It can be surprisingly difficult.

By Sara Dickinson
July 24, 2018

As maid of honor, it's your duty to take a little weight off the bride's shoulders. While she and her fiancé are busy finalizing the details of the big day, you'll be tasked with ensuring the bridal shower goes off without a hitch. But when the RSVP deadline has come and gone, how do you track down late responders and come up with the final headcount?

Get organized ahead of time.

Be sure to plan ahead. Sit down with the bride as she makes her guest list and create a spreadsheet with everyone's name, address, phone number, and email. Not only will this help you as you send out invitations, but it'll make it far easier to track RSVPs, follow up with wayward guests who haven't responded on time, and even log gifts at the shower. Not a fan of spreadsheets? Research apps and websites that simplify the process.

Give yourself a buffer.

Even once the RSVP date has passed, you'll want to give guests a little wiggle room to get their reply in. "I extend a 3-4 day grace period after the RSVP date before any outreach," says wedding planner Jenna Lam. To give yourself that option, make sure that your RSVP by date is at least one full week before you really need to give your venue the final headcount.

Go digital first.

Start by sending an email with a friendly, courteous reminder to RSVP. Let the guest know that if they don't reply by a certain date, you'll assume they can't make it and that you look forward to seeing them at the wedding. If you have a long list of guests to track down, consider downloading a free email tracker that will let you know who has and hasn't opened your email. If, after a day or two, the guest doesn't open the email, send a quick text instead.

Pick up the phone.

If you still don't hear from the guest after emailing and texting, it's time to give them a call. Hearing your voice on the other line may encourage them to offer a solid yes or no. At the very least, the guest will feel a bit of pressure to get back to you as soon as they can.

Ask for help.

Don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Bridesmaids may have personal connections to some of the guests you're trying to reach, so ask them to help you get in touch. Similarly, the mothers of the bride and groom and the couple's siblings may be able to assist with relatives or guests on their side of the family. Just be sure to avoid asking the bride or groom to pitch in-they have a lot on their plates already!

Know when it's time to stop.

In the days leading up to the shower, the likelihood of receiving a solid RSVP grows slim, so it's important to understand when to finalize the headcount. If you've tried emailing, calling, and texting the guest, it's best to take them off your list and shift focus to the more gratifying bridal shower details like décor, games, and food. If you're nervous that guests will show up without RSVPing, ask your venue manager if they can create a few extra meals just in case.


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