It’s three weeks to the wedding, and your RSVP date has been and gone. You’ve expected a flurry of last minute responses… and nothing. What’s going on?! Getting RSVPs in should be easy, right? There is a few things at play here. First and foremost, we kiwis are a casual bunch. Formally RSVPing goes against our “she’ll be right mate” culture. Here are my top tips for getting your guest’s RSVPs in on time:
Tip 1: Send out your invites 8 weeks before the wedding
I’m the queen of getting things crossed off my to-do list. So I totally understand the urge to want to send out wedding invitations months in advance. Getting your invites out is one thing you shouldn’t rush. There’s a trend towards sending out wedding invitations incredibly early. Your invitations don’t need to go out until 8 weeks before the wedding – 12 weeks if you can’t help yourself. I’ve personally received wedding invitations 6 months before! Sure, you can nearly guarantee that your guests won’t be booked up for your date, but do you know what will happen:
“Ohh, a wedding six months away – great! I’ll pop that RSVP card aside and get back to it”.
And they never do. Or they RSVP and then something else comes up. Either way, you get mucked about.
If you are sending your invites out that early because they are overseas, because you’re worried about people being unable to attend, it’s a holiday weekend or a destination wedding – then you should be sending Save the Dates (informally by email is fine).
Tip 2: Discourage verbal RSVPs: but don’t be too much of a hard-arse
If kiwi culture is casual, then my in-laws are the kiwi kings of casual. I’m realistic – and didn’t expect a formal RSVP from them. Instead, I had my mother-in-law check in with them what their plans were. No point stressing – it’s nothing personal. The tip here is to have a system in place to ensure you capture everyone’s RSVPs, no matter how they arrive. Get your parents, your partner’s parents, and the wedding party on board with a consistent approach. Either they refer any verbal RSVP’s back to you straight away, or they ask the RSVPer to send in their RSVP card/email/phone/smoke signal their intentions directly to the source. If you trust people enough with your precious wedding spreadsheets, you could share a Google Drive spreadsheet with certain people, and allow them to complete the guest’s details.
Tip 3: Number your RSVP cards
Most brides I know run a pretty extensive wedding spreadsheet. It’s a great way to keep track of everything really tidily. Here’s a tip: add a column next to your guest names, and number them. When you send out your invitation and RSVP card, on each RSVP, write in light pencil the number that corresponds to the guest. That way, when your guest forgets to write their name in, and assumes you are a mindreader… you can be!
Tip 4: Let me count the ways…
Unless you are after lots of details – menu choices, if guests need the bus, or dietary restrictions (etc…) you don’t have to require a RSVP card response. Make it as easy as humanly possible for your guests to RSVP. Include a self-addressed envelope, add email addresses, or suggest they text your cell. The only option I would discourage is the phone call – as if they ring while you’re at the supermarket, and you then get into a convo with old Jenny at the Checkout… and… hmm what’s for lunch? Get my drift?
If given the choice, I would email – as I stuff letters in my handbag, and then they enter a black hole, only turning up again three months after they should’ve been sent. So make it easy.
On the other hand – don’t overload your guests with RSVP options. Pick two to save people getting overwhelmed and doing nothing.
Tip 5: Chose an appropriate RSVP date
This is semi-related to the first tip. Set your RSVP date so that your guests will look at it and think, “I better get onto that” rather than “I’ll sort that later”. So if you are sending out invites 8 weeks before, then set the date 4 weeks before. You’ve got plenty of time to chase stragglers, but you also have a short enough window of time that your guests will apply some priority to your RSVP. Here’s some more advice on setting an appropriate RSVP date.
Any other RSVP tips? Or RSVP/guest nightmares?
Any other tips you want to share? Any burning etiquette issues you want answered? Comment with your questions below