There are sooo many things about the wedding planning process that wind up making you re-think the whole thing more than a coupleee of times throughout your engagement. And that’s #normal. But one of the last few things you need to do before you head down the aisle might just rank up there in your top 5 (maybe even top 3) most annoying wedding-related to-dos ever: making sure you get all of your RSVPs in a timely manner. I won’t say “on time,” because LBH, no matter what you do, you’ll always be tracking someone down to get his or her head count - most of the time, it’s well beyond just one delayed individual.
It’s such an exciting thing when you start going out to your mailbox to find it flushhh with response cards, but as the days and weeks go on, and you inch closer and closer to that all-important ‘RSVP by’ deadline, the number of cards that arrive each day starts to dwindle and you anxiously cross reference your ‘who we invited’ list to your ‘who returned their cards’ list only to find out that you’ve got a lot of unaccounted-for invitees. Then the stress sets in, you realize you’re going to have to start stalking - or at least enlist your own minions (we say that so lovingly, too) to do the nightmaring on your behalf - and you worry that you won’t have an official head count to your venue for the date that they asked for it.
Ahh, getting married, adulting, it’s great, right? Yes, it is, it’s a wonderful thing and once you have your RSVPs in, you’ll feel a s*** ton better. We can help you, too. Not by waving a wand and sending your guests reminders to respond via their dreams at night (we wish!), but by simplifying the process - even more than it already is - so that your guests feel just a skosh more motivated to send in their yesses or nos.
Before we touch on the brand-new planning tools ideal for guest list management, we also thought it’d be nice to cover off on a few other things that should help hasten those RSVPs rolling in. If you’re doing all of the below, you’re at least setting yourself up for success. Just keep🤞🤞🤞that you don’t have the lamest, laziest loved ones ever. We all absolutely have ‘em, but maybe they can rise to the occasion this one time to make you, the bride, smile. At least we can hope!
And this should be a joint effort with your stationer. He or she will advise your invites go out 8 weeks before the wedding (and, in turn, will have everything prepared for you that you approved/executed in the contract) - if that means you have to go, pick up the invites, assemble the suites, stamp the RSVP cards, seal up the envelopes, and drop them off at your post office, then you best do it! 8 weeks prior to the wedding will basically give guests 4-5 weeks to respond, and set you up to have a mostly-final head count for your venue by no later than 3 weeks till the I Dos.
An occasion like a wedding requires RSVPs from those who can come as well as those who can’t. It’s not an option not to respond (yes, even your siblings, parents, and best friends have to send theirs in, they don’t get a pass). So, when you’re coming up with the language for your response cards, make sure it’s assertive and doesn’t leave room for confusion. “Please respond by such and such date” is much clearer than “RSVP by such and such date.” Bolding or italicizing the deadline dates are smart, too. You’ll also do yourself a favor if you can spell things out even that much more - sharing that a guest can also reply via email or through your wedding website is a win-win. And we’ll get to that more below.
Now, not saying that doing either will automatically spur people to respond, BUT, asking a question like “what song will you definitely dance for, if played” or “what should we serve as our signature cocktail, best drink idea gets a shout out at cocktail hour” has a habit of getting people pumped. Sure, they’ll mail in their response, but what they really want you to pay attention to is their song choice or drink recco. Just as easily, if you include a meal choice option, you’ll likewise get a surge in send ins, because guests don’t want to end up in a “you get what you get and you don’t get upset” situation. If they need to choose between filet mignon and chicken well in advance of the wedding, they will. Guests with dietary restrictions or specific requests may also feel especially inclined to send in their RSVP, because they want to honor the couple’s accommodations for them.
And we won’t go into TOO much detail about this one. But it also helps just to check in with people to ensure they’ve received their invite. The second you flag it for them, they’ll make a mental note that they need to check the mail and get their responses in ASAP. You can also send this link to any guests you’re especially on the fence about. Seven Things Good Wedding Guests Do >>> RSVP on time. 🤣🤣🤣
We offer a TON of free wedding website templates that can give your guests an alternate+much easier way to RSVP to your wedding (just one of the reasons you need to have a wedding website). Sure, if you’re already spending money to send out paper invites, you’ll want to get those hard copy response cards in, but given a choice of whether you’d prefer someone responds via your website or decides not to send in a response, at all, something tells us you’d want any sort of tangible/traceable tally.
With our websites, you can enable guest RSVP submissions - and include a ‘kindly respond by’ deadline, too. And if/when a guest responds - their yes/no will get recorded in your guest list of accepts/regrets - so that you can stay on top of that head count and be able to turn in those final numbers to your venue without hesitations or delays.
On top of that, we can also message (from you, just prepared by us) your guests a week or two before your drop dead final reply date to remind them to send in their RSVPs. Follow up is MAJOR, and just speaking as someone who’s been a guest at dozens of weddings in the last few years, if I didn’t plan to send in my response card on time, and just blew it off, it’d be a huge kick in my ass to have a reminder email come in. I’d for sure make sure my RSVP was signed, sealed, and delivered - or, in our case, submitted electronically!
Check out our How to Keep Track of Your Guests Easily and Pain-Free post for more on our guest management genius 😉. We’re not gassing ourselves up, we just know what can help when you’re getting to the end of the line and need those RSVPs STAT.