You have probably been planning your wedding for 12 months or more, pouring your everything into it. Trying to 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…. The RSVPs.
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 send traditional invitations RSVP cards are usually part of your invitation suite. RSVP cards—and the pre-addressed envelopes that they come with – make it easy for guests to say yes, they can make it or regretfully decline. However, that doesn’t mean they won’t 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 tally of those who are coming and those who are not.
In today’s blog, I am going to be giving you my top tips to ensure you get your RSVPs promptly…
Make it easy
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 a pen and then stamps and even remembering to post the RSVP! RSVPify.com 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, you can 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 invitations out, but it is also a fantastic way to be eco-friendly AND save money. 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.
Tell your guests how they can RSVP
The main thing to remember here is not to overcomplicate 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 by 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 two months before the wedding date). If you are a little ahead or behind this timeline, there is no reason to worry, it 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.)
Reach out with RSVP reminders
Before the RSVP deadline has arrived, you can (and should) send some kind of reminder. Don’t 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 have been busy bees with all the wedding planning and wanted to share some news with you all about the progress. We were able to book our favourite local band to play which has made us even more excited to see you all ‘cos we know you will want to dance the night away.
Get ready to get funky on the dance floor with us by sending your RSVP 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 8-week countdown to the wedding has begun! As we prepare to make the final arrangements, we must have the exact headcount so please remember the RSVPs are due [XYZ].
*By using words like ‘final’, ‘must’ 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.
Even 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.
Planning for a few extras will help ease last minute planning stress. If they do not show it is still a win, as it means someone gets an extra plate of salmon and we all know how much wedding guests love wedding food!