Once you've finalized the guest list and sent out the wedding invitations, the next big thing is to track RSVPs. After all, you want to know how many people are coming to your wedding! Now that your invites are in the mail, how much time should you give your guests to reply? And how far in advance of your wedding date should you set the RSVP deadline? Here's what our experts have to say.
The general rule of thumb is to give guests four weeks to receive your invitation and send back their RSVP cards, with the RSVP deadline falling three to four weeks before your wedding date. However the timing can change depending on the type of wedding you're having.
For a local wedding with most guests living in the area, invitations should be mailed around 8 weeks before your wedding date. Most caterers need a final headcount 10 days to two weeks before your event, so set the RSVP deadline to be three weeks before your wedding day — this will give your guests just over four weeks to respond once they've received the invitation. The additional week allows time for stragglers to get their cards in the mail, and also gives you a few days to follow up with guests you haven't heard from.
For a destination wedding, you should send your invitations 12 weeks in advance, giving guests ample time to make travel plans if they didn't when they first received your save the date. Again, give guests around four weeks to check their calendars, make arrangements, and send back their RSVP cards. Accounting for the time it takes the post office to deliver your invitations, the RSVP deadline should be approximately seven weeks in advance of your wedding date. You'll have plenty of buffer time to make sure every guest is accounted for, as well as get a sense of when people will be arriving and departing so you can plan pre- and post-wedding events accordingly.