afterwards. I didn’t really go along with the practice, but when Ryan initially assumed he was attending our wedding I thought he meant just that — wedding only, since that was what was usually done. However, he went past the school practice of attending fellow classmates’ wedding ceremonies to insinuating he would be offended if not invited to the reception.

  • Jillybean August 16, 2010, 3:54 pm

    LOL – @admin – I’d be psyched if 20 people not showing at my wedding only meant a $400 loss. 🙂 Not that we’re doing anything crazy extravagent, but I didn’t find anything quite that inexpensive for serving dinner. That said – wedding is in 5 days and today alone we have had 2 last minute date requests, 1 cancellation, and a 4th guest that is hinting that she either needs to bring her kid (it’s a kid free wedding, but pretty last minute) or not come. We’re trying to go with the flow and not stress too much about it. I’m actually more bummed about the cancellation than the possible additions. Hoping not to have a lot of no shows, because I’d be bummed just to not have them there.

    • admin August 16, 2010, 8:57 pm

      Jillybean, the wedding was 25 years ago when $400.00 was a lot of money. Adjusted for inflation, that’s the equivalent of $795.00 today.

  • Simone August 16, 2010, 4:13 pm

    @mommaknowsbest – My wedding was quite small (about 50 guests) so maybe I’m different, but I made a point of visiting each guest and having a personal conversation with them so I would definitely have noticed a no show (I didn’t have any).

    In the OP I don’t think the cost of the catering was the big issue either – she was just hurt that someone who said they wanted to be there wasn’t.

  • gramma dishes August 16, 2010, 4:39 pm

    When our daughter got married, she wasn’t sure how many of the people they invited would actually be able to come. They chose to have a buffet style dinner so that guests could sit wherever they wished and choose which foods they preferred.

    But the caterers only prepared food for set numbers of guest. They had to chose between food for 50 or food for 75. Since they had invited about 60 adults, they obviously chose the ’75’ package. So they knew there would probably be food left over even if every single person showed up.

    One of the nicest things about a buffet reception is that if someone doesn’t show up (or the food just doesn’t all get eaten), the extra food can be taken home by the HC, the bride’s family, the groom’s family, out of town guests who will be staying at hotels with microwaves and local friends.

    The caterers actually provided a whole bunch of those nifty little snap lid containers just for that purpose! They even provided plastic knives, forks and spoons and a few paper plates (for those staying in hotels)! We thought of it as a bonus for those guests who did attend and the ‘tomorrow’s lunch/dinner’ was much appreciated by those who walked out the door with a couple of containers! It was great!

    No food wasted, no money wasted, less clean up for the caterers, and very happy attendees! 😉

  • Sharon August 16, 2010, 4:40 pm

    Typo Tat… then why return the RSVP saying that YES he would attend???

  • Kay August 16, 2010, 5:43 pm

    I had a peripheral acquaintance who tried to get herself invited to my wedding, but I’m such an airhead I didn’t catch even the pushiest hints ;).

  • Patty August 16, 2010, 6:14 pm

    I would not have invited him. You were very kind in doing so and when the RSVP did not came back, you should have let it go.

  • Me August 16, 2010, 6:30 pm

    Also, I would imagine that the brides who ‘keep score’ are upset about the absence of a friend or family member at their wedding, like the commenter who mentioned the godmother that didn’t make it.

  • Anonymous August 16, 2010, 7:15 pm

    I actually had the opposite thing happen to me. I was told by the bride that I was invited to the wedding of two people in my church group, but not to tell everyone because they couldn’t invite everybody in the group. So, the wedding gets close, and I find that everyone else in the group got an invitation _except_ me. I was so confused I even asked a friend (who was invited) to call the bride and make sure I wasn’t invited. I suspect the invite might have been rescinded because I voted “no” in their online poll of “We want to invite more people to the wedding, but weddings are expensive. Should we invite people to the church and not the reception?” The kicker is, the people who actually were invited are the most etiquette-challenged in the world, and didn’t even realize they ought to dress up (read: not wear raggedy jeans and an old concert T-shirt) and bring a gift. (This isn’t the extent of the etiquette-challengedness. One of them also wanted to throw himself a birthday party, ask everyone to bring their own food and alcohol, pass around a hat for people to put money in, and sell cans of beer at a profit. Then again, the bride and groom are the sort to throw themselves birthday parties at restaurants and expect everyone to pay for themselves, and invite people over for dinner only to tell them “Food is expensive. If you want to eat, you’ll have to give us $x.”) Come to think of it, maybe it’s a good thing I was disinvited…

  • Bamff August 16, 2010, 7:17 pm

    @Mommaknowsbest: I wasn’t keeping track of who wasn’t there because of the cost but because I wanted to make sure I greeted our guests. I honestly did not notice most of the people who no-showed after saying they would be until they said something after the wedding to me.

  • TheBardess August 16, 2010, 7:27 pm

    @mommaknowsbest- It may not be a matter of “keeping score” but just something that people notice. At my wedding, there were several no-shows. How do I know this? In the course of going from table to table with my husband, greeting all the guests, I noticed that there were quite a few empty places- something which puzzled me, because we had done a very careful headcount and ordered chairs appropriately, so there shouldn’t have been any empty ones. When I realized people had not shown up who had RSVP’d yes, I was a little upset- not because I was “keeping score,” or “cringing” about the cost, but simply because I was disappointed not to have these people that I cared about be there to share in this important day with me. It isn’t always a matter of petty score-keeping.

  • padua August 16, 2010, 8:14 pm

    i was married saturday, and had several people RSVP who didn’t show. granted, that was an expense we had to eat, but as well, i invited those people because i wanted to share the event with them, and was disappointed i didn’t get to see them. i don’t think it’s fair to say if we look forward to someone coming and they don’t show that we’re ‘keeping score.’ some people are invited because they’re genuinely welcome there, and it’s a disappointment when they take their commitments (RSVP’ing and then not showing) lightly.

  • The Cat Whisperer August 16, 2010, 8:28 pm

    FWIW, it sounds to me like Ryan is just one of those people given to extravagances of speech. I think the lesson here is: decide who you want to invite, and then stick to that list through thick and thin.

    With regards to people who RSVP in the affirmative and then fail to show, you know what? This is what happens when there is no consequence to an etiquette misbehavior. Back when “RSVP” was associated only with very formal functions of people in the upper levels of society, being an RSVP no-show had real consequences: people who did that could find themselves not invited to any functions, and would find people declining their invitations.

    Now there really isn’t any consequence for the no-shows. They make weak excuses, people feel that if you get upset at them you’re just too uptight. If there’s no consequence for a misbehavior, there should be no surprise that incidences of the misbehavior increase.

  • Mary August 16, 2010, 9:13 pm

    When we got married 12 years ago, we had 30 people out of 210 that RSVP’d yes and didn’t show up. Plus we had to pay for all of those dinners and according to WI state law, you can’t take the food home with you. The law we knew about ahead of time so at least that wasn’t a surprise.

  • Michelle Prieur August 16, 2010, 11:12 pm

    Gramma dishes- That was a great idea about the buffet, and the containers to take food home in. Unfortunately, that will bring out more rudeness: a few people filling just as many as they can!! I had the opposite problem of the OP’s at my very small wedding: my husband was in the army and he had a fellow soldier who had made it clear that he and his wife didn’t like me. (Still have no idea why). The ceremony was over, it was at an outside park, and who pulls into the parking lot but the soldier, uninvited, with his young child and another kid! I ignored him, and he stood around outside the car. He never did approach us, probably because he knew he was doing something he shouldn’t be doing. I finally asked my husband through clenched teeth to go over, accept the card the guy was holding, say thank you politely, and come back. He did. Never heard from them again.

  • Anonymous August 16, 2010, 11:49 pm

    My husband and I paid for our wedding entirely ourselves and had to really consider who we wanted to invite because there were a lot of friends we just couldn’t afford to have there. I was too busy to pay attention to who was not there during the reception, but you bet we noticed later when their place cards hadn’t been used, and there was no sign of them in the guest book or in any of the photos! I was cringing about the cost, but mostly, that I had invited these inconsiderate clods in place of some other friends who might have been more thoughtful and followed through with whatever they had RSVPed. That’s the ultimate form of disrespect to flake out on an important event and not even have the decency to contact the hosts later and apologize.

    There is a consequence for that behavior. I don’t want “friends” like that in my life. I certainly didn’t talk to them again.

    A few years later, we attended a good friend’s wedding. When the reception was nearly over, I looked at the table of unused place cards. I knew how many people had been invited to their wedding. I counted the unused place cards and did the math. Nearly 1/3 of guests who had RSVPed yes didn’t show! One third! At about $50 a person at their wedding, that’s $2700!

  • Mechtilde August 17, 2010, 3:57 am

    It can be hard not to notice that certain guests have not come- especially at a relatively small wedding. In our case it was extra noticable as the four people had all been put on the same table, and we had made an effort to make sure that the other people on the table could speak their language.

    I was annoyed. My DH was very upset, as we had deliberately kept the wedding small and there were plenty of other people we left off the list to invite them.

  • Caitlin August 17, 2010, 4:08 am

    I got married in april and there were a couple of people who worked with me who begged and pleaded for invites at the last minute, and then just didn’t turn up.
    We also had people who we had forgotten to invite dragged along by friends though, so it sort of evened out…
    Luckily it was a buffet, so fewer/more guests wouldn’t have mattered overly much- I was just a bit hurt that after begging for an invite so close to the wedding date I had to give them the invite by hand, they didn’t turn up.

  • Lenera August 17, 2010, 4:58 am

    RSVP yes or no, and stick with it unless there is a dire emergency, and then you’d better at least phone in your regrets and send a nice card later explaining in detail. I’ve had nightmarish situations with RSVP blunders, but the worst, IMHO, was something I never thought I’d see in all my days.

    A couple years ago, I was MOH for my cousin’s wedding. Two weeks before the wedding, I was shocked to find out that NO ONE had sent an RSVP, either afirmative or negative. As I was the one keeping count, I had – of course – ticked myself off in the “yes” column, but I was the only one. Not even the families of the bride and groom sent back their RSVPs. When I started calling around to ask people, most of them were surprised to find that we actually expected them to respond at all. They just assumed we knew if they were coming or not. We had sent out nearly 300 invitations! There was no way we could keep track of that many people without writing stuff down. That is the whole point of asking someone to RSVP in the first place. They are not just pretty letters to take up space on a card. Coming from the French “répondez s’il vous plaît,” the phrase literally translates to “please respond.” What does a hostess have to do to get a head count? Beg?

  • Lambzig August 17, 2010, 4:58 am

    Wow, I cant believe that people would RSVP yes to a wedding and not turn up. Here in the UK, I have never heard of that happening unless there has been some serious illness or family problem and then the non-attendee would definitely contact the HC or their families in advance. Pretty unforgiveable behaviour whether they begged for an invitation or not (itself really bad etiquette as well).

  • Typo Tat August 17, 2010, 7:16 am

    @Lenera – If out of 300 people not a single one sent RSVP – the problem undoubtedly lays with the invitations, not the guests.

  • Jillybean August 17, 2010, 8:24 am

    @lenera – I think the acronym RSVP is actually part of the problem. Some people don’t actually know what it means, but have a vague sense of “oh yeah, I think I’m supposed to tell them I’m coming” and then forget, move on, whatever. And the literal translation is not “please respond” – it’s “respond if you please.” To you that means please respond – to others it might mean, they only have to respond if it pleases them to do so. Or perhaps it means to some, respond only if it pleases you to attend, in which case they wouldn’t respond if they do not plan to attend. It’s further complicated when people write – RSVP: Regrets Only – many people think that they don’t reply if they are coming.

    RSVP, to me, is like ASAP – people use it incorrectly to mean “immediately” and in reality it directly translates to “as soon as possible” which could, quite frankly, mean next week for the person being asked to perform whatever task. Avoid confusion and state your deadline

  • Jillybean August 17, 2010, 8:26 am

    Ooops – hit post before I was done.

    I was saying – avoid confustion and state your deadline rather than using ASAP. And don’t use RSVP when “The favor of a response by (insert date) is appreciated” is more clear.