Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wedding Wednesday: On the Other Side of the Guest List


The RSVP deadline for our wedding is this coming Monday, and I have only one thing to say about that: thank goodness.  We sent out the invitations in mid-April and our friends and family have been, for the most part, really great about getting back to us (both with questions, which I'm thrilled to answer, and responses).  Even so, it's been a bit frustrating to wait as the cards have trickled in.  Don't get me wrong; I love the surprise of another envelope in the post!  And some of the RSVPs have included the sweetest notes.  But who can and can't come to our wedding is something I have very little control over, and you know how I hate that.

I've heard horror stories about guests who RSVPd no (or didn't respond at all) and showed up anyway or guests who said they were coming but then didn't show up at all, but I don't think that that will be a problem for us.  First of all, we will get every single response.  (That wasn't supposed to sound so menacing.  Sorry.)  And second, this is a destination wedding for everyone but six people who are invited, and those are all in Jon's immediate family.  So it's not like someone could wake up on our wedding morning who wasn't going to come and think, "Hey, maybe I'll just swing by the venue in a bit!"  The fact that it will take about 2.5 hours to get to Bruisyard Hall from London means that our guests have to plan ahead which, hopefully, means that we won't have too many surprises on the day.

When I first wrote about our guest list, we were inviting 138 guests.  (It took me much longer than it should have to understand that this didn't mean we were sending out 138 invitations - poor Caroline!)  In the end, because of some very significant others that we realized we needed to include plus some last-minute requests from our parents, we invited 152 people.  I'm sure every wedding is different regardless of where and/or when it's held, but I would have loved to have an expert tell me the average percentage of invited guests who would RSVP no.  Obviously that wasn't possible!  But it would have been really helpful to hear more anecdotal evidence from couples in international relationships who threw a wedding on one of their two native countries.  So, though I'm not an expert, here's our breakdown (including my best guess on the handful we haven't yet heard from):

152 invited
105 yes
47 no

This is more regrets than we expected and I wish that everyone (and then some!) could come, but it actually works out in the end; it turns out it would have been impossible to seat more than 119 in the layout we wanted even though our venue technically holds 140.  If any brides-to-be are reading this, remember to ask about this when you visit your venues!

Next week - the seating plan.  Jon and I will be working on this while I'm in London, so please give us any advice you may have! I hear they're notoriously stressful...


29 comments:

  1. If I can figure out a way to hitchhike to your wedding, I am there.

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  2. you're superwoman! just FLY, duh. with your CAPE.

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  3. At my transatlantic wedding in 2009 (held in the US) we invited around 200 initially...and only about 50 said yes! We actually went on to our 'B' and 'C' list of invitees - I think we ended up with 100ish in the end. Still wondering what all that was about.

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  4. Jenni @ Flying on a RainbowJune 26, 2013 at 3:33 PM

    I actually found the seating plan quite easy. We didn't go for sitting couples opposite each other as I've seen others do, and we mostly sat people around a table with other people they knew. Luckily for us we didn't have any awkward can't-sit-them-in-the-same-area situations that I've seen cause nightmares for other weddings!

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  5. Oh man the guest list. I did have people who RSVP'd yes not show, but some things can't be helped (ex. cancelled flight). I also had one husband of a friend show up when she had just RSVP'd for one. It was just a miscommunication, but I am not going to lie--I was walking down the aisle, spotted him, and thought CRAP, I don't have a seat for him. AND THAT is why I did not love the wedding planning even if I loved the wedding. It worked itself out though, and I was obviously happy he was there in the long run.



    We had assigned seats, and I kept hearing from everyone how hard and stressful that way would be. My experience was completely different. I loved it. It was like figuring out a puzzle, and I got to decide who would be excited to sit with each other and who might get along if they didn't already know it other. It was seriously one of my favorite parts. One recommendation--I made a poster board type mock-up of the venue, then wrote names on the tiny post-its. It really helped to visualize it and move people around as I was going through. Man I almost want to do it again! Good luck!

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  6. Just an opinion on seating plans -- I think it's much more fun when people can sit with their friends. I'm not saying no assigned seating, I'm just speaking against the idea of mixing groups of friends. Especially as we get older and weddings increasingly become the few times when groups of friends are able to see each other, it's just a lot more fun and relaxed for people to be with their friends rather than feeling forced into small talk with strangers they're unlikely to see again.

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  7. That is a fantastic turnout for a destination wedding, at least to me. But I am not a wedding pro so who knows ;) It's so close, yay!!

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  8. Betsy, I'm so super excited for you to get married.
    that's all I have to say today.

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  9. haha you're just tired of all the Wedding Wednesdays and can't wait until I run out of things to talk about :P

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  10. man, I think that you're a pro if you've gotten married and survived the wedding!

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  11. haha no, I love the Wedding Wednesdays! it just seems like it's shaping up to be a beautiful, happy day for you and Jon, and I can't wait for you to enjoy it.


    also, since I don't actually know you in real life and thus will not be attending your wedding, it's fun for me to learn about the details. :) you have good taste!

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  12. I'm actually really surprised that there are 105 saying yes! I've never planned a "destination" wedding obviously so that's really awesome. I'm so happy for you. That sounds like the perfect number of people to be able to talk to but not feel overwhelmed.


    On seating plans, we had two people show up that never RSVPed so they weren't assigned to a table, but we had an extra table for overflow just in case. Well apparently they didn't realize it and left since they didn't see their names on the chart. Oops...

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  13. Oh fun times! Cups of tea or sweet tea?! The beauty of the American/Brit wedding. hahaha :P Congrats on your wedding, honey!!

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  14. I've always heard that you have as many guests (physical individuals) as the number of invitations you sent out. I honestly don't remember if that was true for us...
    But while I'm sorry not everyone is able to go to your wedding, it's good that your venue won't feel cramped!

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  15. that sounds like a perfect-sized wedding:) we're trying to narrow down our list to about 150 people but oh man is it difficult!

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  16. haha I can totally see that happening to me - getting distracted by an errant guest in the seats! WHAT ARE YOU DOING THERE, CREEPER.

    so I've done seating charts before for work galas, and it WAS like a puzzle! that's a good (and fun) way to look at it - thank you!

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  17. haha I'll have to check with Jon - God knows what promises he's made over a few pints!

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  18. oh we're DEFINITELY keeping friends together! fo' sho. there are enough people who don't know a lot of other people (and enough people we want to matchmake) that we want to do assigned seating, but we won't make socializing a challenge :)

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  19. oh YAY those are such nice things to read.

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  20. hey, that's a really good thingy to use! I like that - and it's almost true for us! I think we sent out 89 actual invitations.

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  21. man, am I glad you commented! note to self: have a table for overflow...


    but why would you show up, not having RSVPd, and then leave? that's such a waste of everyone's time.

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  22. They came for the ceremony and then once they got to the reception site, they thought we had forgotten about them I guess? It was quite odd. They were distant family though, so I don't feel too bad about. =X

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  23. Good to know! I have a huge family and while I want everyone there, I know it isn't possible. I just hope people respond quickly so I can send out more invites...without those people I send to later knowing they were technically on a "B" list. For my brother's wedding they invited 360 and 175 came, which I thought was interesting. It was in Atlanta which was too far for some, so maybe I will have that problem with an Ohio wedding and guests coming from all over the country. We shall see!

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  24. 105 sounds like a GREAT number. Some friends and I were just hashing this out over drinks last week. I'm of the keep it tight knit camp, rather than the invite everyone you know side. It's going to be great! Can't wait to hear how you're working seating.

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  25. Sounds like us. 130ish invite. 93 (or 92?) at the end. It was PERFECT! You're gonna love have just 100 peeps there! :)

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  26. I didn't find the seating plan stressful at all but that could be due to the fact that I'm a teacher and made seating plans for my classes for 5 years. The wedding was just on a larger scale. Our tables were set for between 10 & 12 guests and it all sort of fit remarkably well.


    We didn't have anyone randomly show but I did have 2 parties do a last minute cancellation. It was a bit annoying but it was one of those things where I told myself to let it slide and not give it another thought.

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  27. Ugh, RSVPs are no annoying. We definitely had to track down people after our deadline. There were a couple of last-minute cancelations in the couple of days before the wedding due to family emergencies, so it's good to be prepared for things like that. But it sounds like you have the perfect number! I think we ended up with 98 or 100 in the end, and it was great. Any more, and it's hard to talk to everyone!

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  28. Ah I've been reading your blog from afar for a while now! But I had to comment becuase I was like - holy sh*t I am in the picture! Lol. Anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing your pictures of your wedding. Congratulations again :-)

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