Q. Help! How do I get my guests to send in their RSVP invites?
A. One of the biggest planning hurdles our brides experience during our Wediquette Wednesday feature is collecting guest RSVP confirmations. Consider the following tips to solve this common concern!
If you HAVEN’T sent your invitations, follow these steps:
Make It Easy To RSVP: Make sure that the methods to RSVP are clear and specific on the invitation. Avoid confusion by making each step clear so that guests know exactly how to provide their RSVP confirmations or declines. Instead of stating RSVP, write out “Please respond by (specific date)”. This helps ensure guests that are not familiar with RSVP understand that there is a response required to their invitation.
Confirm Contact Information: Make sure that the contact information that you have for your guests is the most update to date information, and also their preferred. They may ask that you send to a specific address, or follow up at a specific phone number or email address. This will be incredibly important if you need to contact for follow up on their RSVP. Be sure to clarify if any apartment numbers are needed as well.
- Clarify Importance Of Timely RSVP: Ensure that confirmation is crucial by providing a reason for their timely RSVP. Note specific reasons, such as RSVP requests are required for catering confirmations, to emphasize the importance of receive confirmations. This may help guests understand that their response is crucial to the decisions of your day.
- Set Your RSVP Date Before You Need It: Buy time by scheduling your RSVP date sooner than you need it. While most caterers need a final head count at least 1-2 weeks before the big day, the last thing you want is to spend the final stretch of your planning journey chasing RSVP reply’s. We recommend that you set your RSVP date 3-4 weeks before the big day. This means that you will have to send your invitations out in time to allow guests to receive and reply. Be sure to have invitations in the mail at least 8 weeks before the big day, setting RSVP requests 2-3 weeks before the big day. Aim to set 3 weeks before to allow time to track any late reply’s. For destination weddings, allow even more time to RSVP. Ask guests to confirm 2 months before the big day and mail invitations out 4-5 months before the big day.
- Allow Multiple Ways To RSVP: Make it easy for guests to RSVP. Note if they can provide their confirmation by mail, email, phone or even text. Be sure to make all methods clear to ensure that guests have no problem with confirming. If you allow confirmations by email, set up an email account strictly for RSVP’s so that they are not overlooked.
- Make RSVP Cards Ready To Go: Supply guests with pre-stamped RSVP cards so that guests only have to select their accept or decline. Fill in the names of invited guests, the return address and provide adequate postage to save time for guests so that they only have to drop in the mail after checking off their reply.
- Stay Organized: Have a system to keep track of your RSVP’s. We recommend that you mark each RSVP with a number that corresponds to the invited guest. Note the number assigned so that if your RSVP card comes back without a name, you can match it to the number! Check out these invisible marking pens for under $5 to discretely mark each card! Be sure to also keep track of each RSVP on a spreadsheet, noting if they are a decline or confirmation. Note how the guest confirmed as well, such as by card, phone or email.
- Bring It Up!: Feel free to mention to invited guests before the RSVP date that you hope to have them and how they can provide their reply. Reach out by phone or note when you speak to provide an additional mention of your RSVP needs.
If you HAVE sent your invites and are struggling to get guests to send in their RSVP invites:
- Send Reminders: Don’t hesitate to send reminders to guests that have missed the RSVP date. Reach out to any guests that you have not received responses from to see if their card is in the mail. Attempt to receive by phone or ask if they could send by a specific date. Make sure to note why their response is important and that you hope to have them on the big day! Allow a few days to check back with guests that you leave messages with or that did not follow through with RSVP extensions. If possible, rear in your fiance, family or maid of honor to also contact the guest for their response.