When it comes down to the final days before the wedding, nothing is more frustrating for a bride-to-be than a flip-flopping guest count. Rearranging table assignments and having new place cards calligraphed every day isn’t exactly how most brides plan to spend their wedding week. Save yourself the hassle and give yourself a stress-free wedding week by getting a guest count that is as accurate as can be. That being said, expect some wiggle room… it wouldn’t really be a wedding if someone didn’t show up or cancel last minute!

Of course, as your DFW wedding caterer, we also want to have the most accurate numbers possible; this will help us serve up hearty, delectable portions to every honored guest. Generally, an accurate guest count helps everyone involved in the planning process! So how do you aim for accurate numbers? Here are our insider tips and tricks.

The general rule of thumb is that about 15%–20% of your guests will decline. This number will probably lean toward the higher end with an out-of-town wedding. Starting with this guideline is helpful when you’re drafting preliminary guest lists.

Next, be sure to send out your save the dates and wedding invitations with plenty of advance notice. In general, save the dates are sent about 4–6 months before the wedding; followed by formal invitations at 8 weeks prior to the big day. A courteous advance on save the dates and invitations allows guests to mark their calendar and designate time for your wedding.

You should also be certain to include an easy-to-follow response system in your invitation suite. Whether your invites are modern, boho, or traditional, you can always include some indication of preferred response. You should always include a “reply by” date, three weeks prior to the wedding. Many couples now lean towards online responses, which have had high success! If you use a formal reply card, be sure to include a pre-stamped envelope to make sending the rsvp as easy as possible.

When it’s crunch time (a few days past your “reply by” date), start making calls to any un-responded guests. Be polite but firm; if you need to, you can shuffle the responsibility on us with an easy but firm excuse: “I’m sorry to trouble you, but have you had a chance to look at your calendar? We need to confirm a head count with our caterer by the end of the week.”

Last but not least, be flexible! No matter what you do to ensure an accurate guest count, someone will always show up with an unexpected date or will miss a flight and have to cancel last minute. Just roll with the punches; luckily, working with an experienced caterer should make it easier on you! As a top DFW wedding caterer, we’ve seen it all. We come prepared to assist you with any guest count mishaps, and we do our best to also be as flexible as we can.

We hope you’ll take these steps to an accurate guest count—for your sake, and ours! We promise to serve up delectable food no matter what. Thanks for helping us out with the best numbers you can get. What can we do in return? Let us know how we can assist you!