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When Guests Go Rogue: Dealing with Wedding No Shows

You’re planning the perfect day for you and your groom, and that day also includes your friends and family. Your wedding guests are a big part of your big day, and you try your best to calculate the average wedding attendance. Unfortunately, there is the possibility that you will have a few wedding no shows. As disappointing as that can be, how do you deal with last-minute wedding cancellations?

When Guests Go Rogue | Dealing with Wedding No Shows | Hill City Bride Virginia Weddings Advice

Leave your last minute wedding cancellations to the pros! Photo: Soulseeker

How to Deal with Wedding No Shows

You want everyone to be part of the celebration, but sometimes mishaps come along and important wedding guests can’t make it. Even more stressful, what happens if a vendor goes rogue? What do you do when these unfortunate situations arise in the form of wedding no shows or last-minute wedding cancellations? Let’s break it down into three sections from guest dropouts to attendants and vendors.

Wedding Guest No Shows

As the most minor of the three, wedding guest no shows can be an annoyance. They already sent in their RSVP – plus one and all – but they fail to show up. Maybe it’s for personal reasons, maybe not. Maybe they didn’t know how to RSVP no to a wedding and felt bad doing so.

By this point, you have got to roll with it. I know you prepaid for a specific amount of food, table settings, and cake, but some good can come from it. Say you have a friend or an acquaintance who couldn’t make it before; here’s an open spot ready available!

Wedding No Shows | Last Minute Wedding Cancellations | Hill City Bride Virginia Weddings

Don’t be a no show. Know how to RSVP no to a wedding. Photo: Lee Hnetinka

Often times a few guests don’t RSVP and they show up without notice. This could balance the scales and make for a perfect evening. A heavily debated topic, you can opt to charge your missing wedding guests for their table expenses (ouch!). Weigh the pros and cons of this one. Keep in mind that you have your groom, your parents, and your bestie, so you’re all set.

While you’re still planning for your wedding, the expected wedding guest drop out rate is 20% to 25%, so accommodate for that in the beginning. If you are reading this as a guest, don’t forget to reply to wedding invitation. Not able to attend? Do your best to alert the bride and groom as this will impact their average wedding attendance. Everyone understands that emergencies happen, but don’t just look for excuses not to go to a wedding last minute.

Bridal Party Last-minute Wedding Cancellations

In most cases, your girls and your guys will have your back no matter what. They are your wolf pack, joined together at the hip for all wedding events. However, misfortune can strike at any time and that doesn’t exclude your wedding attendants.

Wedding No Shows | Last Minute Wedding Cancellations | Hill City Bride Virginia Weddings

Emergencies can result in last-minute wedding cancellations. Photo: Edward Eyer

Sickness, car accidents, and emergencies can all be cause for wedding party dropouts. What do you do if one can’t make it? You might want to scramble to find another person to fit in your party, but you really don’t have to. Plenty of couples opt for uneven bridal parties. It will be just as stunning!

If you can’t live without an attendant, find someone who is both important to you and supportive. If the missing wedding attendant had a job for the wedding, make sure that the new person fills the role or have another guest or family member do the job. Either way, come up with a plan for the wedding ceremony.

Uneven numbers will change the wedding processional; one man could walk two bridesmaids and so forth. It shouldn’t be too much to work with, but it’s just a little inconvenient to have last-minute wedding cancellations.

Wedding No Shows | Last Minute Wedding Cancellations | Hill City Bride Virginia Weddings

Plan for vendors that have excuses not to go to a wedding last minute. Photo: Soulseeker

Vendor Excuses Not to Go to a Wedding Last Minute

All right, I know this one is a biggie. Let’s sit down, relax, and talk through the options. Having a vendor drop out last minute is not cool. This is why it is so important to have a wedding planner, even if it’s just for the day of the wedding.

A professional planner can handle any situation, even a vendor cancellation. They have a little black book just for this kind of thing. When a vendor cancels, they will most likely be genuinely sorry and do the best they can to help. Your vendor might be able to work a deal with a colleague in the business and get you something at a cheaper price.

In the contract, sometimes a vendor will already have a back-up plan in place. If you’re still struggling, social media can be a big help. Put it on blast that you need a wedding vendor as soon as possible, and you will get help. That’s one of the many blessings of being connected. Whatever happens, remember to be calm; everything will work out. Admittedly, last-minute wedding cancellations from vendors can impact your wedding the most.

Wedding No Shows | Last Minute Wedding Cancellations | Hill City Bride Virginia Weddings

No matter the wedding no shows, you will be married! Photo: Git Gitau Photography

Final Thoughts on Last-minute Wedding Cancellations

A wedding is one of the biggest celebrations in your life. You want it to be perfect and beautiful. It will surely be, but one little secret for you (for most brides, at least) is that at least one thing goes wrong during the day. Do you know what is special about this? Years later, you can look back and cherish the small things that didn’t go smoothly. It makes your wedding special and unique ⁠— unforgettable, as it should be.

Don’t fret about missing attendants or vendors. Celebrate with the ones around you; those who aren’t able to come will be able to send their love through cards and gifts, and hopefully get to see those beautiful wedding photos. Don’t let wedding no shows and last minute wedding cancellations ruin your day. In the end, the result is still the same – you will be married to the one you love!

 

  • Carolyn - I have never heard of charging the no-shows for their expenses! Wow! I wonder how that goes over. Thankfully I never had a vendor go rogue!

  • Julia Comil - I love the tips! I need to send this to my friend who is getting married because it really helps to feel better about the no-show situation.

  • Stephanie - Honestly, I wish my husband and I hadn’t spent so much time stressing over our guest list. Yes, we wanted to make sure everyone important to us was there, and we wanted to have the space, but in the end, about a quarter of the people who RSVP’d didn’t even attend, and it drove us nuts that we’d gone out of our way to tell others no to their +1 or purchase extra chairs for the day. So while it’s kinda unavoidable to have these issues sometimes, it’s also better to just let it roll off your back if you can!

  • Jennifer - Honestly, I don’t think I’d have the guts to charge no-shows, either. I’d just take it as a loss for sure!

  • Nataly - Luckily, I didn’t have any guests who didn’t show up for our big day and wouldn’t have even thought about charging those who didn’t show! But, thank you for sharing this insight.

  • Ashley R - I just got married and the way I see it, there’s leftover food that family can snack on after the wedding is over when people no show. It is such an annoyance though! One of my bridesmaids flew from Portland OR to Austin TX to be in my wedding. What a saint.

  • WanderlustBeautyDreams - This was an interesting read. Didn’t realize all these things can happen at weddings. Sounds like so much stress that goes into just for a couple of hours in a day. Makes me not want to get married lol. Last minute cancellations should be charged for the inconvenience though.

  • Nailil - I had never given thought to this topic. But I assume there are plenty of no shows at a wedding just like any other event.

  • Jess - Great topic to discuss! I definitely think as long as your main people are there then you’ve got everyone you need, but it’s so good to have a plan and I love these tips!

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