Planning a wedding can be an extremely stressful situation. There are so many decisions that have to be made, and so many elements to coordinate, that many brides become stressed during the planning. One of the most frustrating parts can be getting the guests to RSVP to the wedding.
While having guests not RSVP is annoying for those planning the wedding, it is more than just that—it can be costly. Most of the time caterers want to know an exact number that they have to plan for. Most of the time you will pay in advance for your caterer and, if all of the guests don’t show up, you don’t get your money back. That also goes the other way, too—they will charge you extra for any additional plates they didn’t plan for. So, what can you do to make sure your guests RSVP? Here are a few tips to help you out.
1. Send Your Invitations at the Right Time
Wedding invitations should be sent out eight weeks before the wedding. Most of the time, you need to know how many guests to plan for about two to three weeks before the wedding. Therefore, you should get the deadline for the RSVP cards to account for that. That gives your guests about five weeks to respond. The timeframe is crucial to making sure that your guests respond in a timely manner. If you give your guests any more time than that, it is extremely likely that they will just put your invitation aside to deal with it later. But, if you make it seem urgent, your guests will be more likely to respond by the deadline.
2. Make the Return Date Prominent
Sometimes, with everything else that comes with the invitation and planning to attend the wedding, guests can overlook the return-by date on the RSVP card. To help combat this, make sure that your return-by date stands out on the card. You want to make sure that your date is easy to read and easy to see when they first see the RSVP card.
3. Consider Using Other Wording
Not everyone in the world knows what RSVP means. Some of your guests might be confused by the acronym and might not understand that they are supposed to send the card back. Think about wording the card differently. You could say, “Please respond by” whatever your return by date is, or “The favor of a reply is requested by” your return by date.
4. Put a Stamp on the Return Envelope
Your guests are more likely to respond and send back the RSVP card if you go ahead and put a stamp on the envelope. Even though it doesn’t cost your guest much, anything that takes effort is going to decrease your chances of getting the RSVP card back.
5. Provide Other Ways to RSVP
Some guests don’t want to take the time and effort to fill out the RSVP card, no matter how easy you make it for them. One way to help them out is to provide alternative ways that they can let you know if they are coming to the wedding. Now, Emily Post might completely disagree with online RSVPs, but it’s the 21st century. If you think that more of your guests would respond via the Internet, then include a way to let them do that. You can use your wedding website, an email address, or even a phone number. But make sure that you also include an offline option, just in case some of your guests don’t have regular access to the internet.
6. Follow Up
No matter what you do to try to make your guests respond, you are just going to have some guests that aren’t going to send back the RSVP cards. Your guests are busy people. Don’t take it personally if they don’t send the card back. Unlike you, they aren’t thinking about your wedding 24/7. Most of them aren’t going to mind if you contact them to follow up. Many of them probably need a friendly reminder. Email or call them a week or so before the deadline if you haven’t heard from them yet.