Bride & Groom Q & A – When Someone Shows Up But they Responded "No"

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Q. What do we do if someone RSVPs no, but they actually show up on the wedding day?

A. I have seen several answers to this question. Many experts have said to have someone at the door with a list of who will be attending (your “YES” RSVPs), and if someone’s name is not on the list they are to be politely turned away.

The way of thinking behind this is if they said they weren’t coming, then they should not be let in.

However . . .

Regardless of their response, the fact remains that YOU INVITED THEM. You asked them to be there, therefore, you want them to be there. This is the way I see it. You invited them. Their “No” RSVP didn’t uninvite them.

So, what to do with them once they’re there?


In reality, there is a low percentage of people who will attend who said they couldn’t, AND a low percentage of those who RSVPed ‘Yes’ who don’t show up. This number usually cancels each other out. Meaning, you’ve still got the same number of people that you originally planned on.

Caterers typically make more food than needed, often about 5% more, but check with your caterer to be sure. This will alleviate the problem of “we don’t have enough food for another person or two.”

Also, I highly recommend planning on more seating than needed. Here’s an example using 150 people as your final head count. Your head table will seat 10 (you, your groom, and the 8 people in your bridal party), leaving 140 people. Most tables comfortably seat 8 people, so 140 divided by 8 is 17.5. Round this up and at the minimum you’ll need 18 tables. Add in at least 1 extra table, two if you have open seating! That way, if you get a few unplanned people showing up, or someone wants to change their seat, there won’t be any hassle.

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So, back to the original question, what to do if someone shows up who you didn’t plan for? Let them in, but plan ahead for this situation. You’ll be the gracious host, your guests won’t be made to feel uncomfortable, and everyone will have a fabulous time.

Do you have a wedding planning dilemma or question you need answered? Let me know at or at 937-235-2586. I’d be happy to help.

Hearts, Joy, Love!

photo credit: pinprick via photopin cc

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