One of the hardest parts of wedding planning: Getting RSVPS back from guests

Knowing how many guests are going to be attending your wedding is a very important and stressful component of your wedding day. It effects such a big numbers of aspects of your wedding, your table settings, how many favours your require, the amount of meals that will be served. However it is in some cases also one of the most difficult things to ascertain, even with the use of RSVP’s people are finding the last minute ring around to find out if people are attending is both stressful and inevitable. Through the years I have found that there are a few key things that you can do that you receive as many RSVP’s back in the most timely manner possible for your guests and today I have decided to share them with you.

Make the RSVP requirements and dates clear:

Believe it or not, some people do not actually know what RSVP means. So it is important to make your intentions clear.

Instead of RSVP by (date) you may opt to write something such as “please let us know if you can attend by (date)” or “Let us know you are coming to celebrate with us by (date)” This ensures that the guests know that you are expecting response. Make sure that your date and how to RSVP is displayed clearly on the invitation, having that RSVP date and instructions in a weird place or in a very small font on your invitation can lead to guests missing the information altogether

Send out your wedding invitations at the right time.

It is important to understand the later that you send out the invitations the less time that your guests have to respond, but it also gives you less time to also chase up those last invitees that may not have responded.

A great timeline is to send out your invitations 8 to 10 weeks before the ceremony requesting responses roughly 4 weeks before the wedding day.

However there are exceptions to the rule, those that are travelling from interstate or overseas may require even more notice. If you are choosing to have a destination wedding it is also important to give guests enough notice to make work and travel arrangements. In these two instances Save the Dates would defiantly be a good option.

Make it easy to RSVP

The days of sitting next to the mail box and waiting for replies are long gone, there are many different options available to couples to utilise to encourage their guests to respond to RSVP’s.

Set up a wedding website, email address of phone number that guests can email, post on, call or SMS their response to, it is quick, easy and all stored online. Online storage is great for the couple as it can be accessed 24/7.

Although snail mail is still a great option for older guests, you will find however that those younger guests may skip over the rules and simply call, SMS or use social media platforms to contact you and let you know they are attending.

If you choose a snail mail method ensure you make this as easy for the guests as possible. Include an envelope addressed to where you would like to RSVP’s returned to and also ensure that they are stamped so all the guests need to do is fill it out and pop it in the mail box. The easier it is the more likely you are to receive them back.

Plan to follow up

This maybe awkward for some individuals but people have busy lives and it is very easy for something to slip peoples minds. About 5 weeks out from the wedding (1 week before the return date for your RSVPs) follow up with those who are yet to respond. Draft an sms or email that you will send out to everyone. Make it light hearted and make sure you ask someone else to proof read it before you send it to make sure you are getting the right vibe across. Be prepared instead of receiving the RSVP itself back you may receive responses to your email instead.

Bonus tip: Just for you

Be organised. Make sure you have a list that you can record when RSVPs come in, if people are attending or not, the number and any dietary requirements or other questions you might as on the RSVP. (Some people opt to as for a song request as part of the RSVP procedure.)

An excel spreadsheet would be a great tool to use.

This will alleviate stress if RSVPs go missing once they are returned and can be a great tool to help put together requirements for the caterers, the song list for the DJ and to assist with the seating arrangements.

Bonus tip: To help with planning your timelines

Knowing the number of guests that are attending your wedding is key in many aspects of the later stages of wedding planning. Finding out when certain suppliers need information will help you plan how far out you will need to send invitations and request RSVP’s. Some information you will need to consider is:

        Wedding Guest Numbers to Caterers  

        Wedding Guest Numbers and dietary requirements to Caterers

        Table Seating Charts and Place Cards to Printers and Venue

        Song Lists to DJ (if you are including song requests on your RSVP)


All the Best and Happy Planning!

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