No, you cannot RSVP “Maybe” to a wedding

Our RSVP deadline was two weeks ago. About half our guests responded. Thus began two weeks of contacting people and trying to say, as nicely as possible, “Hey you fucking asshole. Who raised you? Also, are you coming to the wedding?”

Most people were apologetic and started making a bunch of excuses I had to pretend to care about. Seriously people, just say, “I’m sorry, I won’t be able to make it.” At this point, you are nothing but a “Yes” or a “No” on a spreadsheet to me. Just tell me whether I’m marking you as a “Yes” or a “No,” so I can call the NEXT person who couldn’t be bothered to stick a pre-addressed, pre-stamped card in the mail. I do not want to hear about how “craaaazy” work is for you right now. I do not want to hear about much you have been traveling and how craaaaazy it is. I just want to pay the damn caterer and move on.

Some people were surprised I was even asking because they thought not responding meant “No.”

A couple dozen people, surprisingly, had booked travel to the wedding but hadn’t bothered to tell us they were coming.

But the most aggravating are the people who think it’s OK to say that “maybe” they are coming.

“Oh man, that time of the month is craaaazy for me at work. I’ll have to see.”

“Oh man, I may have to take a business trip around then. I’ll have to see.”

“Oh man, I’m still looking at flight prices. I’ll have to see.”

“Oh man, I’m definitely coming. But I don’t know if my girlfriend can make it. Month-end is craaaazy for her at work.”


You do not get to respond “Maybe” to a fucking wedding.

As a wise coworker pointed out, “Everybody thinks they’re the exception.”

But we have, like, 12 “exceptions.” Two of those are relatives with serious health problems, which is totally different. We’re paying for plates for them and saving them a seat. But the other 10? They apparently expect me to compose polite, carefully-worded texts and Facebook messages to them that escalate in urgency as the wedding approaches, because I obviously have nothing better to do. Or maybe they just expect me to go ahead and pay for 10 extra plates in case they do decide my wedding is worth attending.

So, in case you were EVER planning to RSVP “Maybe” to a wedding, let me tell you what to do instead:

Respond “No.” BEFORE THE DEADLINE. And explain (briefly) that your life is too up in the air to commit to attending the wedding. If you are the *only* exception (which I guarantee you won’t be), the bride and groom can then decide to make an exception for you. But don’t force them into that position. Weddings are stressful and expensive. Don’t add any stress or expense.

And now, here’s a line-by-line translation of what I *wish* I could have written to the last person I sent a follow-up “Are you coming?” Facebook message to:

Hi Chris! (Hey you fucking asshole. Why are we friends again?)

Just wanted to touch base again. (Just want to remind you a second fucking time.)

When I messaged you a couple weeks ago about our wedding invitation, you had said your work and travel plans were up in the air and that you’d let me know ASAP if you and Morgan could attend. (When I took time out of my lunch break to email you even though you couldn’t take two seconds to check a box and mail back a response card, you acted like your time was more important than mine).

Well, I’m sorry to nag again, but our caterer is asking for a final headcount, so we really need to hammer out a guest list so we can make sure we have plates for everyone. (Well, apparently I have to contact your rude ass again because, although you had time to get in a lengthy Facebook argument about Brexit even though you live in fucking Chicago, you haven’t managed to let me know if I need to spend $100 to make space for both of you at the fucking wedding.).

Please let me know ASAP. We’d love to have you there (and would love to meet Morgan!), but we really need to know by tomorrow. (Seriously just tell me if you and your wife are coming. You are just two of 10 complete assholes who are putting me through this tired bullshit.)

This person asked for another week to decide, by the way.



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