I was just reading on another thread that Indydebi's advice is to order for 60% of the people you invited. How do you direct people to know how many servings to order. I guess I'd always assumed you order enough for everyone who RSVP's, is that not right? Or do you order for 60% of the people you invite and then get a more accurate number once the RSVP's come in? I just want to know for future reference to be able to guide people as to how much cake they will want to order. Just curious how you direct brides regarding this.
I dont' trust RSVP's. They Just. Don't. Work. Here's my "evidence" for it (and while it's a small sampling of my many many stories, I see it ALL THE TIME!):
Mom called me less than a week before the wedding in a panic because she rec'd 9 add'l RSVP's. I told her no problem, I'll increase the headcount to 149, but I wasn't going to change the invoice for only 9 people. When I do a wedding, I do numbers: I count chairs, I count plates, I count empty chairs .... i KNOW how many people I've served at any event.
She had 92 people show up at the reception. That means that 57 people who said, "Yes! Yes, I'll be there!" didn't show up.
The wedding I did this past weekend. She had RSVP's for 150 .... Less than 75 people were there.
Had one where the bride owned a bar and the reception was in her bar. We discussed the 60% Rule, but they just SWORE they were more popular than that and would have a big turnout. I ended up cutting that cake like BRICKS because they had less than half of their expected turnout.
I always ask two questions to my couples and I ask them in this order intentionally: How many are you expecting? How many did you invite? The reason I ask in this order is because I want to see what kind of attitude I'm dealing with. A bride who is expecting 275 of her 300 invited guests to show up is a little full of herself. A bride who expects about 200 of her 300 is a realistic bride.
I explain the 60% Rule and the 3 exceptions (Bride/Groom is active military; bride/groom are very involved in their church; bride/groom is african-american .... add 5-7% for each category). I also tell them that there are some factors that I can't predict .... how do their families view weddings? Is it the big family reuinion that EVERYONE ALWAYS comes to? How much family is out of town? out of state? Is this the first wedding (oldest child?) or the last wedding (youngest child)?
And while there are many, many, factors involved, over the past 25 years, the 60% Rule has held true, except for those micro-handful of events where I learned the exceptions!
So when they tell me "We're expecting 250 ... we invited 300", then I suggest to them, "In general, only 60% will actually show up ... so let's quote for 225, which is a little high, but as you get closer to your date and you get a better feel for your headcount, we can always lower it. I prefer to quote "worst case scenario" because it's always more fun for you to lower the bottom line price than it is to increase it!" (And then they think I"m great because most caterers will not allow a deduction! )
And I allow them to change their headcount up to 5 days before the wedding. I tell them I like to have everything locked in 3 weeks prior, but their drop-dead date is 5 days. "At the 5-day mark, whatever I've got written down is what you're getting!"
A bride who is expecting 275 of her 300 invited guests to show up is a little full of herself. A bride who expects about 200 of her 300 is a realistic bride.
We originally invited ~50. FIL went to a family reunion and, after the bar had been open a while, invited everyone there. There was a final RSVP around 70.
On the day, we had something like 6-8 extra people show up who "hadn't felt like RSVP since they didn't know for sure" plus uninvited guests who accompanied them. We were apparently more popular than we thought. Of course I had made personalized place cards out of thank you notes and a handmade favor for all those who RSVP'd, so there were no spots at the tables even though it was a buffet.....
The caker apparently went with the 125% rule because we had TONS left over.
Yeah, I'm special that way, a lot.
Our RSVP's were 391, we planned for 400 plates so there was an extra table of wiggle room, I think I only found 4 empty chairs... We only had 3 of our favors left (8oz. honey bear). Of course, both of our families are ones that you say someone is going to fart in the wind at 3 and they show up. OTOH, it was great to see everyone that we don't get to see very often and thinking back on it makes me think of the people that aren't around anymore.
A chair for every butt, a plate for every chair, a piece of cake for every plate. How I do the cake is I tell them our preliminary quote is just that, and is dependent upon how many RSVP's they get back. I require a final count 4 weeks prior to the event with adjustments made up until the 2-week mark. At the 4-week mark we adjust the price of the cake accordingly to the final count. They know the deposit is half of the original quote and the final payment is due 4-weeks out and it usually ends up that the number goes down so the bride has actually paid for the majority of the final cake count so it's less to come up with when everyone else is wanting bigger checks.
I also tell brides that the reason I do it earlier is that it has them get the RSVP's back earlier so they can call the stragglers 4 weeks out instead of two weeks when they've got 2-million running around projects to do ( they don't need to know that the reason is so their check has time to bounce and get back to me!)..
Another factor is location, I am located in a resort community and a very high percentage of the weddings are destination weddings or they are local weddings where the guest list has been sliced down to bare bones and as the regrets come in others are invited. I have only been to one wedding here that was not "full" and that was because of a series of unfouranate circumstances.