Over the weekend my husband and I packed up all of the wedding gifts we received and moved them into storage in preparation of our anticipated move later this year and it was a wonderful reminder of all the love and support we received during our wedding. Because I personally enjoyed hearing from recent brides in wedding chats prior to our wedding I am still in a wedding chat and from time to time will comment when something similar to something we experienced pops up in my newsfeed. One thing that I see a common frustration with is guest lists and as a recent bride I have a few thoughts on this. Since it's almost time for the 2017 wedding season to begin which means invites for spring weddings have already gone out I figure now is a good time for a little PSA when it comes to wedding invites.
Our wedding invite
Not only from my own wedding but from my numerous conversations with fellow brides I can say with certainty that the guest list is one of the biggest considerations a couple makes when planning their wedding. Be it an intimate affair or big throw down every single guest is personally thought of by the bride and groom or their families to be someone important enough tot share this special day with. So, my first ask to guests is PLEASE RSVP. I'll freely admit I have often been the drop it in the mail right before the deadline rsvper but I have always sent it in. I get it, maybe you didn't really expect to be invited to the wedding - an invite does not obligate you to attend. Even if you just don't want to attend keep in mind that someone thought highly enough of you to send you an invite, the very least you can do is check the regrets box on the response card and stick it in the pre stamped envelope - this takes you less than 30 seconds. Some times the post office losses invites, or the responses so ideally the couple or their families will reach out to every guest they have not heard from , and it's just courteous to keep yourself off that list. For our wedding we were lucky enough that we only had a handful of people to reach out to and most were responses that were delayed by the mail but I recently saw a bride that had 60 guests not rsvp - 60! One of my husband's guest said he wasn't sure when my husband reached out so just to be clear - this is a yes or no thing and I'll get to why its so important in a bit.
Speaking of being invited, don't hint around to the couple that you would like to be invited if you have no intention of actually attending. For our wedding we kept our guest list on the smaller side by choice not due to financial constraints so my husband and I were lucky enough to be in the position that if someone mentioned our upcoming wedding and looking forward to it we could extend them an invite - but quite frankly most couples are not in this position. In my experience most couples are unable to extend invitations to everyone the would like to invite so if you presuming you are on a couples guest list puts them in the very difficult position of either hurting your feelings or not inviting someone else. We were absolutely shocked when several people who point blank told us they would be at our wedding long before we decided to invite them didn't come (and we had our wedding date on our engagement announcement on social media so from the get go our date was out there).
Finally, if you are invited and you do accept the invite I feel like this should go without saying but SHOW UP! Life happens and emergencies come up but be real on what's an actual emergency and what is not. I've gone to weddings before with killer migraines and ducked out as soon as the cake was cut and I've gone to weddings dateless - it's not the end of the world. I'm talking to you married couples, if the kids are sick or one of you is ill please send at least one of you. There's two main reasons why this really hurts - one is from a practical standpoint cost (this is also why couples need a firm RSVP a few weeks in advance of the date). A wedding reception is not a restaurant where if you don't go your reservation is given to someone else and your meal not cooked. Your presence is accounted for and paid for two weeks in advance of the wedding. And while you may think oh well, more food for other guests there is soooo much more than food costs per guests. For our wedding our variable per guests costs were food / servers, glass rentals (5 per guest), satin napkins, napkin rings, flatware and charger rental per seat, Chairs and tables, table linens, table centerpieces, alcohol , menus, table cards, and programs. I don't think it's appropriate to talk about the actual cost but let's just say if the no shows to our wedding had rsvped no we would have saved enough for a vacation . It's not that we can't afford it, or this put us in a tough financial spot but I don't know anyone who likes wasting money.This may sound harsh but the reality is when you rsvp and don't show you have effectively taken money from that couple and I don't think its normal behavior to reach into someone's wallet and take cash from it and throw it away so why would you do something that has the same effect? And yes, the couple still loses this money if guests cannot attend due to an actual emergency and that's life and emergencies simply cannot be helped - you forgetting or not feeling like it can. The second reason is quite frankly because it hurts - it hurts to see those empty seats and realize that there are people who didn't care enough to be there.
I mentioned our wedding gifts at the beginning of this post so I do want to touch on this topic as well - there's some etiquette out there that states a wedding guest must send a gift regardless if they attend or not. While I do think there are unfortunately couples out there who do use their wedding as a "gift grab" or have expectations of being reimbursed for the wedding cost the majority of couples I have encountered are truly inviting people special to them without any expectation of a gift. Gifts are lovely and always appreciated but honestly a simple card letting the couple know you are thinking of them means just as much - we still have all the cards we received and are going to have them bound into a book (yes, this is a thing).
Some people hate weddings, others love them but regardless as long as you respond appropriately when invited you're sure to be appreciated by the Bride and Groom.