RSVPs are there for good reasons. It does give you an idea of who will and will not be attending your wedding. It also helps provide an accurate meal count and enables you to assign tables. If applicable, it lets you know where they are staying or which peripheral wedding event they are attending. However, it is frustrating to realize that many guests do not bother to respond to your invitation. Experts recommend ways to gently remind your guests to RSVP or what you can do to expect a faster response rate.
Make it easy for guests
A popular way to respond to RSVP is to send a pre-addressed, stamped envelope but take advantage of other options that may boost the response rate, such as email, text message, wedding page, or Facebook events. There’s no need to go through the hassle of waiting for delayed postage.
Chasing down RSVPs is part of party planning, so reduce the headache by making sure your wording is precise. For example, do not just put “RSVP.” Instead, place a blank line for the guest’s name and an option that they can tick off on whether they “will attend” or “will not attend.” Also, indicate the deadline to respond.
Set an RSVP deadline that will still allow you some time to wait for the non-responders. Expect that not everyone will respond promptly, for some people are procrastinators while others are just not yet sure about their schedule. Set some time off from your to-do’s to contact your guests and be prepared for a mix of emotions as some may be surprised, annoyed, or embarrassed.
Be firm but polite
Let them know that you need to have your final headcount by a specific day and that you would appreciate them letting you know if they will be attending. Your note should be clear and straightforward, and your RSVP card clearly states what you need from guests and when you need it.
Make your RSVP fun
You can make your guests excited about responding by injecting some personality into your RSVP card. You can add humour to grab their attention and make them smile. Instead of the standard yes or no response options, try something more playful, such as, “Oh, hell yes!” or “Damn it! Can’t make it!” Question prompts are also engaging, such as a song request or their piece of marriage advice. Include a cheeky reminder, too, such as “If you don’t respond by June 3rd, please bring a sandwich and a chair.”
Set automated reminders
If you’ve decided to send digital invitations, you can set up an RSVP tracker and automated reminders. This alleviates the stress that comes with getting the RSVPs back. In addition, most digital invitations now have an RSVP reminder feature that will gently follow up on guests, so you do not have to.
There might be guests who prefer to reply via email or text. Make it easy for them by giving options in a manner that they can respond. Older relatives might still prefer the traditional RSVP mail, so make sure to make this possible.
While it can be frustrating, keep in mind that your guests are not intentionally trying to inconvenience you. Allow yourself some “buffer” when setting a deadline to reduce stress. This is padding around the deadline to expect your guests’ reply. It still boils down to planning ahead and being logistically and mentally prepared so things will be less stressful. Keep your calm, don’t panic, and you’ll surely get there.