You may think your friends and family are pretty reliable, but just wait until your wedding RSVP time rolls around. The semi-flaky folks only get flakier and the people who can't come assume it's cool to just not respond at all. News flash: it's definitely not cool! No matter how hard you try or how big or small your big day is though, there will always be those guests you have to hound for an answer one way or the other. Now, we're not saying these tips and tricks will completely fix the problem, however, they should increase your overall response rate, which is a gift in itself.
1. Give Them Options
Because everyone likes options, and realistically, the more ways your guests can say yes or no to the wedding, the better for you, right? While mail-in cards are still the traditional choice, not everyone uses the mail as they once did, points out event planning expert Sandy Hammer, co-founder of AllSeated. List a phone number, email address or wedding website guests can also RSVP at on your invites to boost your response rate, she advises. "And if you do decide to stick strictly to mail-in cards, make them easy to fill out and pre-stamp a self-addressed envelope for each guest."
2. Time It Just Right
Ideally, invitations should be sent six to eight weeks before the wedding with an RSVP deadline of three to four weeks out, instructs Arizona-based wedding planner Chandra Keel, owner of Chandra Keel Events. "This way, it's close enough that your guests feel like they can't put it off, yet it's not so close that they've made other plans."
3. Choose the Right Wording
According to Keel, oftentimes guests don't really know what RSVP means nor do they understand that a response is needed even if they are declining the invitation. "Using wording such as, 'The favor of your reply is requested by [insert date]' in place of 'RSVP' makes it crystal clear."
4. Ask for Song Requests
Erica Taylor, co-founder of Tinsel & Twine, says her clients have had great success when there's an engaging call to action or participation factor included on the response card. "For example, 'RSVP with a song that will keep you on the dance floor or RSVP with your favorite memory of the bride and groom."
5. Stay in Touch
It's a surefire way to increase your response rate and can act as a friendly reminder to guests that the wedding is fast approaching, notes Florida-based wedding planner Aviva Samuels of Kiss The Planner. "If you're on their radar between the time you send out the save the date and the time that the RSVP is due, chances are they'll follow through with a prompt reply."
6. Don't Provide a Lengthy RSVP Time Frame
Keep it short! "This will put more pressure on people to get their responses in rather than putting it off, which often turns into not responding at all," warns Hammer.