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Thursday, December 6, 2007

When The List Doesn't Add Up

I'm assuming all of you know that when you RSVP to say you'll be a guest at a wedding the bride and groom then add you to their guest list.

But maybe some of you aren't aware that the list then goes through a metamorphosis becoming a seating chart and emerging as a head count to give to a caterer a few days before the wedding.

Once the bride and groom commit to that number they will have to pay for every meal whether every guest shows up or not. Of course there are always understandable and extenuating reasons why you may not make it to a wedding: illness, accidents, even work can impede into your personal time and cause you to miss a social commitment.

But there are those people who think that it's ok to rsvp for 2, then not show up, or leave before the reception, which basically sticks your host and hostess with footing the additional cost of the uneaten meals. Knowing most reception dinners range from $35 to $100 or more per head, that's an easy $70 to $200+ you just stuck your bride and groom with. Seriously, it's money down the drain.

I'm just saying if you know 3-4 days beforehand you can't make it or you're leaving after the ceremony, drop the bride an email or call her on the phone to let her know so she can make the necessary adjustments to her caterer'st list.

1 + 1 = 0
I know a bride who was more then speechless when one of her guests ducked out after the ceremony. The guest was a vegetarian, so the bride had ordered an entire vegetarian entree with her in mind. When time came for the guest's table to go to the buffet the bride went looking for her so she could let her know there was a non-meat entree for her. When she couldn't find her she asked around only to learn that the guest and her date had left! She heard later through the grapevine that it was because the date was bored and they were tired of waiting for dinner to be served. Mind you this was during a cocktail hour with an open bar and plenty of Hors d'Oeuvres, hand passed and a buffet, so the excuse was weak at best. In any case the bride and groom ended up paying an extra $100+ dollars for those two uneaten meals.

5 + 5 = 0
Another bride I know had over 10 guests in one family not show up because one person didn't feel well enough to attend. It was disappointing on a personal level not to have part of her family there and expensive from a financial standpoint since my friend was charged for all of their uneaten meals.

40 + 40 = 90
Another time I was a guest at a wedding where more people showed up then expected. This caused a problem of not having enough chairs and tables for all of the guests. Especially because it was a sit down reception, not a buffet. So if you say you're bringing yourself and one guest, that means bring yourself and one guest. Not yourself and 2 guests. At least not without clearing the addition with the bride or groom. Most likely they'll say of course you can bring another guest, and can then let the caterer and facility know to add one more to the list. Since many places bring in rentals if 10 extra people show up? There are no tables or chairs to throw together. The delivery truck that could have brought them will have left hours earlier when they delivered the requested number of chairs, tables and place settings.

1+1 = 1
I happened to speak to one of our guests a few days before we turned in the head count to our caterer and he casually mentioned he was not bringing a companion anymore even though he had already rsvp'd for two. Did he call me? Nope. I just happend to contact him for another reason. So please, let your host or hostess know that you'll be coming alone if your guest or date cancels on you. I can't speak for everyone but I'd prefer a guest either let me know as soon as they find out or invite someone else as their date, as opposed to leaving a chair empty at the table and a meal paid for but uneaten.

At the end of the day being a gracious host and hostess curtails the bride and groom from chastising anyone for this type of unnecessary expense. But we as guests can be gracious enough to let our hosts know if we are not going to be able to attend, stay, or bring the number of people we committed to their list when we filled in our RSVP card and dropped it in the mail. Really, it's the least we can do.


  1. I know what you mean. My dad begged to invite extened family that I was not planning to invite. He said he would pay the extra cost for them to come...he sure did! After all 20 extra RSVP "yes", they were all a NO SHOW at the wedding. Not only do you pay for 20 extra dinners, that meant 20 extra favors, 2 extra center pieces, 2 extra custum made numbers for the table and more wedding cake than I needed. Come on people! I know this sounds so bad, but not one of those 20 even sent us a card or gift!

  2. Your post is right but it would seem that all this is just common knowledge. Some people just have no manners and nothing will change that.

  3. You may be right Joan. So far I've spoken to several people this has happened to, but nobody who will admit that they've done it. Perhaps most people do know better. Hmmmmmm.

    And Oh My Gosh CMD, that is awful! 20 people? Extra cake is never a bad thing but the rest would have made me feel a bit ill if I thought about it too hard.


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