Every wedding invitation you send should include some way for the recipient to RSVP—to respond with a yes or no, and to include information about how many people will be attending your celebration. Unfortunately, not everyone will reply. You’ll have to estimate and assume that a dozen or more extra people may show up without ever responding.
In spite of those that don’t reply, you’ll still have a large quantity of RSVPs to handle during the weeks and months leading up to your wedding. Find out how to follow up and manage all your RSVPs so that the task doesn’t become stressful and overwhelming.
Make the RSVP Deadline Clear
On the RSVP card, specify a date by which you expect to be notified of the person’s plans. For example, you could say, “Please RSVP by April 10th.” Give your guests enough time to think ahead and make arrangements, usually 3-4 weeks.
Be sure to also give yourself a couple of weeks between the RSVP deadline and the wedding. After all, your expected attendance numbers determine venue arrangements, catering headcount, the number of wedding favors, and other significant details.
Use Online RSVPs
To make life easier for yourself and your guests, you could make it possible for them to RSVP via your wedding website or your wedding Facebook page, or through some other online service. This way, your guests don’t have to remember to mail the RSVP card. They can simply go online and quickly let you know whether or not they plan to attend.
With online RSVPs, you can manage emails by creating separate response folders, or by employing the features offered by the website or service you choose to use. Keeping everything online means that no paper responses can be misplaced or damaged.
Assign a Friend to Help with Paper RSVPs
If you want to use paper RSVP cards, have a box or bin where you place them immediately after you receive each one. Instead of handling them all yourself, appoint a trusted friend or relative (perhaps a bridesmaid) to go through them once a week and address any potential issues.
Even if you’re using paper invitations, you need an electronic master list—a spreadsheet or a document in which you (or your appointed RSVP manager) can record all the responses.
Recruit Helpers to Chase Down Non-Responders
If the deadline passes and potential guests still haven’t responded, recruit some friends to help you contact those tardy individuals via email, text, or phone call. You should make contact a day or two after the deadline. If you still cannot reach the person, you can probably assume that he or she isn’t coming to the wedding.
Deal with Problematic RSVPs
If someone writes in extra guests who weren’t invited or includes children on the RSVP note when children aren’t invited, you’ll need to determine whether or not this alteration is worth protesting. If you don’t want to offend the individual and you can handle the extra guests, you may choose to allow it; but in many cases, you may not be able to let it pass. Contact the person and politely clarify that due to space limitations or budget constraints, only those specifically listed on the invitation should attend.