How to get your RSVPs returned in a timely manner

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

RSVP example
RSVP’s are an integral part of the wedding planning process

You have been planning your wedding for 12 months or more, pouring your everything into it. Make sure it is going to be a day to remember, not only for yourself but for your guests as well! But one thing is still left on the planning list and this is where sending an RSVP (response) comes into play.

The RSVP’s

Make it easy

Once you have sent out your wedding invitations, it is so exciting finally get to watch those “Yes!” RSVPs roll in. But getting people to RSVP on time can feel like a bit of an impossible task. Whether you send invitations on paper or electronically, or a mixture of both. If you sent traditional invitations, RSVP cards were part of your invitation suite.

RSVP cards – and the postmarked envelopes that they come with, make it easy for guests to say yes, they can make it or regretfully decline. However, that does not mean they will not forget.

Even if you have sent your invitations digitally, it still can be super easy for your guests to forget to let you know if they are going to be attending or not. Your guests may not realise why you need to know if they are coming or not. But many weddings operate on a “per person” basis.

You need at least a close estimate of guest numbers to make a lot of decisions from the venue to the catering to the florist who will have to outfit the tables with centrepieces. You also cannot properly create your wedding seating plan without a set tally of those who are coming and those who are not.

The easier it is to RSVP; the more people will do it on time. This is not to say everyone will, but it will certainly help. Even if you are sending out paper invitations, consider using an online provider like RSVPify to collect your RSVPs.

For most of us, signing onto a website is much easier than finding the stamps. or similar for your RSVPs is as quick and easy as it gets for your guests. It also simplifies things for you since you will not have to do any of the tallying yourself.

If you have relatives or friends who are not computer-savvy, make an exception for them specifically. For instance, send Grandma a paper invitation and RSVP card, but then send your cousins & other extended families a digital copy. Not only is this a quicker way of getting your invites out, but it is also a fantastic way to be eco-friendly. If you are receiving physical RSVPs via cards, you will want to track responses digitally in a spreadsheet. Simply make a column with all your guests’ names and then note yes or no, depending on their answer.

How guests can RSVP

The main thing to remember here is not to over complicate things. Keep it simple and spell it out to your guests. Put your RSVP date directly on your RSVP card or e-card, and tell your guests exactly how to reply, whether that is in the mail or online. Give them enough time to figure out if they can come, but not so much time that they completely forget. Traditionally, wedding invitations are sent in the post about 4-5 months before the wedding date. This gives enough time for the invitations to get to your guests, for them to work out the planning and to return their RSVP card within the requested timeline (usually by two months before the wedding date). If you are a little ahead or behind this timeline, there is no reason to worry. This may impact when you receive any last-minute RSVPs, though… (If you are having a destination wedding or a wedding over the holidays, your guests might need a little more time.)

Before the RSVP deadline has arrived, you can (and should) send some kind of reminder. Do not worry or feel like you are being overbearing. Your guests have every intention of letting you know of their attendance, but they are only human, life has a habit of getting in the way and people forget. It is much easier to remind people before a deadline than after when you are feeling the pressure. So about two weeks before the deadline, you can begin sending out little polite reminders. Just make sure you are not sending this to everyone on the guest list. Avoid messaging anyone who has already submitted a response. You can be gentle and kind while still firmly asking for the RSVPs by a certain date. Here are examples of RSVP reminder wordings that do just that.

Example 1: Use your excitement as an opportunity to reach out
We are so excited, we could burst!

We want to remind all our lovely guests to RSVP by the [XYZ] due date.
*You can be excited and firm at the same time.

Example 2: Give an update on the wedding planning while asking for RSVPs.

We’ve been busy bees with all the wedding planning and wanted to share some news with you all about the progress. We’re able to confirm our favourite local band to play all the best groovy tunes which have gotten us even more excited to see you all.

Get ready to get funky on the dance floor with us by RSVP’ing by [XYZ].
*Adding a bit of detail and update to the wedding will get your guests excited about attending. This will also soften the tone of your reminder notice.

Example 3: As the RSVP deadline approaches let your guests know

The two-week countdown to the wedding has begun! We’re preparing to make final arrangements,and require an exact headcount, please remember the RSVPs are due [XYZ]. *By using words like ‘final’ and ‘exact’ you are telling your guests that your RSVPs and their due dates are not optional. This is especially important as the due date approaches.

Be safe, not sorry

Plan for missed RSVPs.

If you do magically get all your guests to RSVP on time, things happen, and there is a good chance someone will have to change their answer last minute. For your sanity, pad the numbers you give the caterer, venue, or planner. That way, when Uncle Edward calls the day the reception to tell you, good news, he can make it, or your cousin is now bringing a plus one, you will not have to seat them in the kitchen.

Author: Michelle Hunter


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