One of the most significant stressors of wedding planning is choosing your guest list. With space constraints or budget constraints, you may have been forced to limit your guest list size. Therefore, each guest was handpicked to share with you on your special day.

Things are on track, your RSVPs have returned, and you have your head count. It’s the wedding day, and you have no-shows. Ugg!

Percentage of No-Shows

Regrettably, no-shows are expected. Life happens: illness, car troubles, family emergencies, bad weather, etc. What is the typical percentage of no-shows? This calculation varies drastically. However, with our experience at Molto Bella Weddings, we have viewed and been told by experts that you expect 60% to attend. Other statistics have stated that “Depending on the event, 10 to 20 percent of the people who RSVP with a ‘yes’ may not show up to your celebration” (Washington Post). Unfortunately, it’s tough to judge. Sometimes there are more than 60%, other times, there aren’t.

What Can You Do?

When it comes to no-shows, there is nothing you can do. However, awareness of the repercussions can help people honor their RSVP, or RSVP with a “no” to begin with.


“Most event hosts and couples incur the cost of food and beverage for their guests. They also take on the cost of décor, entertainment, and other factors” (Andrew Roby Events). Money, of course, is a factor when a guest decides not to attend your event. However, another factor is that that guest took away a seat from someone you could have invited. As stated in the beginning, guest lists are stressful. You don’t want to exclude anyone, but space or budget requires it. As a guest, make sure you RSVP “no” to begin with if you are on the fence because you were ‘keeping your options open.’ Your seat is valuable. Make sure you attend, or, with advanced notice, let the host know you won’t be able to make it, and someone can take your place.

RSVP Etiquette 

  • Big or Little, Every Celebration Matter: Not just for weddings, but for all gatherings, RSVP and give notice if you cannot attend.
  • Give Notice: After responding “yes” to your RSVP and then finding that you cannot attend, give the host notice.
  • Apologize: Your host has been counting on you attending, and if you are unable to attend, an apology can go a long way.

Bottom line, let the host know beforehand.

This is a frustrating topic because we have seen the effort and funds couples and families have put into their weddings and seen the guests who have failed to arrive. Our advice to families is to be particular with your guest lists and stray away from people who are ‘flaky.” And our advice to any others reading this blog is to be considerate when RSVPing to any event, be sure with your answer, and if life happens, which is understandable, give the host advanced notice. Have questions? We’d love to help, contact Molto Bella Weddings today!

Resources: Andrew Roby Events, Washington Post