Etiquette 101: The RSVPs Are Returning!

Our next dilemma relates to the RSVPs.  J writes to ask:

our RSVP cards didn’t include how many seats we reserved for people…now we are beginning to get them back and we’re not sure how many people our guests are trying to bring. it looks like we’re going to have to make a lot of phone calls after the fact. what’s the best way to handle this? or how do we tell people that the invitation was just for them and did not include a guest? we had addressed them as either mr. p or mr. p and friend or mr. p and family but it still seems as though people are confused.
help is appreciated!

We say: This one is sticky!  Technically, the way you addressed the invitation trumps everything here.  If you addressed to Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and they RSVP yes, you should plan for two attendees.  If you addressed to Mr. Smith only, plan for one.  However, that isn’t necessarily what your guests are thinking!  Did you have a line on the RSVP for your guest to write in their names?  If so, hopefully they wrote in who they were RSVP’ing for and you can check that off against the guest list to see how many situations you have. 

To address it, you’ll be hitting the phone lines.  Let them know that you are thrilled they will be attending your event and would just like to clarify their reply.  If they confirm that they are planning to bring guests that were not originally on the invitation, gently respond that unfortunately due to capacity/budget/etc constraints you are unable to add to your guest list and you hope that they understand.  The call should be made by yourself or your fiance, whichever one of you knows the guest best.

I doubt every call will go perfectly, but you’ll be handling things the best way possible!