Getting guests to RSVP on time can be a frustrating, tiring and inconvenient process - I'm in the midst of it all right now for my own wedding (and I've learned a bit!). Even when you give guests a deadline for RSVPing you'll often find many people don't... and so you'll have to spend a little bit of time chasing people up.
I've compiled a few tips that I hope will help you in getting your guests to RSVP on time.
My background: For my own wedding in Launceston, Australia, we invited the majority of our guests from overseas in New Zealand or the United Kingdom. We decided not to have paper RSVPS - instead, we opted for an online wedding website which enabled invitees to have a group ID that they'd enter to say whether or not they'd be able to make the day. I only created paper invitations/ RSVPS for those I knew wouldn't be able to respond online.
1. send out your rsvps so that your guests will have enough time to make arrangements, but not too far out that your guests will forget to respond.
Etiquette says to send out your RSVPs 8 weeks before your wedding date, no less than 6 weeks. This is generally a good time frame if most of your guests are local to you. Give your guests 4-5 weeks to respond, and you a week or two to chase people up.
Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, if you're getting custom seating charts made, that require 3 weeks to be made/delivered, then you'll want all guests to have RSVP'd 4-5 weeks before your big day to give these vendors enough time to create them.
It is important to remember for RSVPing that timing is crucial and if you give your guests too much time to RSVP then it'll likely get put to the side. At the same time, less time won't give you enough time to track down guests that haven't RSVP'd, or time to give your final number to the caterers' deadline.
2. destination weddings are different. send out a save the date and give plenty of time notice!
However, if your guests are traveling from overseas, like ours, we opted to give our guests 3 months notice to RSVP.
I'd recommend most definitely sending out a Save The Date for destination weddings at least 8 months before your wedding too.
Firstly the cost of traveling isn't cheap - this gives them time to look for flights (and travel deals!), find accommodation, hire cars, get time off work and sort out arrangements for children.
3. do your guests understand what rsvp means?
Make sure you spell it out to guests. Some guests may not know what's required of them. It's also important that you have a date that they must RSVP by.
"Please respond by the 1st of October, 2019."
"Kindly reply by the 2nd June, 2019. If you turn up and do not RSVP, please bring a sandwich and a seat."
"Please let us know if you can attend our wedding ceremony and reception by the 15th of January 2020."
4. provide alternative ways to rsvp
Different people prefer different methods. Offer guests an online version, as well as offline if you can. Some guests may be more tech-savvy, while others may prefer the traditional method of paper and post.
You could have an RSVP card that also states:
"Or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org stating if you can make the ceremony and reception. Please let us know of any dietary requirements."
"Or call Hannah on ..... to RSVP by the 22nd September 2019."
Or on your wedding invitation, you could have "RSVP at www.hannahandtroy.com by the 1st of November, 2019" at the bottom. There are various websites that allow you to make your own wedding website for free. This means you can put all your nitty-gritty details here, instead of on a details card if you prefer - or better - both.
5. mention to your guests to rsvp
Make mention to your guests that you hope to see them, and that you can't wait to get their RSVP back - there's no shame in this! We found that some of our close friends just assumed we knew they were coming and so didn't need to RSVP. If you mention it to them, then it can help to ensure you get a proper response.
Now, these tips most likely won't help to get all of your wedding guests to respond, and you may have to track down Great-Aunt Mary by getting your mum to go and visit her formally...But hopefully, they'll increase your odds of getting more responses and less time spending chasing up people!
After someone to help you make your RSVPs and wedding stationery? Blossie is located in Launceston, Tasmania, Australia, but also ship Australia and New Zealand wide!