Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Crunching the Snow Cone RSVP numbers

By now, our wedding RSVP deadline has come and gone.  And then some.  We only have two more pairs of guests to track down, so I feel like that's a complete enough picture to breakdown our RSVP results.  Here we go!

Number invited: 276
Number attending: 193

Decline percentage: 30%

Now that we have the numbers, let's crunch them.  Truthfully speaking, never in a million years did Mr. Snow Cone and I anticipate ending up with a wedding reception with fewer than 200 people.  We spent more than a little bit of a time stressing over the guest list, making cuts to give us a morsel of breathing room.  We had visions of people uncomfortably squeezed together at tables that were also uncomfortably squeezed together.  Lots of tables with lots of people in a moderately-sized room on an August evening - it's practically a request for someone to pass out!  We were definitely worried about attendance, to say the least.

Once the RSVPs started rolling in, we would kind of secretly high-five when we got a "no," since that meant that we'd have a little bit more room to work with.  Once we had enough declines to update our maximum number of guests attending to 240, our target number, we were quite pleased.  But something weird happened once we hit our target number.  The "no" replies kept rolling in.  Each day our maximum number dropped lower and lower, until we both had the realization that 200 would be a stretch.  We were baffled as to how we could be so far off in our estimates - we were shooting for 240; how could 200 become the new reality?!

After giving myself a pep talk to not take these responses personally, I took a look at the guest list.  Here's a more nuanced look at our responses.

Number not attending: 79 (I subtracted the 4 guests still in question)
     - Percentage of empty seats that are from "no" replies: 64%
     - Percentage of empty seats that are from unused +1s: 36%

     - Percentage of empty seats from out of town guests: 63%
     - Percentage of empty seats from in-town guests: 37%

In other words, only 2/3 of the empty seats are from people who flat-out aren't coming and/or are from out of town, and the other 1/3 are from people who aren't bringing date and/or are local.  Mr. Snow Cone and I decided, when constructing our guest list, to give all of our friends the option of bringing a date; given that a substantial number of our friends now live out of town, it's not a big surprise that a lot of people chose to pay for one flight instead of bringing along a date who would bear a substantial expense.  Moreover, many of our out-of-town friends aren't in serious relationships; therefore, it's not shocking that our friends didn't opt to ask an acquaintance to travel cross-country to attend a wedding of two strangers, paying a hefty amount in the process.  When analyzing the results along these two variables, it makes a lot more sense how we ended up with our magic sub-200 number. 

All in all, we're still kind of coming to terms with the fact that our wedding will be a bit smaller than we ever anticipated.  But, with that being said, we're also relieved that there will be more personal space, fewer linen rentals, fewer centerpieces, and more time to be spent with each person.

What was your biggest RSVP surprise?


  1. wow! that's crazy to know your rsvp results were so unlike what you thought! you're right though about all the benefits to it though. either way, it's still gonna be amazing!

  2. My fiance and I have gotten a large number of No RSVPs too. I'm interested now to see what our percentage is from unused +1's, I hadn't thought about counting that before!