After the wedding is over, one of the most common sources of horror stories from brides and grooms revolve around RSVP’s. Asking a large number of people to take action in a timely manner is surprisingly tricky. Today, I’m sharing some of my favorite tips and tricks to help you manage those cards and get them back on time.
1. Make it easy
Asking your guests to complete more then two steps in terms of submitting their RSVP is asking too much. Make the process of returning that information to you as simple as possible. Physical RSVP cards can take two forms, postcard or flat card with a corresponding envelop. Either option should be sent to your guests with all mailing information printed, stamped or calligraphed for them. You should also affix the proper postage in advance, this is not a cost that should be incurred by your guests.
Another way to make things easy on your guests is to offer alternative ways for them to submit their RSVP. There are several free online services that help you collect this information. One such site is https://rsvpify.com/ . You simply set up a list of all of your guests, included options from them to bring a plus one or not and select a meal choice if needed. If you choose to utilize a digital RSVP include a small card with your invitation letting them know the website and any login information needed. If your guest list includes folks from a wide variety of age ranges it would be wise to included both a hard copy RSVP and digital if you choose to go this route. Remember not everyone is as digitally savvy as yourself.
2. Check in
After sending out your wedding invitations and waiting a week or two, check in with guests that you haven’t heard from yet. I would suggest an email as the best option, as you can quickly contact a large number of folks and its easy to send a link to your wedding website where they can find more information. Sending a check in note digitally is helpful to catch any folks who’s invitation may have been lost in the physical mail or just as an alternative for those who are more connected online. An email is also a low pressure reminder, they can easily send a note back saying they have already popped the card in the mail or they can give you all relevant information quickly.
3. Ask a Question
the two standard bits of information that an RSVP card asks for is the names of those who will be attending and what those folks would like to eat for dinner. You may find that your RSVP collection efforts are more successful if you included one or two additional questions. The key to this working in your favor is to ask something fun that engages your guests. A few great options are asking “What song would you like to dance to at the reception?” “What drink would you like to enjoy at cocktail hour?” and “What is one piece of wedding day advice do you have for us?”. Keep this fun and lighthearted and your guests will surprise you with silly, sweet notes that are so much fun to get in the mail.
4. Have a short turnaround
Wedding invitations should be in the mail to your guests four to eight weeks before the big day. If you wedding is a destination for a larger portion of your guests I would suggest giving them more time, so send those invites closer to the eight week out point. Your caterer is likely going to need a final guest count about two weeks out from the event, but that date should not be the same as your RSVP date. Give yourself at least a week between the final headcount date and your RSVP deadline so you have time to follow up with the slackers on your list. Lots of folks will excitedly open your invitation as soon as it arrives and know if they plan to attend or not, but will let the card sit on their counter for weeks in they don’t feel a sense of urgency. Make your RSVP deadline short- two weeks is plenty of time for guests to decided for sure if they will be able to attend and also time enough for mail within the states to return to you if they send it promptly.
5. Number your RSVP cards
This is perhaps one of the most actionable tips for most couples and a big headache saver in the long run. Before stuffing envelopes with invitations make a spreadsheet with the name of each guest/ family and assign them a number. That number should then be written discreetly on the back of their corresponding RSVP card. I’ll be honest that this step is going to take some time, but it can be so worth it. Numbering the cards insures that if a guest forgets to included their name on the returned RSVP you can very easily trace down who it belongs to. Now if they have neglected to select a meal choice you will still need to contact them, but at least you know which guest to contact.
RSVP’s can be a pain, but you don’t need to let the stress of managing those all important cards rain on your parade. Keep things easy for your guests to send the require information back your way. One of the most surprisingly delightful memories I have from planning my own wedding was all of the funny notes that my guests included on their returned RSVP cards. There were silly comments about what they wanted to eat for dinner, sweet words of well wishes and silly nick names in places of their own that made me smile and keep perspective on why and who I was throwing this party for in the first place.
Need help sorting through the tricky waters of wedding invite dos and don’t? drop me a line, I’m happy to help!
Photo: Sarah Parrott