After you’ve selected your gorgeous wedding invitations, you now have to prepare for the onslaught of your RSVPs. For some brides, this can be a completely harrowing process, but it doesn’t have to be if you have a plan or a wedding planner 🙂 If your wedding planner includes RSVP tracking as part of your service, take this moment to call them and profess your undying love for them.
If not, here are some tips that will help you get through the tracking process with minimal physical or emotional injury to anyone else.
First thing comes when you provide your wording for your invites and RSVPs. Here’s a tip:
If you offer meal choices, be sure that your instructions on your RSVP card are clear. For example, if you offer beef and chicken, and you invite Jane and Dick Doe to your wedding, and their card is marked for beef and chicken, how do you know who gets what? Providing instructions like: “Please initial next to your meal choice” will prevent you from having to call them and ask for their meal choices when you need to plan your place cards.
Selecting your date your RSVPs are due is essential as well. Here’s a tip:
For most destination weddings, invitations need to be sent out 8-10 weeks prior to the wedding to allow your guests to secure accommodations and travel arrangements. Depending on your agreement with your caterer or venue, your final count is due anywhere between 3 and 14 days prior to the wedding. That being said, you do not want your RSVP due date to be on the day your count is due. Instead, if your due date is wedding is September 26, and your final numbers are due on the 19th of September, a good time frame for your due date would be between August 22- September 5th (and even then, I would lean towards the earlier side of that spectrum). This is because guests will be late sending their replies and you do not want to be caught scrambling to tracking responses and hunting down those who have not responded. If you make your RSVP date September 5th, it gives you at least a week to record any received responses and the next week can be used to track additional responses and track down stragglers.
Next, let’s talk about after you’ve received your ordered cards—it is time to think about how you will track your RSVPs when they come in. Here’s a tip:
You can create a spreadsheet in Excel or keep track in a notebook. There are programs out there like I Do for Couples which assists you in tracking your RSVPs. You simply categorize your information by Title, Name, Address, Meal Choice (if applicable). I strongly suggest that you assign an RSVP ID or number to each outgoing invitation. Once you have made a list of all invitees and have assigned them all an RSVP ID, flip each RSVP over and write the ID on the lower right hand corner of the card. This will save you from scaring your cat when you yell obscenities because you cannot read the name on the response card or they fail to write one in altogether (trust me, it happens). You can simply turn it over, check the number and notate their response in your spreadsheet, program or notebook.
Get a system for tracking your RSVPs…and stick to it! Here’s a tip:
It never fails, even if you have your system in place, there will be a few responses that will throw a monkey wrench to it. Your RSVPs will come in daily. Set them aside and make a point to track them every week. Provided you have given yourself enough time between your RSVP date and the date your numbers are due to your caterer or wedding venue, you will not find yourself disgusted with the process. You want to make sure that your final report of names is accurate as possible, as this is what you will use for your escort and place card design. The best way to do this is to make sure your system works—take your time. Naturally, keep your Regrets and Will Attends in separate piles. If you offer meal choices, further separate those into groups. It makes it much easier to track the two lists later to confirm numbers.
Set your drop-dead-I’m-not-taking-any-more guests date…but don’t tell anyone! Here’s a tip:
You want your RSVP due date to be well before the drop dead date. This allows you some time to say to yourself, “Ok, self. I’ve taken on all the RSVPs I am going to take and am content with my guest numbers”. This may mean you will have to turn some late responders away. It happens. Remember, your numbers are due to the caterer on September 19th. After this, more likely than not, your caterer will allow you to add additional numbers,but you will not be able to decrease your number. It is for this reason you will want to have an accurate number of who will be in attendance, and not a wishful thinking number. Otherwise, you will find yourself paying for guests who had no intentions of showing up anyway.
There are other sticky situations to deal with: guests that invite other guests or children (seriously, there was an instance where we received an RSVP card that said “+24”; and no, those +24 were not invited), guests who respond late or not at all, or those who are unsure of their attendance. Consult everyone involved and make sure that you, your fiancé and parents all have a united front and what to do in these situations.