DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband and I paid $15,000 for our wedding reception, and we invited 150 guests. We were very excited because everyone confirmed, but 25 guests ended up not attending. A lot of money was spent on our reception, and I would like to know if we could get our money back from the guests who did not attend the reception? -- Our Missing Guests, West Orange, New Jersey
DEAR OUR MISSING GUESTS: I'm so sorry to hear about this terrible waste of money. The whole point of an RSVP to a wedding reception -- or any other formal event, for that matter -- is to get a head count so that you can be prepared to serve your guests and care for them. While it is common, though rude, for a few guests to be no-shows at a wedding, for so many to not come made the blow that much more difficult for you to bear, I'm sure.
Still, it would not be appropriate for you to ask your absentee guests to cough up their dinner money. You budgeted for those plates, and you have to pay for them. If and when you do hear from these missing guests, you should ask them why they ended up not coming and why they didn't let you know. Don't call them up to ask. Just have the conversation when you next communicate with them and the moment seems right. You can explain how disappointing it was not to have them celebrate with you.