When Do We Need to Give Our Wedding Vendors the Final Guest Count?
It depends on your specific vendor, but this number is generally due shortly after your RSVPs come in.
Wedding reply cards are typically due two to four weeks prior to the wedding, depending on the timing that's required by your vendors and what you think your guests will respond best to. Gathering all the responses and tallying up your final count doesn't necessarily end on the due date of your reply cards, but you should have a pretty clear idea of your total guest count within a couple of days. Here's what you need to know about getting that final number to your vendors who need it.
Check your contracts.
Most vendors will require a final guest count anywhere from 48 hours to four weeks prior to your wedding, but it totally depends on the vendor and what they're providing. For example, your florist may need a little more lead time to order special flowers you've requested, whereas your caterer may not mind waiting until the week-of to finalize their food orders. Check your contract and if it doesn't specify, give your vendor a call to confirm their timing for final numbers.
Some vendors don't require a final guest count.
Musicians, officiants, photographers, and videographers, for example, often don't require a final guest count. They'll ask for an estimate when you start working together, but it won't make much difference to them if that number goes up or down by 20 guests.
Remind all your vendors in a final pre-wedding email.
When you send your final timeline out to all of your vendors, you can reiterate your final guest count so everyone's on the same page. This is also a great opportunity to remind vendors of any specific venue regulations or contact phone numbers they may need for your wedding day.
Keep your catering and planning team in the loop.
Your caterer and wedding planner should be kept in the loop about any last-minute dropouts or additions, even if they come in after you've given your final guest count. You won't get a refund from catering on those guests you've committed to, but this way you can avoid empty seats at tables or a last-minute scramble to seat any unexpected guests.