How to Get People to RSVP for Your Wedding

Encourage responses so you can accurately measure the number of wedding guests

By MiShaun Taylor

Wedding Invitations on Display
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One of the problems in planning a wedding is the guests who don't RSVP. Sometimes, people don't think they have to RSVP if they aren't planning on attending. Others want to attend, but won't know until the last minute if they will be able to. Some people simply forget to RSVP or lose their response cards. You can help solve this problem by providing reminders, following up with phone calls and emails, and explaining to your guests why the RSVP is necessary. When they truly understand how an accurate guest count affects your wedding plans, they will realize how important it is for them to respond.

  • What You Need to Know
  • The easier you make it for your guests to respond, the sooner they will RSVP.
  • It's important that your guest list not only includes the correct address to send invitations, but also current phone numbers or email addresses for follow-up correspondence.
  • Even if you send self-addressed, stamped envelopes with your wedding invitations, some individuals will still choose to respond by phone or email. Be sure to update your RSVP spreadsheet frequently to track responses from all avenues.

Step 1:

Give your invitees plenty of time to respond. Send the invitations out well in advance -- at least two months before your wedding -- so they have time to get their response cards back to you at least four weeks before the wedding. You should also include self-addressed, stamped envelopes with the response cards. Make it easy for your guests to RSVP. If they have to make time to go by the post office to buy postage, their response cards are likely to be set aside and forgotten. So make it as easy as possible for them, and you'll get better results.

Step 2:

Call each guest to confirm that she received the invite. If she never got an invite, how can she RSVP? You can also use this phone call to remind her of the importance of RSVPing and ask her for her email address for future correspondence. This way, you will have her email address handy when you need to send reminders via the web. Consider assigning this task to other family members to help lighten your load.

Step 3:

Set up a place online where guests can RSVP. In today's high-tech world, most business or at least some aspect of it is conducted online. To make it even easier for your guests, set up a place they can RSVP online and include the link in your response card and in future correspondence emails. Nothing is easier than clicking on a link and selecting "yes" or "no." Many companies offer customizable wedding websites where people can not only RSVP, but can also see links to your registries and other helpful information.

Step 4:

Send email reminders to encourage a response. Some people simply forget. They might have planned on putting the response card in the mail immediately and left it lying on the counter when they dashed out of the house five minutes late for work. These people can quickly send a reply, while checking their other messages. For people who can't attend, it might be easier for them to send you an email saying they can't come rather than telling you over the phone. This is a good way to catch people who aren't attending and who didn't plan on sending their response cards back. You can explain in your email that if they can't attend to please let you know. This will help summon responses from people who thought an RSVP was only necessary if they were planning to attend.

Step 5:

Create a spreadsheet to track guests and keep up with contact information. This will help you easily keep track of who has responded and whom you need to follow up with. Once the RSVP deadline has passed, you can take a look at the guests on the spreadsheet you still haven't heard from. Give them one last follow-up call and explain that the caterer needs an accurate headcount so you need to know as soon as possible if they are attending. When guests realize the urgency of the situation, it might shame them into finally responding. Give them your email address and let them know they can email you when they decide, so they don't have to face the awkward conversation over the phone if they have to decline.

  • Tips & Warnings
  • Don't let RSVPs mount before inputting them into a spreadsheet. Start tracking responses early, so that you're prepared to follow-up as the date gets closer.
  • Be polite in your follow-up calls and emails. Even if friends are delinquent in sending their RSVPs, it would be kind to treat them as though they mistakenly did not receive the invite or that their RSVP cards were lost in the mail.

About the Author

With more than 15 years of writing experience, MiShaun Taylor specializes in wedding-related articles.

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