You’ve planned the perfect wedding, now the next step is making sure people actually show up to the big day. Of all the wedding-related tasks, waiting for guests to RSVP is one of the most stressful. But if you keep these six simple things in mind, it will make the experience much easier to handle.
1. Give guests plenty of time to respond. If guests are responding by snail mail, set the deadline for two weeks before you actually need the responses. This will give you some breathing room when it comes to giving the final head count to your venue.
2. Let technology make life easier. The old days of snail mail response cards don’t need to apply to your wedding. If you think it would be easier for guests to respond online, then set up a guest RSVP section on your wedding website.
3. Many guests don’t RSVP. No matter how easy you make it for them, some guests simply don’t bother to respond to an invite. While it is truly frustrating, try not to take it personally because it’s something every couple goes through when planning their wedding. Many people will assume you know they’re coming (like your godmother or BFF), some will put your invite aside and it will slip their mind, and there is that small amount of people who are just plain rude. Be prepared to call guests that don’t make your RSVP deadline–or designate your MOH or mom to take on that annoying task.
4. Count on four more. The general rule is that four more people will show up to the wedding than have RSVP’d to the event. Think a single pal who randomly shows up with a date or your parents’ neighbors who decide at the last minute that they actually can attend. So make sure that you have a few extra seats available just in case.
5. 20 percent can’t attend. Another rule of thumb to remember: 20 percent of your guest list will likely not be able to attend your wedding. It’s something to keep in mind if your venue requires a minimum head count.
6. You will have a few no-shows. There will be some guests who said they were coming, but will have to cancel at the last minute. Kids get sick, flights are canceled, and life throws you curveballs—just don’t make your guest feel any worse than they already do about not being able to attend.
For more wedding advice, find out what your wedding dress says about you and 7 things couples with divorced parents should know before planning their wedding.