Getting a response from each potential attendee is crucial.
green wedding invitation

"RSVP" is a fancy, abbreviated way of asking guests to let you know whether or not they're coming to your wedding. You mail an RSVP card with each invitation then sit back and wait for guests to reply. Pretty exciting! What's not so exciting, though, is managing all of those responses. That's why we're sharing tips that make handling RSVPs a whole lot easier. From the right wording to include and when to make your deadline to how to best to keep track of who's coming and who's not, get our best advice here.

Make your request clear.

There should be a blank line on the response card for the guest's name, followed by "Will attend" or "Will not attend" to be checked off. Then write "Please reply by [date]." Include a self-addressed, pre-stamped envelope so they have no excuse not to drop the card back in the mail right away.

Give a realistic deadline.

Ask your potential guests to respond within three to four weeks. If you allow more time than that, people may put off RSVPing until later then forget about it. This deadline also gives you time to contact anyone who didn't respond. Even if you're having an informal reception, your caterer will need to know how much food to prepare; once all your RSVPs are in, give the final guest count to the caterer one to two weeks before the wedding.

Keep track of replies.

Spreadsheets are the most efficient way to record responses. If you create your own, include columns for the guest's name, guest card number (see "Number the cards" below), number of guests, will attend, declined, and any entrée preference or song requests, if relevant. You can also use one of the many online RSVP spreadsheets to keep track.

Deal with non-responders.

There are always some people who receive an invitation and don't respond. Whatever the reason-forgetfulness, laziness, rudeness-you'll have to get in touch with them once the original deadline has past. Don't wait more than a day to call or text them.

Number the cards.

It happens more often than you think: A guest returns a card without writing their name in the blank space or their handwriting is illegible. You can avoid having to become an amateur sleuth by using this clever trick: Before mailing out the invitations, assign each guest a number then discreetly write that number on the back of that their response card. Some brides like to write the number in invisible ink!


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