7 Reasons Why Guests are RSVPing "No" to Your Wedding

Are lots of guests sending their regrets? One of these factors might be to blame.

Photo: Kate Headley

After carefully putting together your ideal wedding guest list and mailing out each invitation, it's only natural to anxiously wait for the RSVPs to come back. But as you start opening the response cards, you're surprised to see that a number of would-be guests have sent their regrets. What gives? Here are seven common reasons why people RSVP "no" to a wedding, which may help you better understand what's happening with your own guest list.

You're having a destination wedding.

You've always wanted to tie the knot on a tropical beach, so a destination wedding was an absolute must for you. But couples tying the knot in faraway places should know that they may end up with more negative RSVPs than they initially thought they'd get. That's because travel and accommodations can be costly, and some people won't have any additional vacation days to spare. For the same reasons, you can also expect many "no" RSVP responses if you're hosting a local wedding with many out-of-town guests.

They have pre-existing plans.

Did you wait until the last minute to send save-the-dates? Guests may already have plans, especially if your big day is taking place over a holiday weekend (like Memorial Day or Labor Day). Don't let this turn you off from your preferred wedding date, though; choosing a date that falls over a long-weekend wedding has several advantages, including the fact that guests have more flexibility with scheduling travel time.

Attending a wedding is costly.

The bride and groom aren't the only ones spending big bucks on the wedding. Guests need to budget for wedding gifts, clothing, gas or airfare, accommodations, and more. If some guests are going through a hard time financially, they may decide that declining your invitation is a smarter investment.

You didn't invite plus-ones.

Wedding etiquette suggests giving plus-one invitations to family members, close friends, and those in long-term relationships. Everyone else doesn't necessarily need a plus-one, but remember that guests arriving solo may be more likely to RSVP "no." Attending a wedding without a date may seem awkward, particularly if you don't know many others in attendance. If you're planning to invite anyone on their own (like that one friend from summer camp), consider extending a plus-one as a courtesy.

Kids aren't allowed.

Some couples have a legitimate reason for hosting an adults-only celebration, whether it's because of budget, space limitations, or personal preference (it's their decision, after all). But while it's acceptable to prevent children from attending, some guests may be offended and decline the invitation. Others may RSVP "no" to avoid dealing with babysitters; child care isn't cheap, and leaving young kids with a babysitter overnight isn't always easy.

Your RSVP date wasn't clear.

Don't underestimate the importance your wedding invitation's wording. If you don't prompt guests to RSVP, they may not find it necessary. Make sure to give clear instructions on the card, such as "Kindly reply by July 14," or "Please respond by the first of September." It's also possible that guests may simply forget to respond. If you're still awaiting replies a few days after the RSVP card due date, call the invitees to figure out their plans.

You barely know them.

Dreaming of a super-large wedding? You may be tempted to invite everyone you know, from college roommates to childhood neighbors. Although some long-lost friends may love the opportunity to reconnect at your wedding, others may not be willing to spend the time and money to attend. Don't take their RSVP response personally; they may be simply trying to avoid an awkward or expensive situation!

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